Winter Memories of a Beaufort Summer Day!

Now that winter is officially here, I brought out a short story I wrote during a typical summer day in Beaufort. Thought I would share this adventure story with you all. 

Well summer has arrived.  No! More
than that. It has exploded into these beautiful sea islands of
the Beaufort, SC
area. For those of us  who have called Beaufort home and
have our roots here, the summer brings more than the heat and humidity. I know
that the heat is an integral part of a Beaufort summer day. In fact the heat
and  the humidity are  the main players of our typical summer day. Some days the
duo seem to overpower even the best attempts at staying cooler. Days when a haze
settles over the area and the air seems heavy with the marriage of the two.
Breathing seems more of an effort than an automatic action of our being.

But it is the absolute beauty of the area that makes all of that
tolerable. In fact, there may be no other place on earth with such beauty,
diversity, plants, life forms and such an array of almost untouched getaways. We
have a haven here in the modern world. An absolute wonderful place to be.
Beaufortonians seem to become acclimated to the days that should be unbearable.
Our very being becomes accustomed to this normal Beaufort summer day. We do find
numerous ways to persevere and keep comfortable. We head to the river, go
swimming, go to the beach or the Sands. We may go to the waterfront park where
there is almost always a good breeze. Sitting on swings or just passing the time
in the grassy areas. The many shops and restaurants make for a reprieve while
enjoying the natural breeze or even the air conditioning. The whole Beaufort
experience gets in your blood and never leaves.

Many of the "others" who
are not from here will wrinkle their noses while their senses are greeted with
the essence of the sea islands. You know what I mean. That wonderful olfactory
delicacy that we are blessed with as the tides come and go. The definitive proof
that you are in Beaufort. For with eyes closed and with deep inhalation you do
get the essence of low tide! Nothing can describe it. It is the low

Let me begin this story now. This tale of an attempt at staying
cool. A trip to the beach. A trip that became an adventure. You see, we are
blessed with Hunting Island State Park. Hunting Island has
over 4 miles of beach and attracts over a million visitors a year. It is the
most popular park in the South Carolina
park system. 
And rightly so. It is nature and natures
beauty at her best! Not only is it almost completely unadulterated but it is
non-commercialized. It also has a wonderful campground. I remember as a teen in
the 70's, hitch hiking to the beach to meet up with friends. We would get a
camping spot and just live on the beach for days. But nothing more about that.
You know "what happens at the campground stays at the campground".

Anyway, back to my story. It was turning out to be one of those 105
degree heat index days. That was just the catalyst we needed to "head to the
beach". Remember when I was a teen? Well then going to the beach was quite
simple. It required swim trunks and a little recreational stuff if you get the
drift! Those days are gone. Long gone in fact. It has become a production to get
there. For one thing, I no longer travel there alone. I am much older and
wiser.  Or so I like to think. But along with all that comes family. And that is
just part of this story.

This day trip would include my wife, her sister,
her sister's grandson, her sister's  extended family granddaughter, my wife's
uncle and my youngest son. Oh yeah, and myself. Now that that was decided upon
we must get ready. Getting ready now entails a many faceted operation of sort.
My wife and I both have certain jobs to do and we set about doing those like a
well prepared team. It requires an almost military precision to pull it off
without problems. With that mindset we proceeded to "get ready".

So off I
went to get a suitable cooler. Having found that right one I rinsed it out and
made it ready to receive all the necessary items for our outing. Items
needed for nourishment and drink. Now here is a very important part of being a
true blue Beaufortonian. Coolers are very much part of our Beaufort psyche.
Notice I said coolers with an "s". That's right. We have many coolers. We have
red ones, blue ones, Gamecock coolers, Clemson coolers, small ones, large ones,
larger ones, humongous ones, collapsible ones, one's that roll (oh the wonderful
invention called the wheel) and even ones that cool or heat. However many you
have may be predetermined at birth. Or not. We may never know. But we do know
here in the Beaufort lowcountry, coolers are in. Not only in, but in summer time
almost an appendage. Especially with the younger crowd. Wherever they gather you
will find coolers galore and inside they have filled them with that important
ingredient for socialization and refreshment. Beer, beer and beer! For my wife
and myself, I shall fill mine with means of hydration, hydration and hydration.
That's right. Mainly water bottles. Must be something about getting older I
suppose. Even though I still have memories of coolers filled with PJ. Well,
memories to a certain degree. At some point those memories diminish.

