Yesterday was a perfect, cloudless, blue-sky day–the kind of blue that looks like an inverted Caribbean Sea hanging motionless above a busy world; blue that is deep and changing and ever-present. Carolina Tarheels Blue. Hudsonville Ice Cream Packaging Blue. J.Crew would call it Pacific or Lagoon. Whatever you call it–whatever it reminds you of, it reminds me of beautiful.
Everything I love about summer was perfectly packaged and delivered to me in the form of Grand Haven State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan. If there were a way to preserve the moment, bottle it or freeze-dry it, ready for February consumption, I would find a way to do it. When things get icy and slushy and brown-snow-on-the-side-of-the-roady–that’s when I’ll remember this day.
With cooler packed, windows down [no A/C, remember?], hair a’blowin’ and kids a’singing, we headed to beach for our fifth attempt at finding joy in sand. We circled the park two or three times looking for parking before happening upon a mini-van leaving a prime spot [“…It’s a Christmas miracle!!”]. I joked with Brandon that on a day like that we could have sold the spot and made some mad cash. Instead, we walked away with some mad memories. Here are a few of the fun and noteworthy ones, in no particular order:
1. [Left] My daughter is taking notes from her Aunt Lori and is spending time under the umbrella picking out shoes. I could hear her talking to herself in a quiet voice trying to decide between “this” or “that.” She’d better start saving now, ’cause let me tell you, that wasn’t a Payless advertisement.
2. [Right] Our youngest gets a little crazy when he gets water in his eyes. Reminiscent of a Civil War soldier undergoing an amputation who, without anesthesia would ‘bite the bullet’ to manage pain…[you were thinking the same thing, right? Admit it!], apparently M has decided that handfuls of wet sand and pirate-like squinting help him. That kid should have been born with goggles permanently attached to his face.
3. [Left] Fricano’s Pizza. If you’re a fan of trashy decor, paper plates, menus that double as place mats, and pizza that’s cheap and greasy, but also irresistibly crisp in a way you’ve never experienced…then add this to your Bucket List. I love it. Love, love, love. It’s unique, it’s been around for decades, and I guarantee you’ve never seen another restaurant that so charmingly seems to evade OSHA and any scrap of decorating sense.
4. [Right] Really. Could he be any cuter? Ice cream after dinner, just in case we weren’t stuffed enough from our visit to the Pizza Kingdom above. Side note: I don’t care how old you are, when it’s 92 degrees at 6 pm, everybody eating frozen treats needs a bib, rubber gloves, and a pail for washing. Scrap that–just jump in the lake. That kid was a mess.
5. [Left]. Well, I thought I had seen it all. Until, that is, this guy escaped his time machine and blew out of the 1970’s straight onto the boardwalk. I do give him props for getting out and exercising in the heat, but…honestly, I’m at a loss for words. Is it the tube socks? The roller skates? The spandex? The hair? [see pic at right] Whatever it was, maybe just that intangible sparkle or brash confidence that skates hand-in-hand with not caring what others may be thinking–whatever it was gave me a smile. I had to document it for you. I felt like I was on Ventura Beach, and that’s not a bad thing 🙂
6. Last but not least was the ordeal of dad trying to take a photo of mom with her precious little angels. Ahhhh. It’s so relaxing, taking family pictures, isn’t it? Has that been your experience? Or do you deal with this kind of nonsense? [see pic] Do you see my kids?! J is covering his face like the flash is giving him an instant migrane, M looks like he’s getting his tonsils checked, and A is just pissed. Notice that I’m oblivious to this foolhardy behavior. I’m thinking I might have something for the Christmas card until I see my husband’s face. His eye roll tells me, nope–no deal. We need to try again. Take a look at our final effort, and our last beach photo:
It’s hopeless. Look at my daughter. Such a gentle spirit, that girl.
Our kids have rejected the notion of happy camping and Kodak moments.
Something tells me that the next few years with this crew are going to be pretty interesting.
Hope you’ll be around to hear our stories.