Letters to Holly

Sunday, August 9

Another Week, Another Town

We arrived in Surfside Beach Saturday around 4. My Mom packs a lot for one person. For three people, too. We barely all fit in the Matrix. The beach is also crammed as folks get in their last vacation time before the SC schools go back in. We assume the hotel will thin out tonight and tomorrow, and already we can see signs of departures. More ocean for us.

This is where Mom and Dad vacationed for almost 20 years. They came here every year, and Mom's is trying to shake the hesitance and enjoy the time. The place is haunted by Dad. They had a routine: eat, beach, eat, walk, sleep. They didn't hit the sights nor did they go tourist. They came here to do very little and enjoy every minute of it. They considered moving here to such an extent that they even priced golf carts, the mode of transportation for the locals. I walked with Mom this evening, and every block had a story of their onetime plans to relocate.

She's handling it well. There's was a moment of despair soon after we arrived, but she collected herself after I joked that we could go back home. She's looked forward to this too much. She's a beach baby from her high-school days, and this is a return to what she was before Dad and her days as Mrs. Dad. It's heady for her.

So we're spoiling her. We take the receipts before she can grab them at meals, and we make her choose the local eateries. She reclaimed her favorite spot under the pier. She introduced us to the hotel staff whom she knows by name. This land is her land, this sand is her sand. We're here to introduce her to short tangents of activities. We're looking at a kayak tour and varying coastal cruises. Your Sister is checking out the surfing classes for me, but we may skip them to give Mom as much downtime as possible. We don't want to overschedule the trip.

As a symptom of how few brains I have, I ran on the morning sand barefoot. Now I'm reunited with my old friends, the sand blisters. It's as bad as the Washington trip. Having survived that, I know I can live through this stupid pain. We also suffered through a Sunday beach serenade by an acoustic performer who changed every song into the slow tempo of American Pie and didn't actually play that song. He also blew out his voice in the first three songs and relied on his back-up musicians to carry the load for the next 90 minutes. Also didn't know the lyrics to all his songs. When you ask people to sing along with the music, it helps if you can join them. I ducked out and hit the water. Your Sister joined me. Together we drank a league of salt water. Cheers.

If I nail down a surf-class date, I'll let you know. Mom would be thrilled to see you on her territory. The weather looks perfect all week, but we're rationing our sun-and-water time to minimize the sunburns. Tomorrow morning, we're going to the aquarium. I hope to have some pics available here later in the day.

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