to my story. Having cleaned the cooler I wheeled it into our kitchen to load it
with all the needs for our survival and comfort for the day. While I had been
cleaning the cooler, my wife had gutted a watermelon. While our kids were
growing up, we found that watermelon snacks at the beach were a favorite and
delightful treat. So I loaded water and some sodas in our cooler. I then made a
few meat and cheese sandwiches and  the popular PBJ sandwiches and loaded them
too. In went some yogurt, applesauce cups, celery and peanut butter, chips and
cheese crackers.  A few more oddities and the ice. Voila. our cooler is ready.

Now to handle the amount of people going requires a van. This I have and
my next job is to load it. Wheeling the cooler to the van was easy. Once there I
almost had a blowout of serious consequences lifting it into the van. But I did
accomplish the task and now must gather up more items for our comfort and
enjoyment. Off to the shed I go. There I gather the very important beach chairs
and lounge chair. Boogie boards are the very young and the older generations
wannabe surfboards. Anyway, you guessed it. We have those too. So I gather them
together also.. Lastly I grab the beach toys. Now there is something about the
beach that at times turns all of us into little kids again. You know. When you
just sit and play in the sand. Digging with that little plastic shovel or
filling the buckets up to make sand castles. When we no longer find ourselves
thinking worrisome adult thoughts. When those worries go out with the ebb and
flow of the tides as we play. Who needs those expensive therapists when you live
by a beach.

Having gathered and transported said items to the van I
prepared to load them. Now loading for the beach requires skill. You see, to be
done correctly it must be done in layers. The cooler was loaded earlier and that
became my foundation. Next I laid the chairs that fold flat on top of the
cooler. Then the butterfly type chairs I lay next to the cooler, filling a void
there. The beach toys were put on top of those. Wedged nicely to prevent
movement. On top of the coolers and folding chairs I loaded the boogie boards.
The larger one on bottom and the next size smaller until they were stacked with
architectural preciseness. Finished I stepped back to admire my work. All was
well with my world at that moment. After all. I was an expert at this. Not like
someone whom after all that realized that the watermelon was left out of the
cooler and had to remove the boogie boards and the chairs and whatever else was
in the way to get to cooler to put watermelon in and then reload everything in
perfect layered order AGAIN!! No. Not like that person.

Having finished
that part of this quick trip I moved on to the next phase. My wife is almost
anal when it comes to preventing skin damage. Alas, the ritual greasing of the
pig. That's right. Putting on sunscreen for UV protection. The proper way is to
put it on before you go and reapply during the day as needed. Let me give you
the scene here. My wife and I in front of our bedroom mirror. I am wearing only
my swim trunks. I am standing there with both hands full of sun screen lotion.
Now there are times when I regress into my childhood. Aah those simpler times.
This was one of those times. You see, it was no longer lotion in my hands. No.
It was war paint. I was a Cherokee warrior. No. A Cherokee chief. Chief
needtoexercisemoretolosebellyfat. With the war paint I painted squiggly lines
across my forehead. Next I drew circles around my eyes and made suns out of
them. On the sides of my face I painted stick figure eagles in flight. Circling
my breasts I made two more suns. Next I split my chest in half with a painted
line that ran from between my breasts to my navel. There I drew another sun with
a sunburst affect. I was a fearsome, vicious warrior chief getting ready to wage
war and destruction. I was absorbed in my chanting (quietly in my head) of hiya,
hiya when "honey can you lotion my back in?" interrupted my regression. Sure. Me
rubba you in good squaw. And that I did and finishing myself as well we were
ready to move forward.

