IMG_7946Mostly because I don’t want to be one of those people who live at the beach, but don’t actually go to the beach. I moved here 27 years ago this coming Labor Day and I still pinch myself.I’m working on the sequel to Stuck in the Onesies (SITO) and was at the stage where I needed to print out what I had and redline myself. I must admit, I “killed a few darlings,” as Stephen King would say, and in other words, chopped up and tossed out a few paragraphs here and there.

Assateague Island is a wonderful beach. Where else can you, on any given day, look up from your beach chair or towel and see a pony walking your way in the sand? Yep, he’s looking for handouts and will help himself, given the opportunity. But today was not that way. Just families. Lots of happy families.

When you’re sitting on the beach, any beach, you will see love in action. People that are there just to relax and spend time with those that matter most to them. What better place to be, and even if you’re by yourself, you can soak up the love by watching a one year old get her toes wet in the Atlantic for the first time with her daddy. Then there’s the sandcastle crew playing down in the wet sand, digging holes and burying each other.

Of course, there’s the guy with a kite, only today it was a lady, which reminded me of Lynn, aka, Ginger in SITO. She couldn’t go to the beach without a kite. Now me, I was way too lazy for anything that could be considered a sport of any type, but I did love watching. I was great at letting her know when to reel it in and when to let it go out further. But then I’d get bored with it and go back to reading my book.

When you’re at the beach you rarely hear anyone have a disagreement. Kids seldom argue and no youngster is even holding anything remotely electronic. Where else will you witness that these days? Although I’ll bet that the second they are back in the mini van, the kids are juggling for chargers. Someone’s phone is almost dead and therefore, more of an emergency than yours that is down to 25%. Two percent definitely trumps twenty-five.

Everyone eats well at the beach and if they don’t, they should hang with me. I always have peanuts in the shell (my late husband, Jeff, could eat a bag in one sitting under the umbrella so it’s a hard habit to break) and a cold soda and water. Then there’s tuna fish with chunks of tomato. It’s not summer without it. If there’s fresh watermelon in the fridge, it makes the cut into the cooler, but alas, not today.

I watched the mass exodus off the beach around 5 PM and the parents called the kids in from the water. If there’s gonna be dissension, it would be now. Time to pack it up and leave their happy place.

Every once in a while, you’ll see someone reach out and touch someone, just to let them know they love them. I saw that today, a not-that-young couple, probably in their mid-30s, pushing 40, with what appeared to be five, count ’em, five, kids. The parents sat under the umbrella talking when the husband reached over and took his wife’s hand in loving way (I’m not the stalker chick at the beach, I just looked up and there it was). A little bit later, Dad waved the kids in out of the water to pack up and leave. They came back, boogie boards in tow, the oldest maybe 12. Not a sour word was spoken, everyone pitched in and kept talking about how awesome the water had been. Memories that last a lifetime and the cost was zero.

After soaking up all this love I found in the sand today, I finished the edits, ate the tuna and tomatoes that I packed for lunch/dinner, and read a little of my current book selection. Yes, I did get in the water a few times, but reminded myself I had more edits to do.

If someone wants a good return on investment when it comes to vacations, I recommend the beach. Some would say mountains, lakes, or rivers are just as good. I’ll never know, ’cause I live where I live. And I love where I live. I hope you do too.