Describe one summer adventure from your childhood.
I wiggled my toes in the sand, reveling in the sunbaked warmth that soaked into my feet. I didn’t mind the grainy residue between my toes; it would be gone soon enough. The rough Velcro band of my boogie board agitated my wrist. I gripped the edge tightly beneath my armpit. My arms were barely long enough to hold it so.
The roaring tiger on its face was me facing the harsh North Atlantic waves as the sun beat down on my oiled skin. At my side, my sister with her unicorn board, just as eager to tackle the magic of the ocean and attempt to harness its power for our own enjoyment.
We dashed across the flat, wet sands, splashing through tide pools on our way to the water’s edge. We shrieked as the icy water lapped at our ankles. Even in August, it sent a chill up your spine, but we would not be deterred. The waves were nothing like the movies of the Pacific coast surfers, but for kids of the mountains, they were large enough.
We waded out until we were waist-deep, holding our boards in front of us to protect from any early breakers. Then we waited. We watched the ocean. Small troughs would rise and fall, a trick of the light convincing us this was the one, the wave we could ride all the way back to the shore. We would brace ourselves, get a running start to dive on top of the supposed breaker. Sometimes it would take us all the way back. Most of the time we misjudged it.
A wave wouldn’t be big enough. We would jump too soon. We wouldn’t be in the right spot when it broke. Salt would fill out mouths and we would get up and try again. The next one. The next one, for sure.
Hours of this, under the unforgiving late summer sun. Eventually my sisters would trade places. I persisted. I was going to ride the perfect wave. Just like those surfers in my favorite Disney movie. Even though I only had a boogie board, and the waves were not behemoths like the ones out west. I would sty out there long after my sisters returned to our beach camp.
When I finally tired, or grew hungry, or came up with any reason for a break, I found myself in front of a strange beach. There were no familiar umbrellas or tents before me. The pier was much farther behind me than when I started. Panic tightened my chest, set my heart racing. The current had pulled me downstream without my ever noticing.
The tide was coming in. The gap between the water and the beach had shortened. I looked toward the pier. We were camped a block away from it. All I had to do was walk toward the pier, and I would find my way back to my family. It would be ok. I was the tiger. I had nothing to fear.
Notes: When I was a kid, we spent many summers in Maine. Specifically, at Old Orchard beach. I remember one year when we actually stayed at a beachside hotel on the north side of the pier. Most years we stayed in Wells or thereabouts and would only spend one day at Old Orchard, and when we did, it was usually on the south side with the amusement park.
But that year was the one year we were on the “other side” of the pier. Luckily, we weren’t camped too far from it either, so when I got pulled up the beach by riding the waves for hours on end, I was able to navigate back far easier than if we had been on our “usual” side.
Man, this makes me miss the beach. I may have just come off of a vacation, but I didn’t get to enjoy the outdoors for much of it. I suppose I could take a brief weekend trip and get some sun and sand in, but I’d much rather spend a week.
Now it’s your turn. What sorts of summer adventures did you have as a kid? Were they family trips or playing pretend with friends? I certainly did a lot of both as a kid. For someone who never saw a single Jurassic Park movie before adulthood, I certainly did a lot of hiding from imaginary dinosaurs in the field at the end of my street.
That’s all for me tonight. Have a happy Friday! I’ll see you tomorrow!
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