My wife and I climbed into our van and headed out
to pick up the other participants in this adventure. First stop was at her
sister's house. If you remember she had 2 grand kid types with her. One a 4 year
old girl and a boy of about 22 months. They both required car seats to travel
safely. Now I am not up to date with car seats but after a little swearing and
such we managed to get them in properly and the kids installed in them. Onward
to pick up my wife's uncle. This proved to be about the easiest thing so far
that day. We pulled up and he came out and got into the van. We drove off
heading to our next destination. That would be pickup point NOVEMBER. You know
the phonetic alphabet. November for "N". The first letter of my youngest son's
nickname. Off we go.

Now the little girl had never been to the beach
before. She had been to a lake but never the ocean. As such she was excited and
anxious. The normal travel dialog of "are we there yet" started immediately. But
worse was yet to come. She was a perky little talkative thing. And so it was
that "why" became the word of the day. Why, why why! I had reached my point and
was just about to unleash a tit for tat verbal battle with her. One of why not,
why not, why not!! I envisioned a great movie scene. You know. Like that iconic
PeeWee Herman scene of "I know you are but what am I."  "Where are you going?"
brought me back from my acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. Back to reality
and realization that I was at the pickup spot NOVEMBER. You remember. The place
where we would acquire another rider. My youngest son.

As before there
was the "why are we stopping?"  "Why are we here?" But all that was about to
change. You see, this young girl had never seen my son before. With my wife and
I up front and my sis-in-law and wife's uncle in middle seats, then that left
the two children in the back row seats. The only place left for my son to sit
was in between the two car seats, ergo the kids. Now once he climbed in, the
girl clammed up tight. Unsure and a little scared I suppose, she didn't say a
thing. Oh peace and quiet. So back into traffic I pulled as we headed out once
again to our destination. But fate was to deal me an ugly hand. You see, the boy
had only seen my son a couple of times and did not recognize him. It started
with a slight quiver of his lips. Then a soft and slow noise started building
until he burst forth with an awful terrified crying fit. I was beginning to
wonder "why,why,why". I was just about to my point, you know the
one. It was then that he stopped crying. He had worn himself out. The
noise level went from a screaming cry to a whimper in seconds. A whimper that
lasted the rest of the trip to the beach. But at least it was

Hallelujah we finally pull up to the entry of the beach. Anyone
who lives in Beaufort should invest in a season pass for the state parks. It is a great
money saving deal plus with it displayed you are just waved through at the gate.
There are two main beach areas other than the campground area. The north beach
has the lighthouse on it. It is wonderful historical
building with great views from the top. We like to go to the south beach which
is closer towards Fripp Island. In my opinion the south beach has better beach
area and is not as crowded. And so it was that we continued on to the south
beach parking area. Many years ago the parking was not really organized and you
would park anywhere on the side of the road. This led to a lot of vehicles
getting bogged down in the sand. Now the parking areas are nicely laid out and
uniform. Finding a parking spot was easy and we pulled up by one of the many
bathrooms and parked.
The unloading seemed to go really well. No major
catastrophes occurred. Everyone of the adults grabbed something to carry and
took off to the beach. With that I found myself alone and looking down at the
cooler still in the van. Darn. Maybe just maybe they all left it for me because
it was so important. That's it. They all knew that something that important to
the very survival of us all should be entrusted to me. So it was with a swell of
pride that I grabbed a good hold onto the handles. One, two, three, lift....oh
gosh that seems alot heavier than when I loaded it. Let me try again. So with a
deep breathe and a big jerk, I pulled the cooler out of the van in one big,
continuous move. What a man! what a man! For  a second I drifted off to the
stage of the Olympics. The crowd was wild after seeing me break all records of
the weightlifting  'snatch' event. I didn't get to revel in my glory long as
music drifting from a nearby car snapped me back to reality. It was just as well
as I needed to transport the cooler to the waiting masses. First I needed to go
through a mental list. Are windows cracked? Check. Do I have my sun glasses?
Check. Do I have my cellphone? Check. Do I have my keys? NO? Where are they? Not
in the ignition...not in my pockets....not on the ground anywhere. Oh heck. We
are screwed now. Maybe one of those sweet little brats got them and now we shall
never know what happened to them. Like my youngest son when he was that age. He
threw everything in the trash can. Keys, remotes, money all went into the trash.
Great. I guess I need to go and interrogate the little rascals. It won't be
nice. I have to break them down. Get into their brain. Make them see that I am
in control and the rest of their existence is in MY hands now. That I can't be
messed with. The truth and only the truth will suffice. Which one of you little
farts took my keys? It has to be that way. No pity shown.
" HEY! Did you hear me?" What's that, I replied to my
wife. "I took your binoculars and keys" she yelled from the walkway. "I meant to
tell you before I went down to the beach". "Are you going to come or just hang
out by the van all day?" she asked. Ha ha I sarcastically mumbled. "Sure honey"
is what she heard. Doors locked? Check. Close rear hatch and go. Check.

