I am a self proclaimed Beach Bum. Growing up in Florida, Shaws parents owned a condo on St. Pete Beach. They eventually sold it and everytime we drive by it, I sigh and tell Shaw, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if you still had that condo." And he looks at me like I'm crazy, like he can't fathom why I would ever want to live on the beach. Oh like Pinellas Park is sooooo much nicer.
Growing up I did live close to the beach. Cape Jack Beach. When I compare the beach close to me now...St. Pete Beach....to Cape Jack Beach, I have to laugh and wonder if I should even call Cape Jack a beach. But for me back then, it was just as much a magical place as SPB is to me today.
This past week has the Florida temps in the low 80's, No humidity. Blue skys, ocean breeze. This is the Florida I LOVE. So needless to say, I've been at the beach many times over the past few weeks. It really is a hassle trying to get everything and everyone organized and out the door. Making sure I've remembered sunscreen, life jacket, sand toys, drinks, snacks, coins for the meter, lawn chair, sunglasses, magazine...and oh, my list goes on! Then once there to try and coax the kids to each carry something down to the water where we'll plop for the afternoon. But once we are set up and slathered with SPF50 my blood pressure drops back to normal and I begin to enjoy myself.
It seems the kids have endless energy when it comes to playing in the sand and surf. In the water, out of the water, in the water, out of the water. Jumping in the waves. Boogie boarding. Making sand castles. Digging deep holes. Me?.....I'm just happy to sit down in my reclining beach chair, look at the sights around me and let the suns rays destroy my skin.
I can remember as a little girl the summers spent on Cape Jack Beach. There were the days I was enrolled in swimming lessons and holy crap was the water COLD. The waves knocking me over. Dislike. But then there are my memories of packing a cooler...usually crackers and jam, homemade cookies and some grapes....filling a big green thermos full of lemonade or peach juice...and off to the beach we went. Me, mom and my brother. There we would meet up with 75% of the community if it was a beautiful summer day. Some summers someone would build a raft and anchor it out a ways and oh what fun to swim out to it and climb aboard....only to be pushed off repeatedly by older boys....that we were trying to swim out to flirt with in the first place. Before the warf was destroyed, I can remember being a teenager and biking down to it. Laying our towels out on the hot cement of the warf and jumping off the side. Oh how I wish I could snap my fingers and go back for just one day. And then at the end of the day, going home and walking in the door just as supper was being set on the table. Stuffing my face then hopping in a cold shower. Dad never went to the beach. I can't ever remember a day that he ever came down with us. Now......he's become a Florida beach bum....I think he even has me passed up!
Cape Jack beach sure has taken a beating over the years. It's mostly rocks on the shore now with a patch of sand here and there, if you're lucky. But still, every summer that I go home...Cape Jack beach is where we head around 11am and stay until 5pm...when we rush home to supper on the table and a cold shower. My kids sure don't act like little Floridians when it comes to jumping in the artic waters. I'm lucky if I can get in past my toes. Beautiful sunsets and bonfires at the beach are mandatory on vacations home. I'm hoping that my kids will look back on our summer vacations...in the place I grew up...with fond memories of how fabulous Cape Jack Beach was, and is.
Life is rough....but somebody's gotta live it!!!