Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Down By The Sea

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This past Monday I took a much-needed vacation day from work and with my former dispatch partner from Norwich PD and good buddy Paula (who deserves a major congratulations on the recent landing of a new job as an art teacher at Grasso Tech in Groton!) we packed the kids and a cooler into the car and headed East to Rhode Island and the Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett.

Turns out it was one of the few nice days we've had this summer so it was the perfect beach day and we'd even been unwittingly smart enough to avoid the beaches at Westerly that apparently had a man-o'-war outbreak.
By 11:00 we had staked our place out on the sand with a plethora of towels, bags, the cooler, a boom box, and any of the other 'necessary' beach items that we had thought to bring.

The waves were glorious and once you got used to the initial slap of cold water and that first big gulp of salt water (eyuk!) it was quite nice and very refreshing. The girls actually seemed to be getting along for a change (I swear, they've got bickering down to an art!) so Paula and I congratulated ourselves on a successful summer outing.

Perhaps the celebration was a bit premature ...
I should take the time to explain here that Jamie, my youngest daughter who resides full-time with her Dad in Kentucky but spends the summer here, can only be described as a headstrong, spit-in-your-eye, nothing-scares-her-at-all kind of kid. To tell her not to do something is more or less a waste of time and breath for Jamie has selective hearing - always has and apparently always will. Amanda, on the other hand, has always had more of a sensitive and tentative nature - the devil-may-care genes went entirely to her litle sister - but as the oldest, she feels that it is her duty and responsibility to try to keep her younger sister in check.

And that became part of the problem on Monday ... Jamie kept wanting to go out further than Amanda did in order to catch the bigger waves and ride them in but Amanda thought it smarter to stay in closer to shore and not go out so deep just in case one of the waves decided to not only drag you under but pull you out to sea. For Jamie, that was half the fun of it and she wasn't going to listen to her older sister for love or money - there was adventure to be had and by golly, she was going to have it! This, of course, caused Amanda no end of frustration and in trying to get close enough to tell Jamie to come back in, she kept standing right in the spot where the waves were breaking and knocking her over. With high tide approaching, the waves were coming in at a pretty good clip so there really wasn't much time to get too far out in between waves. For every step forward she took, Amanda ended up backing up another three and her frustration level was visibly rising.

Paula and I stood closer in towards shore and watched this unfold for awhile - Jamie out riding the waves and having a grand old time while Amanda got more and more aggravated at not only her sister but at the waves that kept knocking her over. I finally called her in and explained to her that neither the waves nor Jamie were going to listen to her so she might as well enjoy the day and not worry about either. At that point, I believe that Amanda saw the futility of it all and just decided to hecks with it, she'd hang out closer to the shore with us old people. And, of course, without an audience, Jamie eventually came in on her own.

After close to five hours of being tossed around by the waves (memo to self - you're old, you had back surgery last year, and doing underwater somersaults really isn't a good thing!) and being baked in the sun for way too long (what good is SPF-30 to someone who never goes out in the sun???) we packed up the kids and gear and drove over to Point Judith for dinner at Champlin's. The place had been recommended to me by one of my supervisors at work and backed up by one of our medics who actually hails from Rhode Island. To say that it was excellent would have been an understatement - it was the perfect ending to the perfect day (thanks Brad and Sean!)

Now I just wish this sunburn on the top of my feet would heal so I could wear my workboots comfortably and stop hobbling around like Quasimodo on my way to ring the bells!


  1. Linda,
    This reminded me of those bygone days when my mother & HER friend used to pack us kids up, and head to the same beaches. Same adventures. Same "Older Sibling Issues" (I was the oldest). Same great memories! The way you wrote made it so easy to go back. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous2:07 PM EDT


    I'm the youngest of two. My, ah, interesting older brother (now known in motorcycling circles as Dr. Evil--which should tell ya something) had his feet firmly planted in the midst of American Graffitti whilst I aspired to hippiedom a few scant miles from San Francisco during the fabled Summer of Love. I was Amanda's age at the time, and for some reason my parents felt a bit insecure about letting me participate in the "real" festivities of sex, drugs and rock and roll. I protested, but inwardly I was grateful for their unfailing discipline. I was much like you describe Amanda--quiet, a bit introspective, cautions. I didn't really want to be "out there", so the parental discipline served as a perfect excuse to my peers as to why I didn't ACTUALLY do all that stuff.

    Meanwhile, my brother enjoyed a reputation as more daring of the two of us. He divided his time between cruising the local strip, driving far too fast in his classic cars (he had a '56 Nomad wagon that would make anyone drool) and participating in the SPD Cadets (Cadets are to law enforcement as the Future Farmers of America are to agriculture). A good 'ole All American Boy, living the Central Valley version of The Beach Boys California Culture.

    Fast-forward a few years. My introspective, cautious nature that lived happily behind the parental firewall melted into full-fledged rebellion. Meanwhile, Big Brother settled into the family business, his marriage and his child. BOOORING...or so I thought at the time.

    Point? Jamie is indeed more of the kick-butt-and-take names type at this point, but Amanda may well have a surprise or two sitting in her beach bag as she hangs out with the old folks on the shore.

    I think that one of the neatest parts of having lived awhile has been witnessing the dynamic between my brother and myself...and how life has seasoned us. I think we have passed the "hellraiser" amd "responsible" torch back and forth several hundred times by now. I hope we keep the relay up for many more years.

    And by the by--you are NOT old. Mature--that's the ticket.

    AND CONGRATS TO PAULA! You are living my dream, chica! You now have TWO of the most important, least understood, and highly rewarding careers in the world under your belt. GO!


  3. Boy, you are right about the somersaults. Bodysurfing at any age is dangerous.

  4. This is BLOG VILLAGE Recreation Carnival Post #11 of 25...

    All in all it sounds like you had a great day to remember! Great post for the carnival!!

  5. Oops! Make that #12, I skipped over one of mine and forgot to count it!!

  6. Anonymous10:38 AM EDT

    Lol, my sister and I are 11 months apart and I think we probably gave my mom a run for her money! I love your blog design by the way!

  7. Great post. Sounds like you had fun at the beach. I'm visiting you from the Blog Village Recreation Carnival

  8. What great fun! Thanks for this great entry in our BLOG VILLAGE Recreation Carnival. It's been years since I've been to the beach, and you make me miss it.


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