Just back from a weekend at the Jersey shore. Jerz gets a bad rap, but don't knock it - the southern beaches are quite lovely. Cape May. Avalon. Stone Harbor. Ocean City... they all reside in an unnaturally warm section of my heart, since we spent one month every summer growing up in nearby Sea Isle City. Our routine was -in retrospect- comically regimented, and each day of that month was nearly identical to the one before and after it. And yet. It rarely grew tiresome.
During that month the six of us (seven when dad joined) piled into Grams and Gramps's beach house, which had three bedrooms and ONE BATHROOM (do the math. many a plunger were plunged and many a match struck). Morning started with a bowl of cereal, unless Gramps decided to hit the bakery and bring back the most scrumptious cream-filled donuts I'd ever before (or since) sunk my teeth into. I'd lay in bed listening to the kitchen commotion to determine if it was a donut day. If it was, I'd rise suspiciously earlier than usual and take my place at the table. Next came a sunscreen slathering followed by a long walk down the beach. Lunch sandwiches were carefully prepared by Grams and Gramps ~ who introduced me to PB and marshmallow fluff (bless them) and the infamous and mysterious-in-a-real-bad-way "pimento loaf" (thanks for driving me to early vegetarianism).
Then came hours upon hours of beach time. My brother and I smashed world records in wave riding, paddle ball hits, and pruney fingers while older sis scoured the beach for boyfriend du season. Dinner was usually preceded by fights over the outdoor shower queue, and nights were spent on the boardwalk, shopping, bike riding, ice cream spooning at the old fashioned ice cream shop, watching TV or movies and reading many a book. One month after it all began, the family piled into the car and returned home to our regular life with blond hair and tans (the likes of which nobody who looked at me now would ever dream possible).
Good memories. My parents returned to Sea Isle to celebrate dad's recent retirement, and there I followed to see my parents and grandparents and -I confess- to take advantage of the free oceanfront condo... and... consume as much seafood as I possibly could within two days time. My dad, who was recently diagnosed with a deadly carrot allergy after consuming copious amounts of carrots within a short time (no kidding) grew sincerely concerned that I would soon join him with an allergic reaction to crab. He was right to worry. I went crab crazy. She-crab soup, crab salad, crab omelette, crab-stuffed scrimps. What can I say, I miss me some fresh seafood out here in the middle of the GD country and had to make up for lost time. I also threw in a philly chicken cheese steak, clam chowder and Chik-Fil-A nuggets for good measure. I spotted that Chik-Fil-A sign at the Philly airport, and I'm pretty sure my eyes widened and glazed and I silently mouthed the words as my body instinctually bee-lined for it. Like a beacon in the night.
It's a good thing we spent two hours speed-walking along the beach. Otherwise I'm not sure I would have had any pants to wear to work this week.
Gorgeous photo c/o Karl Strauss. To see more go to Lenscratch.