With that I began my leisurely trek to the place on the
beach where my family had homesteaded for the day. Life is good. It's a
beautiful day and we are going to make memories today. So it was that myself and
my cooler started the short trip. Thank goodness that the cooler is equipped
with wheels and a pull handle. Up over the curb at the restroom area was a
breeze as was the paved areas. On to the beach access walkway. Holy cow did I
have a blowout? Nope. It seems that this sand is loose. Not packed at all and
you guessed it. My easy, smooth rolling to my destination took on a nasty
disposition. In fact my movement came to a dead stop as the wheels of the cooler
sank into the loose sand. I will just yell to someone to come and help me carry
it to where we set up. Scanning the beach I located what I believe was our spot.
My gosh it is like a mile away and no one is there. Oh I see. They are all
already at the water or in it just having a wonderful time. On top of that, they
are so far away they will NEVER hear me. Let me become one with the cooler and
the beach. You know, like Bruce Lee would do. Then I will be able to easily pull
the cooler the distance needed. I will master the art of movement. There will be
no resistance that I will not be able to overcome. One, two, three...crap that
is really stuck deep. I guess I will have to just man handle it and carry it.
Like Arnold Scwarze whatever. Deep breathe and lift. Wait a minute. Isn't the
object of this exercise supposed to be the cooler being set free  from the sand
trap? With it's position in the air above the sand? That's certainly not what
happened. When I jerked to free it, I was pulled downward to the cooler. I hope
no one was watching. After all, to someone less intelligent than myself, it may
have looked like I am just a wimp. They may not understand that we had just been
through a very  rare occurrence of  'gravity surge'. I know it sounds crazy that
it just so happens that it occurred at the exact moment I jerked on the
cooler....but crazier things have happened. Let me test to make sure this
phenomenon is over. First I must visually reconnoiter the area to make sure no
one is watching. Ready, set, jump. Good! Seems there is no excessive gravity.  A
good little jump from a stationary position for a white boy I must say. Gee, let
me get back to the situation at hand. This time I will crouch lower into a
weight lifting crouch. Then with the spring and quickness of a tiger I will use
my leg strength and free the cooler. AAAHHHH I screamed as I yanked it up and
up. Falling back on the sand on my derriere the freed cooler and it contents
cascaded onto me. Let me just lie here for a minute. Kind of blend in. Like a
chameleon. After all the ice feels pretty good about right now. All except the
one in my belly button. Now that is just a little too cold. Wonder if this is
how caught shrimp feels when you ice them down. Well, maybe except for the
smorgasbord of snacks and food spread about. As nice as this is I need to get up
and salvage what I can and get to the beach before someone, ANYONE, misses
Finally I picked up the snacks and food and drinks and
cleaned the sand off. Well not all of it. After all the sand never brushes off
completely. There was still quite a bit of ice that had not spilled out so I was
good there. Back to my original dilemma. Getting this heavy sucker miles down to
the chairs. I guess I will just have to man up and carry it. Not a biggie. Now
that it is free from the sand I should make good time carrying it. Then I too
can hit the beach and play in the water. Up and go. One, two,three, four, five,
six. Whoa. I need to set it down for a minute. Gee. I thought I would be closer
than this. OK. This time I am not stopping until I get to our spot. Lift and GO!
No stopping this time. No sir I am all about winning this contest. Yahoo! I am
on a roll now. I should be in the water anytime now. I am not looking up until I
know I am almost there. Don't look. Don't look. Darn I can't resist. Curiosity
gets me every time. What the...? I am not even halfway there. On top of that
here comes that 'gravity surge' again. You can't fight mother nature and win so
just give in to the 'surge'. Whew. That is much better. Give my arms and legs a
break. What am I to do? Oh wait here comes a little kid. He looks to be only
about eight or nine years old. Too small to do me any good.  "Hey mister. I have
been watching you trying to get that cooler down to the beach. Boy, you sure are
funny.My mom will be here in a second. If you want her to carry it for you I am
sure she will.After all, she carried ours that is twice that size down to our
spot." Haha I thought but did not say. He thinks he's a comedian. "I tell you
what I'll do. If you grab that side and help me I will give you a dollar." 
"Make it five dollars and I will" he replied. "You drive a hard bargain but
because today is going to be a wonderful, relaxing day, I say yes."

