Carol Jane Remsburg
Like the inevitable compositions required each early September by schoolchildren across the land, our summer vacations are all different. Some people go camping, visit their families, or go to the beach or the mountains or just go somewhere. Others of us, ahem, well others of us stay home.
When logistics and income don't accommodate a true "family" vacation then that family takes what it can get. Poppa can't vacation during spring or summer due to his job. Momma only gets short breaks. And then, the Kid takes all she can get!
Therefore, during the school break, the child gets camp with many trips and such during the day while Mom & Dad work—until Mom gets that one-week off. Often that week is early in July and for the last two years it has been the week of the 4th. Therefore, the Kid's day at the water-slides or carnival rides has been on the 4th or quite near it. This is the one day for Erin that compares only with Christmas. And while Christmas seems to have more of a seasonal buildup, Erin carries this day all year in her heart.
We reside within 20 miles of a resort town where hubby works and refuses to visit during his off hours (can't blame him for that), so once a year I take the plunge with Erin and group. We never go alone we take others with us. Usually it's my nieces, a friend of Erin's, or whatever. It could be a foursome or a fivesome—but never less than four. It's more fun that way.
For years it was Trimper's Amusement Park at the Inlet and on the beach in Ocean City, MD. We garnered all-day wristbands and rode all the corny rides for hours taking prolonged rests inside the tourist shop filled with amazing junk, hermit crabs, and such but with the best blasting icy air to be found south of the artic. Then we'd walk the boards and gawk at the freaks as they gawked back at us—then we would eat. Eating on the boardwalk does require a tad of finesse. Go for the good stuff! Bull on the Beach is always good as is Dayton's. The chocolate covered strawberries and bananas are a treat along with the hand-squeezed lemonade (but get the right stands for them). Of course there is only one stand for the hand-dipped cones—none of that bubble, air-filled stuff for us. Then it would be time for the beach!
Running across the sand set to scorching temps, we'd arrive to meet the foaming, crashing surf while skirting between those who are dedicated to taking melanoma deep into their hearts if not their skins. Sunblock for us is heavily applied. And, for at least me it's not just sunblock, it's an oversized t-shirt—white shirts need not apply, I found out the hard way that you can get burned through them too! Did I ever tell you I burn easily? Well, never mind.
After about an hour of waffling between the joy of riding the swells and battling with my abject fear of a Jaws event, our small troupe reassembles amid laughter, wet towels, and drowned fanny-packs as we face another race across the hot sands. The saltwater has made us sticky and uncomfortable as we dry and the sand has crept into places that surprise us. We run back into the tourist shop to cool off again and everyone grabs a little something to take home. Now it's time to go—but Thrashers is a MUST stop. We grab large tubs and drinks; find we've paid our due at the meter as we lay out the towels on the car seats. We scarf up the vinegar & salt laden fries with an abandon that sorely belies the fact we had just eaten less than two hours ago. We laugh, we argue a bit, and then we giggle. Once piled inside the old wagon, it's time to go.
The poor old wagon has no air conditioning—I'm the ONLY one in the car that it takes back to the days before air conditioning. The car used to have air conditioning but correcting that fact would be short-lived and too costly, so down roll the windows and we fly home. The gabble inside the car subsides to murmurs and then the murmurs give way only to the sound of the passing cars and the air rushing through the windows. After a hard day at play only the driver is conscious. All will be eager for a rest once we get home. It's a good thing we don't live far away or I could have succumbed to it as well. Yet the lure of a cool shower to wash away the salt and the quiet hum of the house draw me home. Yea, I will rest—and so will they.
That's exactly how it went for four years running. That was until last year and this year. I decided that it had gotten old. Yes, I said OLD. Fun, okay it was fun, but it was time to do something a little different and that resort town does offer different opportunities for fun. So last year I put my foot down and opted for something MORE expensive—a waterslide park. Did I ever tell you I was afraid of heights? Ought I just die now? Sometimes I think I hate myself but it really was time to move onward and explore new things.
