Sunday, July 8, 2007
Beach blanket bingo
Going to the beach has always been a treat for me. Growing up near Lake Michigan, we'd go to Lion's Beach in the evening for a cookout. My dad would disappear up near the train tracks, lying in wait to get a good photo of an engine, usually of the Chessie System variety. My brothers skipped a lot of rocks. I liked to climb onto the pelican that was on a thick coil that I could ride like a hobby horse. (The pelican and his friends are still there, by the way—check out the photo of me and my best friend, Alison, from a couple of summers ago.) We'd fill our bellies with kielbasa and potato chips, dip our feet in the water, watch the sun fall into the lake, and call it a lovely night.
I've rarely enjoyed sunbathing, on the beach or anywhere else. It might have something to do with a bad experience involving a poor body image, a red-and-white one-piece, and a trip to the beach one summer in high school. Or maybe it was the iodine-laced baby oil incident on the lounge chair in the backyard (To complete the picture, I had Sun-In in my hair and Duran Duran in the tape deck). Decades later, my skin is still recovering from that burn. Whatever the case, I prefer to hide out under a hat and an umbrella, reading a good book, chatting with friends, or looking out at the water. My favorite time of day is around 5 or 6, when most sun-worshippers have vacated the beach for a shower and cocktail. I wrap a towel around me and breathe in the tangy wind. I love it.
I try to get back to Michigan so I can enjoy the beach but I also travel to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, every chance I get. Boardwalk fries, photo booths, refreshing ocean water, a slow pace, and dear friends combine to make this one of the few places I can call home and maybe the only place I can truly relax (admittedly, it takes around 36 hours for this to happen). This August, I can only really swing one trip so it's going to be to Rehoboth. I figure I'll enjoy the winter delights of Lake Michigan when I go home for the holidays. The lighthouse looks magical when the pier is frozen over.