Summertime, salt air still magical

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 23, 2015

It is that time again. I call it summertime magic. School is out. The young and young-at-heart cannot wait to pursue their summertime dreams. My husband used to say that it was one of the most glorious times in his childhood years.

His pleasure at the end of the school year was to sneak off to a near-by swimming hole with three or four of his pals to take forbidden dips in the deep water and horse around with each other. They roamed the woods and sometimes grabbed their cane poles and raced each other to their favorite fishing spot. Summertime fun meant forgetting school with its books and studying and conducting a few of their own nature studies. They never considered it as such. But how else could you learn where to dig worms for fish bait and if you caught June bugs and tied a string around them and held it, you controlled how far they flew? Then there was baseball in somebody’s back yard, bike riding all over the community, and licking scoops of ice cream when the temperature was so hot some of it dripped off the cone before you could stop it. They fussed at times, wrestled each other playfully, laughed often, and plodded home dirty and bedraggled.

For me, those short summer months meant a trip to the beach with my parents. My cousin Betty often accompanied us. If I close my eyes and concentrate hard, I can almost smell the salty-sandy-faint hint of bug spray in the cottage my parents always rented. I remember how the water sounded as it tumbled from the showerhead onto our suntan oil-slick bodies. We agreed that walking barefoot there felt better than any place else, even when the hot pavement and crushed oyster shells on the way to the beach made us involuntarily skip and dance.

I have never found words to describe the heavenly taste of salt air on my lips. I cannot explain the joy that overwhelms me when I gaze in rapture at the white sand and blue-green Gulf water rolling in and out with my first look of the season. I can’t help but wonder if I am getting a little glimpse of Heaven.

My daddy always went to the beach with us, but he never liked strolls on the sand or waves nudging his body. He was there only to please my mother and me. He sat instead on the balcony while we splashed in the water, gathered shells in our buckets, and built toadstool houses and other unidentifiable things in the sand. Mine and Betty’s activities at the water’s edge increased our appetites and seemed to rejuvenate us. The grown-ups preferred to nap while Betty and I wanted to rearrange the sand, meet the waves that rolled in, and chase funny-looking birds with knees that bent backwards that landed on the beach.

Time flew when we were at the beach. And guess what? For me, that has not changed.