With that the little one easily lifted his side and I
mine. That's weird, I thought. How is it that he is so small and punkish yet has
no problem lifting this heavy cooler? Eureka!! I know. Like that Newton fellow
said. "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". That explains it. You
know. Remember the 'gravity surge'? Ha. That must have evoked an opposite and
equal reaction. An 'anti-gravity surge'!  Simply put for you non astro-physicist the exact time we lifted and carried the cooler, gravity 'eased' up.
Just enough to get us where we were going without allowing us to float away.
That is why I did feel a little light headed. You know, since I am in the same
league as Mr. Newton, I think when I have time I will buy some of his cookies
and read up on him. Though I do have a tendency to react slightly to figs. But,
what the hey.
Off we went closer and closer until we made it to our
spot. "Come on old man, give me my money". As I always keep my promises (well
sometimes always) I handed over the payola for a job well done. "Scat now boy.
You got your just rewards." And off the little thief went. Oh boy, here comes my
wife. " are you ever going to come down to the water? You always just sit in the
chair and do nothing.It is absolutely wonderful in the water. What do you find
so nice that you have just been sitting up here since we got here?"  I really
can't tell her that I just made it here or that it took the help of a little kid
to do so. After all, I have my manliness to uphold as she sees me as her STRONG
knight in shining armor. "I was just sitting up here relaxing and checking out
this hot babe on the beach. She is wearing a ....oh's you I was
drooling over.You still thrill me you hottie." She looked at me and replied
quite forcefully "Shut up and save that crap for some fool."   "I guess you came
back here because you missed me." I said. "Hardly. I came to get a drink." She
replied as she bent down and opened the lid on the cooler. "What happened to all
this stuff? It looks like a tornado struck inside here." she said. "Uh I don't
know what you are talking about" I sheepishly replied.  "Look at everything all
tossed around." she exclaimed. "Well" I replied. "Maybe the kids got into it.
Yeah, that's probably what happened. You know how they are."  "Oh  p-l-e-a-s-e.
I might buy into that if it wasn't for the fact that half of the beach is in the
cooler!"  I felt like I was cornered with no escape. She was obviously onto me.
I felt her eyes drilling a hole into me. Relentlessly and mercilessly ripping my
soul apart with that 'give me the truth' stare. Now, I can fabricate
stories with the best of them. When I am with the guys reminiscing about the
good ole days and all that, my feats become amazing. I am a living legend. Or
the fishing tales I can spin are breathless. You know, 'I would lie to everyone
I know, but I wouldn't lie to you!'  I swear type of adventure. Very believable
type of B/S. But I become George Washington when my wife gives me that look. I
can't lie. "OK" I blurted out. "I fell with the cooler and everything dumped out
and I tried to clean it up the best I could and that's the truth. So can we go
to the water now?"  With a bewildered look she replied "sure, but I honestly
thought that maybe the kids did do this." Man, I still can't read that woman.
Should have kept my mouth shut.
Now I was ready to enjoy the water and the waves slapping
against me. Ah yeah...cooling off  nature's way. I will just grab one of the
boogie boards to lay around on and drift. Hey everything is gone except a round
tube float. And it's pink. That's all right. I'll just carry it to the water and
swap it with the nice little girl. She has one of the boogie boards and she
probably overlooked this. I am sure she will want this nice, pink float. "Hey
honey, would you like to swap the boogie board for this sweet pink float that
Unkie has?" "NO" she shouted "and you aren't my real uncle". I guess I need to
turn on my sweet charm with this one. "Oh now, we are all family now and it
would be really nice if you let me use the board and you float around in this
pretty pink float." I replied in the little kiddie voice as I reached out and
grabbed onto the boogie board. With that she let out a blood curdling scream
that made me drop the float and cover my ears. Holy crap I shouted. She took off
with the boogie board as everyone around looked at me like I had done something
to the 'poor little girl'. As her mom ran over to her to ask her what was wrong,
I figured I might as well just use the frickin' float. So, squeezing into it off
I went afloating. I guess that by the looks I was receiving from everyone, that
it isn't everyday that you might see a grown man floating around in a pink
float. But, like it is said, 'a man that is secure in his manhood can pull off
wearing pink.' So with that I continued letting the ocean waters rush over me as
I floated around in perfect peace and tranquility. I was in heaven and being
rocked gently. No really. I was dreaming. Dreaming until I bumped into something
