Lazy Days of Summer

We’re into the lazy days of summer. The temperature is in the mid to high 90’s and the heat index is taking it well over 100 here in south central Tennessee, temperatures similar to my home state of South Carolina. I’m having to acclimatize to Southern humidity after twenty-five years of living in the upper Midwest.

The summer heat is bringing on a sense of nostalgia today, so I put on my headphones and clicked on summer music. As Alabama’s Dancing on the Boulevard began to stream in my ears, memories of Myrtle Beach, SC and summer vacations rolled through my mind. I went there every summer from my childhood through my thirties until we relocated to Indiana for my husband’s job. It was difficult all those years living so far from the ocean. I’ve always felt drawn to the sea, but we only went a few times while living in Indiana and Wisconsin. It was a major undertaking to ride in a car with our three children, no matter what their ages, for a fourteen-hour drive. And I’d thought five hours from my hometown of Greenville to the beach was a long trip when I was a child.

My love for the coast has never waned. I still love the beach! Even today I love the feel of the heat on my skin, but I’ve learned baking in the sun has consequences. In c2f9e5d8b2b9c0870219ca55afc19935our late teens and early twenties, my friends and I would spread baby oil and iodine over our skin and spend our days sleeping on a blanket on the beach. My dermatologist should be on retainer today. We believed we could build up our tans and it wouldn’t harm our skin because we were turning brown instead of red. However, it just ain’t so. Today, I enjoy the heat of the Southern summer sun sitting in a chair under my umbrella with my 12734285_10204939127992648_3572426766556606702_nfloppy brimmed hat shading my face and 70+ sunscreen covering every part of my body. Yep, I still burn sitting under an umbrella without that magic concoction. It’s a bit difficult to grow up in the South with skin as fair as mine. I would have fit in well in the antebellum South of Scarlett O’Hara.

 

But back to the role of the ocean in my life. The last time I visited Myrtle Beach was after my mother’s funeral almost two decades ago. My husband took me there to heal after my mother’s illness and death from breast cancer. The first day, I stared imagesout at the ocean from our balcony and let my mind drift. Every day Ray and I walked the Grand Strand, the name for the long stretch of beach. We didn’t really talk. He understood I needed to hear the roar of the ocean, as well as savor the feel of the water running over my ankles and the sand receding from between my toes and under my heels with the ebb and flow of the notorious Myrtle Beach undertow. In the evenings, we would breathe in the salt air and let the coolness of the evening breeze caress us as we walked along the boardwalk holding hands. The town of my youth had changed so much, but the sea remains constant.

Although Myrtle Beach has changed, I will always carry my magical memories. My stomach still gets butterflies when I think about that first glimpse of the expanse of the ocean to the horizon, water as far as can be seen. My annual visits to the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove with friends and family resulted in some strange souvenirs 3600456067_d75e1d56ae_breturning home with me. It has a circular staircase to explore the many layers of the building, which is filled to the brim with anything and everything beach related. These are the items you would never buy at home but have no problem justifying spending the money while on vacation such as a handwriting analysis, or bicycle tags with your first name printed above Myrtle Beach on it, or shells you could just as easily pick up on the beach in the early morning when the tide starts rolling out. And I’ll never forget those shell curtains I bought while in college. It’s a time to relax images (1)and enjoy life!

And then there’s The Bowery and the Spanish Galleon, bars for all the college students and younger teens with fake id’s. I was thrilled when I turned eighteen, the legal drinking age at that time, and I made my first trip to The Bowery to hear a barely known group called Alabama.

As a native South Carolinian, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the state dance, The Shag, also known as the Carolina Shag. Not the Austin Powers’ shag. I’ll admit to not knowing how to dance the Shag, but it’s on my bucket list of things to learn. Perhaps, when the house is finished, we’ll break open that bottle of champagne we have chilling in our fridge, and Ray can teach me how to Shag. He is an excellent dancer.

I will be going to Emerald Isle, North Carolina at the end of July for the Babes on the Beach writers’ retreat. I look forward to spending some time staring out at the Atlantic Ocean and letting my mind and body rejuvenate after building this house. I will even get to return to my practice of yoga. Yoga on the beach. It doesn’t get much better than that. With a bit of luck and a lot of planning, this will be where I plot out my next novel, Betrayal of the Butterfly.

This is my special place, where I go in my mind when I’m feeling down. Do you have a special place that rejuvenates and heals you? A place that memories restore your energy? I’d love to hear about it and why it’s special for you?

Until next week, I hope you enjoy some lazy days of summer. I know I will.

Comments

Lazy Days of Summer — 6 Comments

  1. Wow, Anne–love those beaches, too. My special places all involve water, and one of them, Fripp Island is in SC. I’ve not been Emerald Isle, NC, but I’ve heard it’s gorgeous. Some years back I took a ferry to Ocracoke (Sp?) NC, and enjoy that whole region. Some Lake Michigan spots claim my heart as well. Sounds like the heat is amping up where you are. I bet you look great in your floppy hat!

    • I love Fripp Island, much classier than Myrtle Beach. I’ve never been to Emerald Isle either and I’m looking forward to it. I need a beach fix. I love water. We lived a few houses off Lake Michigan when we lived in Racine and it was therapeutic in many ways. I’ll take a photo and post it when I find my floppy hat. It’s in one of our seven storage units. Take care my friend!

  2. Hi Anne – I must admit, summer is not my favorite time of year. If I close my eyes and picture a perfect place it’s usually in front of a warm fireplace with a book and a cup of tea. I prefer long country roads and birds chirping over busy streets and the commotion of a lot of people. Beaches are wonderful, as long as there is a nice breeze. 🙂 Enjoy your lazy summer afternoons, you deserve it.

    • I so understand. I love quiet beaches, or I should say beaches that are more quiet than filled with people. That’s why I love the beach in late Spring and after school starts back. There are more older people like me. Your idea of the perfect go to place sounds really appealing to. I love sitting by your wood stove with a cup of tea and knitting together. Let’s make it happen this year. My place or yours?

  3. Hey Anne!

    What a GREAT blog post! I love the beach myself and go to about five different ones here in Ontario. One of these years I am going to Florida to go to some of those beaches. They say they are the nicest in the world.

    Thank you for taking me on this wonderful imaginary journey!

    I will visit often!
    Irene S. Roth

    • Irene, when you go to Florida, I hope you will stop and visit me in Tennessee. If you’re driving, we’re right off I65. Thanks for visiting.