2015-06-10 / Columns

Mike Reese

“I was just thinking”

I’m still thinking about my childhood vacations, mostly at beaches. I remember our Daytona vacations most vividly. Those trips would drive a child of today to tears of boredom. A vacation these days requires endless planned activities, which also requires an endless bank account and/or fearless use of your credit cards.

Our vacations went like this: Remember it’s the late 1950s and early 60s. Daddy’s plan was to always leave before the rooster crowed. I loved the anticipation of rising earlier than I did even on Christmas morning. I remember that huge red ball of fire rising to our left as we cruised south in our nonair conditioned, windows down, chromed-up, stick shift on the column, ash tray full of cigarette butts, no seat belts, 1954 Belair Chevy.

As soon as we exited onto A1A I knew we’d see the ocean soon. That first sighting of the Atlantic never got old to me. Even today, I’m still an eight year old when I get that first glimpse of sand and sea. I don’t know how it started, but every year it was my job to describe the first ocean sighting to my legally blind brother, who couldn’t see much past the car windows. I liked watching his face break into a smile as I used up all of my adjectives to paint the best picture I could for him.

We stayed at the same little motel every year, the Sunrise Inn, right on the beach. There were no more than eight or ten rooms, but they were homey, simple, and clean, and small, really small. I remember the owner and his wife were fullblooded Yankees. But they were so nice to us I forgave them for their accents. Besides, he looked just like Lawrence Welk and Mama and Daddy loved Lawrence.

I don’t remember doing anything thrilling on our vacations. The ocean was right outside our room. There was shuffleboard and a pool table in a game room that was decorated with fish nets, sea shells, and fake fish.

Our daily agenda was breakfast in our room cooked by Mama.Then, head to the beach, ride the waves, and play in the sand. Go in for lunch, cooked by Mama. Take a nap. Go back to the ocean for more play in the water. Then, back to the motel for shuffleboard and billiards. Eat supper, again cooked by Mama, play some board games (no TVs in the rooms), go to bed and repeat the next day.

Sound boring? No way. I’ve got good family memories to last a lifetime. Of a Daddy who played and laughed with us every day and a Mama who laughed and played, too, and cooked meals for us. Disney can’t top it.

Ask your wife about cooking three meals daily on your next vacation. And don’t forget to duck. Then immediately tell her you’re sorry and that you were suffering from temporary insanity and that you’d love to take her out to eat now.

Return to top