or I should say someone. Such a rude awakening, as I had drifted off to sleep
and drifted into a monster of a man. "Sorry" I said as I realized what happened.
"Must have drifted off to sleep and into you by mistake." "That's OK" he said in
a tone and with that grin on his face that the Grinch had when he was caught by
MaryLou Who stealing her tree and gifts. "I know how taxing and tiring it must
be trying to keep control of that big old pink float while fighting these mean
rough waves. Or to you maybe they seem like a tsunami."  I am a forgiving type
of person that tries not to let things bother me. Especially if it may cause me
to react in a way that may cause me extreme pain or harm. As this man was with
three more goons and that they all were belly laughing at me, I just kinda laid
back in the float and back paddled away as I wished them a good day. Wow, that
was close. I could have drifted out to sea. Instead I was lucky enough to drift
into 'An absolutely belittling and embarrassing situation.' Oh well. At least I
am still alive and well. Even if I am a little red and wrinkled. Gee. It seems
like someone with me might at least think enough of me to wonder where I might
be at some time during the day. As usual they are all sitting at the spot and
eating and drinking and causing merriment. Then I too shall get out of the water
and refresh myself and hope the sun reverses this prune condition. A good cold
drink of water and some watermelon and some chips and some whatever will really
hit the spot about right now. Carrying the float I head to my family but notice
people staring towards me and laughing. Looking behind me to see what was so
funny, I saw only ocean. Hhmm. That is weird. I don't see anything funny about
that. Oh boy. Here comes that little punk from the cooler incident. I hope he
doesn't try to blackmail me for more money. Pointing his finger at me and
laughing he squeals  to his little sister, "look at that." He obviously was
talking about me. Not something behind me. What I didn't realize was that I
looked beet red on half of my face and shoulder. On top of that, my head looked
like a chia pet with half it's chia missing. Kind of like a misconstrued
porcupine with my thinning hair poking up in all directions. Man, I hate when
that happens. I told my wife I should just shave my hair off. But she always
says no. That I have a peanut head and I would look ridiculous bald. What the
heck do I look like now. When I reached our spot and everyone there tried not to
look too hard or laugh at me, I guess I felt a little more human. Now, time for
some....hey....what happened to all the stuff? "Oh. You mean you didn't have
anything yet, honey?" "Not only NO but H--- NO!" I let slip out. " Here is a
piece of watermelon that fell in the sand but if you rinse it off it will still
be good." my wife volunteered with her most caring tone she could muster. "I
have a half bottle of water you can have too.",  piped in my sister in law. "How
about this yogurt. Little Mikey took a bite but then spit it back into the cup.
But he hardly had it in his mouth long enough to get his spit on it. If you
scrape the top portion out you should be good to go."  "Gee, thanks, but I think
I will pass on all your offers and just sit here and be miserable and starved.
But you are all welcome to listen to my stomach growl and my taste buds scream
out for refreshment. That is if you have nothing better to do or feel even a
little bit of remorse."
"Who wants to walk down the beach?"  my wife asked while
changing the subject. Everyone seemed to come alive and shouted "me" all at
once. Except my wife's uncle. He just stood up and grabbing the sides of his
swim trunks, pulled them upwards while twisting them back and forth until they
were up above his belly button. Way up above. In fact his waist line now
appeared to be at the bottom of his breasts. And he had one heck of a wedgie
going on. With that he slipped on his flip flops and put on his floppy hat and
began his trek. The others joined him and headed out to explore.
So it was that I was finally going to be able to relax and
enjoy what was left of our time here. Left alone I felt as free as the gulls
soaring on top of the wind. Oh what a example of nature at it's best. Here I was
in my beach lounge chair. Relaxed and enjoying all the soothing sights and
sounds. No noisy, overactive kids to interrupt my meditative state of peace and
euphoria. Maybe, just maybe, I can catch a quick nap while they walk farther
down the beach. There is nothing like the distant sound of waves to put you into
a deep, relaxing slumber......ZZZZZZ......'Euuugh!'. What
the.....? Something is in my throat. Falling out of the lounger I
clambered into being in an all fours position. On my legs and hands. Spitting
 to remove the object from my throat, I became aware of an absolutely stomach
turning taste and texture. Continuing to expel the 'stuff' from my throat and
mouth was like upchucking an oyster. But with a much more horrific taste.