A little further away from the boards and the inlet shops and the beach itself is Jolly Rogers—it has everything from miniature golf, a parachute drop (I'm definitely not THAT insane), go-carts, and WATERSLIDES silly. I love waterslides but this place does take them to the extreme—at least for this 41 year-old granny-feeling woman. And, again I took reinforcements. I can't do it all—but then this year I did!
There were the Rapids, the Water Shoot-Sloop, the Black Tube, and so many others enough to boggle the mind. We did them and some we had to do backwards. Some Erin wanted to do but wouldn't do without me. Want to call me CHICKEN?!?!?! Yep, I'm chicken but I wouldn't let her go it alone. I kept up trying to reassure myself that the engineers built these things just to scare us but keep us safe. It wouldn't matter if I were 100 or 200 or maybe 250 lbs that they'd taken into account that none of us would flip out of those open tubes at 100 feet high only to smash onto the concrete below to our rather smushy deaths. Eeek! My heart hasn't had such a workout since last year when I DID chicken out on most of them. This year I did screw up my courage. If only Erin had an inkling just over how hard it was for me. Consider someone urging you to step off the Empire State building just KNOWING you have no net, no safety, and positively, absolutely certain that this was the end for you and yours. Well, do you love your kid? She'll never know how much.
We took a breather at the kiddy pool where Erin splashed for a few moments and then we rested further touring the "canal." Then we were back to breath-taking drops from pacemaker stopping heights to the lower levels with Cannonball slides. We were wet. We were busy. And suddenly, we were done. Sammi's sweetie, Cory, a brave young man of 21 or so who works hard everyday was the first to run down. I smiled. When was the last time you tried to keep up with a 10 year-old? He's done it a few times but none of us even in our prime have THAT much energy. Sammi knows and works hard to try but poor Cory tried the way of a man—he REALLY tried.
After all the slides were tried and tried again the clouds rushed in. They were the ones that had worried us when we left in the morning. Severe storm warnings had been posted. It was time to go. Our small foursome sloughed out of the park as we patted the wet away or donned drier duds. We crossed the parking lot to a Wendy's® where we stuffed ourselves on huge burgers, over-sized fries, and big, thick shakes. The ten year-old was the only one to finish it all.
During our meal I'd casually mentioned how tiring this event could be to we "adults" and Cory, the man he is, pooh-poohed it all. I recalled my own childhood adventures and how all the water, sun, and activity followed by food and a cooling breeze could bring on sleep like nothing else. Cory laughed. Yes he did. I just smiled.
We weren't 5 miles out of Ocean City before his head was curled up in Sammi's lap for a nap. Sammi and Erin were tired too—just like me. About all I wanted was a cooling, cleansing shower and the quiet of my recliner with my book. It's just too bad that it didn't turn out that way.
It was also hubby's day off and he had big plans for the house. He was busy power-washing the porch, the siding, the brickwork, and the carpets were yet to be addressed. He had help with him. I found out that I was also considered "help" in this endeavor.
Did I tell you that paint was in the forecast?
Four days out of five, Erin was with us. Her Camp missed her. Don had two later counting us but he did the most of the work—he's SO tired. The yard is done, the house is DONE, new furniture after so many years has been ordered, and life is busy here. A couple of days have been spent running errands and with family. Yet all had happened in a rush.
It's all over as of today. Where did it go? The days have been filled with bright sunshine, the twilights with sparklers, dancing with lightning bugs, and tussles with a loving dog. Adventures and memories have been made in the cornfield, and the many thunderstorms that took away the power.
Once Erin was finally abed assured that no more thunder was coming, showering by candlelight with your spouse brings all that is old new again—even when we aren't so young anymore.
It's been a week of hurry up and spending and work and fear and excitement and fun and being tired—and now it's all done. This is what we spend all year working and waiting for just to be a little crazy. Will I do it all over again next year? You bet your fur I will!
I can only hope yours will be as giddy as mine. I just hope it won't be as swift.