Thursday, July 26, 2007

Grampa's Ocean

As far back as I can remember, the ocean has been a part of my life. That may sound strange coming from a girl who spent the first 13.5 years of her life smack-dab in the middle of this great country, but it's the truth.

When we were younger, my family would go east to visit relatives, and inevitably, we would go see my Gramma & Grampa McDonald. Now my grandparents either had a condo that they went to every year, or they were living in Florida, so we would spend glorious amounts of time frolicking in "Grampa's Ocean". You see, growing up, my grampa told us that it was his ocean, and of course, we believed him. Every day would find my grampa out in the ocean swimming parallel to the shore up and down the coast line. And every day would find my gramma watching anxiously for him to come back into view.

When we got a little older, my parents' bought a condo in Florida that we would go to in the summers. Eventually they sold that one and bought a condo down at South Padre Island, TX, which was much closer to us when we were living in Oklahoma. Oh the glorious times we had at the beach in Texas as well. I remember getting up early in the morning with my dad and going down to the shore. We would sit there in silence and watch the sun come up. One morning we decided to record the sunrise. Now keep in mind, these were the days of the BIG, HONKING camcorders.

We got a tri-pod and set that bad boy up to record the sunrise. While a sunrise is a beautiful thing to witness in person, not as enjoyable watching 30 minutes of kids running around the shore in the distance, waiting for the sun to rise. Actually, now that I think about it, we were probably ahead of our times. We should submit that footage to Discovery's Planet Earth - I think we could make a mint!

From the age of 16 to 26, my parents actually lived in Florida. We lived about 25 minutes from the beach, and as anyone can tell you, a teenage girl and the beach are very good friends! My friends and I could often be found lounging at the ocean's side (scoping out boys, of course!) and soaking in the rays. When I think back to those days, I cringe at the thought of putting baby oil on my skin to get a better tan! What was we thinking??? Can you say cooked skin?!

For a few years after my parents moved north, I didn't make it to the beach. But starting in the summer of 2000 through 2006, my family spent a glorious week each July down in Nags Head, NC. We would rent a large house right on the ocean and all of my siblings would come from hither and yon and we had a great time. Every year we would
play in the ocean, relax in the pool and hot tub, share cooking duty, drink lots of cherry limeades from Sonic, and light off fireworks (legal ones of course) on the beach. And of course, what beach vacation would be complete without celebratory cigars?
July 2000: I met Chris shortly before our first trip down there in July 2000. My family's memory of me on that trip is sitting outside every night on the cell phone talking to some man - little did they know (of course, I knew!) that he would be joining us in a couple of years.

July 2001: Chris and I missed this trip because we were saving our vacation time for our honeymoon in October to Young Island.

July 2002: Chris' first venture into a family vacation with the whole crew. God bless him, even after being surrounded by various aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, he stayed married to me! This year we spent half of Beach Week with my family in Nags Head, and the other half in Ocean City, MD with some of Chris' friends. July 2003: Once again, we had to miss Beach Week this year because we had a baby. I wasn't due until August 3rd, and my sister Lori told me that first babies NEVER come early, and that there are hospitals in Nags Head. Yeah, I could just imagine - Me: "I think I'm having a baby" Doctor: "Just rub some aloe on it, you'll be fine". Needless to say, we had Brian during Beach Week (at our hospital) . Lori says that I willed him to come early - if it's so easy, go on Lori, will little Cindy Lou on out!

July 2004: Now that grandkids arrived on the scene, Beach Week is so much more than it had been. It was great to get together with my family, but now, bringing my child to the beach and sharing these memories with him, well, that's just something even more special to me. We arrived to the beach this year with Brian toddling about, and Sean all tucked up inside me (of course we didn't know he was Sean at the time). Grampa's Ocean returned, but took on a new meaning with a new grampa. My dad just loved sitting on the deck overlooking the ocean, and telling Brian about Grampa's Ocean.

July 2005: Having 2 children at the beach this year was just too much fun. Chris and I could still play man-to-man coverage with the kids, and with aunts, uncles, and grandparents around to keep an eye out, I even got a little rest!

July 2006: This year saw the addition of my Uncle Jeff, Aunt Robin and cousin Megan as well as my cousin David and my friend (and David's wife), Daniella. We celebrated Brian's 3rd birthday at the beach - complete with a chocolate cake. What a merry old time we had. Let's just say it got very merry one evening, and I felt like the house-mother shushing the grown-ups so the babies could sleep. I know, I'm a killjoy! Shoot me, I was pregnant again and was probably grumpy that I couldn't join in on the merry-ness.

Little did we know at that time that that would be the last summer we spent in Nags Head. When my dad retired, my parents decided not to rent the house again since they would be trying to sell their house. But of course, they are moving to Florida, and so are we! Look out beach, here we come!

1 comment:

Jane Ramsey said...

What a fun, beach-loving family you have! I think ya'll will fit right in here in Florida!