Friday, July 22, 2011

Dispatch from Ocean City

Thunder and lightning. Dark-colored wifebeater t-shirts. William Carlos Williams. Abita Amber. Sipping rum. Donavon Frankenreiter. Bob Burnquist. Bucky Lasek. Green machines. Captain America. Washington Nationals. Ink jones. Plastic cupping the beach. Morning bike rides to the inlet.

Ocean City in the morning smells like deep-fried food and breakfast meat. I can smell powdered sugar clinging to funnel cake. My morning bike rides to the skatepark and the inlet are an olfactory pilgrimage through tightly-packed miniature golf courses, Sunsations and Candy Kitchens.

My family has been making our summer trip to Ocean City since my sister and I (now in our 30s) were the same ages as our kids (oldest is 9, youngest is 3). It is a rite of summer. And this summer, we've had bonus fun as Seth Pettersen and Donavon Frankenreiter played at Seacrets here and the Dew Tour, skateboard, BMX and surfing has just gotten underway at the beach. It makes me think of our frequent runs to Atlantic Skates and the Ocean Bowl and seeing Mike Vallely jump off the top of a construction trailer, landing on his board to start his run for an amateur street skating contest probably 24 years ago.

I read and write less at the beach than at home. Maybe that's part of the vacation mindset, a physical and mental break. I look around at everyone else reading and sometimes want to, but my mind is vibrating and/or crashing and receding on the sand with the waves. It won't sit still. And then when the kids get up ready to walk on the beach, or go swimming and jump in the waves, or play Jungle Golf or hit Jolly Rogers.

And that's mostly what the trip is about. Building shared memories with our girls, our larger family, their cousins/our nephews. They talk about the trip year-round--at first remembering the things they just did, then mixing those in with what we are going to do next year, or counting down to the coming trip. I like that the ocean is a part of their collective memory. I like that their feet are partly made up of burning beach sand and that their is wet sand beneath their fingernails from digging for sand crabs. And I celebrate the fact that we haven't brought home a hermit crab...

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