Friday, April 15, 2005


This one is for Tom because my sappier posts seem to make his day . . . The sun has been shining for several days in a row here, not an easy feat in Pittsburgh as it is usually overcast or raining. While the air has still been crisp it is reminding me of summertime. My perch here on the 41st floor of my building has an exquisite view of the Point, the place where the three rivers converge in Pittsburgh (oh and for you baseball fans, I can see PNC Park and all that goes on there . . . ) Anyway, what has been reminding me of summertime is the glisten of the water when the sun hits it at just the right angle. It reminds me of crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our family vacations which we always spent on Assateague Island in Maryland. My sister and I would pack a bunch of bathing suits and shorts and tanktops for the trip (we literally slept in our suits). We'd sing along with the radio in the car as we drove from Western PA to Maryland, getting more and more excited as we got closer to the shore. Once we hit the bay, the windows were rolled down so that I could smell that musty-salt filled air that I love so much. If I lived there, it probably would not affect me as much, but that scent lingers in my mind, and I can close my eyes and smell it right now. The windows, rain or shine, would stay down until we got to Assateague. Funny thing about Assateague, it always seemed to rain, torentially, as we were setting up our tent, but then the sun would burst forth and there wouldn't be a drop during daylight hours for the rest of our days there. As soon as we would get the car parked, I ran to the top of the dune to say "Hello" to the ocean. The waves would lap the beach as if they were welcoming me, their old friend, back for the summer. I'd zip back to camp to do my part, then off to the beach to sit and listen to the waves, watch the sun glisten off the water and hear the call of gulls as they said Happy Summer in their strangely melodic calls. The rest of the time was spent sun-bathing (I looked good in a bikini in my teen years), crabbing, fishing, canoeing, swimming and eating. We'd troll the boardwalk in Ocean City, which went through its own changes over the years. My sister and I always managed to meet a new guy for the summer, our summer crush. One year it was the creepy guys who ran the photo shop, another it was a group of skaters, still another we each met several guys, a traveling Beach Volleyball team (we were older then). We didn't care, it was all good. Those were some of the happiest days of my life. We'd take with us our best friends, or adopted family, and we'd make so many new friends we'd fill a lifetime of pages about them. Some that spring to mind, two guys who went to the University of Maryland and who were just Freshman at the time. I was probably 13 or 14. I was madly in love with one. I, being a little hippie then, taught him, he was the park naturalist, how to tie-dye for events. We got on well. Over the years, my crush faded, but we remained very good friends. Then there were the twins. They were a good deal younger than my sister and I. Spitfires they were. Both were so full of life that everyone around them was happy to know them. We've lost touch over the years, but I remember their faces as boys when I think about the beach. I imagine they've grown into great young men. The last time I was at Assateague for a vacation, was my honeymoon. Yep, my Better Half and I stayed in a tent on the beach for our long awaited honeymoon and it was great. I got to share with him the love I had for that place, we camped, went to an all-you-can eat crab boil and had a blast. I have been back to visit, but not to camp. I plan to take the Boy there when he is a bit bigger. I want to share with him the joys of being with family, seeing the beach, smelling the smells. I hope he is as fascinated by the sound of waves at night as I was. I hope he loves the outdoors as much as me. I hope that he will cherish memories made on summer days the way that I do. I hope I am as good a parent as my parents were. As I stare out at the Point today wishing I could jump into that inviting water at Assateague, I hope my son looks back in years to come and says to himself "my mom showed me the best that this world has to offer and I want to share it with someone too." That'll mean I did my job and did it well.

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