Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beach Bum

Last week we went on a family vacation to Dewey Beach, Delaware.

Dewey Beach.
Where is that?
Just south of Rehoboth.
Oh, never heard of it.

This is the typical conversation I have with most people when I tell them where we usually go on vacation in the summer. Often I get, "isn't that a gay beach?" or "I used to party there when I was in college".

My family has been going to Dewey Beach since long before it was a popular party destination for the "college-age" or "got-my-first-real-job" crowd. I remember when there were only a handful of houses and condo buildings. I'm pretty sure the farm on the bay side was still there when we would go as a family in the mid-1970's. Now it is a housing development. The location we stayed at this year (we rarely stray far from the New Orleans Street location of my youth) actually stands on the spot where a little old lady's house used to be amongst the sand dunes. As children, my sister and I, along with family friends, would play games in those dunes and wonder about the woman inside the house.

Dewey has changed over the years, but yet it has stayed pretty much the same. It is a laid-back beach where the locals and regulars all seem to know one another. You are within walking distance to stores and restaurants. Yet there is no boardwalk crowd (a good thing for us, but a drawback for some). The same families have been running the businesses for decades and are very welcoming. My mother gets a kick out of her interaction with the man that runs Vavala's (the local newsstand/beachwear store/post office). He has been there for years and is probably in his 80's. This year, we took to calling him her boyfriend. The girls got a kick out of that one, especially Megan, who went with mom every morning to buy her copy of the Washington Post.

Poor Pat married into this family of beach goers. He is not a beach bum in any sense of the word. He tolerates it and enjoys playing with the girls, but he does not get upset if the forecast calls for cloudy skies. He would, however, love to swim in the surf. Unfortunately this year, and most years, the water was just too cold. He has put me on notice. Next year he would like to go south for our vacation where the water is clearer and much warmer. I have a feeling that the Outer Banks of North Carolina will be our destination. I will not enjoy the 7 hour drive as compared to our 3 hours to the Eastern Shore, but I am not sure I have a choice.

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