Looking on the sand where I had spit, I realized what had invaded my very soul
and life force was GULL POOP! OMG! I couldn't get up fast enough as I kept
slipping and losing my foot hold in the sand. Standing, then falling and
crawling I made it to the cooler. Ripping the lid open I was frantically digging
into the unorganized pile of food, ice, sand and empty drinks desperately
looking for liquid to rinse my mouth. Grabbing a hold of a bottle of water that
was at the bottom,  I opened it and open mouthed I poured water into my mouth
and throat while gargling and spitting it out. I continued repeating that until
the bottle was empty. Throwing it down I retrieved yet another bottle from the
cooler. This time after opening the bottle, I poured the water and plenty of
attached sand into my mouth. It didn't matter about the sand as maybe it would
help scrub the nastiness  out of my mouth. Liquid sandpaper. Finishing that
bottle I still felt 'violated' and dirty. Getting my bearings back and calming
down I was able to completely stand up.It was then I saw that little gull had
really unloaded on me. I was covered with a line of his crap straight down my
frontal area. From head to toes. How disgusting I felt and surely looked. The
gull must have thought he was "The Red Baron". Maybe I looked like Snoopy from
higher up. With my chia hair and sunglasses on. That's it. I was his (The Red
Baron's) sworn enemy and here I was in his sights. I was totally at his mercy as
I had let my guard down and fell asleep. Seems like a cheap shot on his part but
after all...all is fair in love and war. Here was his chance. Circling back he
began his descent and swooping lower he lined me into his target sights and
'bombs away'!
So much for the kind thoughts I had for
these sweet creatures of nature. Those little freaks. I knew I couldn't trust
them. After all, look at how wild they act when someone throws some bread or
crackers at them. They go crazy with a mob mentality kind of thing. None of that
was important right now. What was important was to go into the water to clean
off this mess I had all over me and to drink about 100 gallons of saltwater to
try to remove the last vestiges of the awful experience I had just been through.
Traumatized I waded into the water and with an open mouth submerged myself.
Gulping and spitting furiously I was able to replace the bird yuck with salty
yuck taste. It would take me longer to get over the emotional and mental aspect
of the cruel and bitter attack upon my person. I guess this all could be chalked
up to karma because I remember laughing at a friend that suffered a similar
incident. Even though his was just a single plop from a little birdie I guess
the karmic powers multiplied the response. Shaking my fist to the skies I began
to curse the universe for such a harsh reprisal for something years ago. Darn,
maybe that wasn't such a good idea. "I take it back. I had a minute of
weakness." I screamed out into the cosmos. Hopefully the universe can take a
joke, I was thinking when I happened to see my crowd coming. "Thank Goodness" I
proclaimed to them as they got closer. "Now we can go home, I hope. I"ve had all
the fun and excitement I can stand for one day." They all agreed it was getting
late and we should pack up and head home.
As we began getting everything packed and
ready I made a silent vow of secrecy to myself to NEVER divulge any information
about the 'incident' as I had come to name it. It will forever remain locked
away in my mind. No one needs to know about it. Other than the 20 or so beach
bums that were eyewitness to it no one else will know. Well, except the people
they will tell later today or tonight as they get a good laugh. Gosh, I sure
hope no one recorded it for YouTube fame. Nah. Get your act together and let's
go. Next stop is the showers to rinse the sand off. Like that really works. I
don't care how long you rinse, the sand is ever present as you climb into your
vehicles. Anyway off we go. I now have help in carrying the cooler and all the
other stuff has been divvied out to make the return to the van easy. I just need
to load everything in again. That I begin doing as the others take the kids back
to rinse them off. Thank goodness I am not stuck with that fiasco. I hear blood
curdling screams as the kids are held under the showers. Oh listen. They have
great harmony as they scream in unison. What is it with kids. They either love
the showers or they hate them. Sounds like hate to me. For myself I shall just
brush as much sand off as I can. Voila. Now to put a towel on my seat and I am
ready! Here comes the others with the kids leading the way, running from my wife
and sister in law who are trying to dry them off after the shower. They are like
me and want nothing more to do with being tortured. With the side doors of the
van open, they both dive into the van. With them they bring what seems like  a
ton of sand with them and water that is dripping from them. So much for all that
effort to keep the van clean. I really don't care because we are heading home.

Now that we are all finally loaded and
strapped in, I can head to that wonderful comfort zone I refer to as 'home'. Off
we go and it isn't long before my nephew is deep into lala land. Wore out
like the real hard playing trooper he is. The 'extended family' niece is
starting to crank up again with a few why and when questions, but no one even
answers her and she eventually gets quite and drifts off to sleep too. We all
kind of drift off into our little worlds as the day at the beach begins to wear
on us. The sand, sun and wind has an almost narcotic effect on a person and we
were no exception. Dropping my son off he is off to work and had a quick snooze
in the van. Next was my wife's uncle. He talks very little until he has his
liquid tongue loosener. He gathers his few items and in his native German
language bids us Tschüß.
Hallelujah. One more stop and then home! We proceed to my sister in laws house.
Waking up the two little angels one at a time, she gets them into the house as I
unload her stuff and take it to her house. Climbing back into the van I think
"so long sucker." as I back out of the drive and head home.

Pulling into my drive I feel like a heavy
load has been lifted off my shoulders. I am back home safely with my lovely wife
and I have survived the experience. I unloaded the van and emptied and rinsed
the cooler. As I walked into the house my wife asked if I had a good time. "Yes
I did" I lied. "Maybe we can do it again next week" she remarked. It really
doesn't pay to lie does it? Oh well, as long as it makes her happy thinking so,
I am game. She heads for the shower as I tell her I am going to get my wet
clothes off. Going into the bedroom I sat down on the bed and that is where my
wife found me sleeping. Gotta love Beaufort summer days!

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