The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free! ~Bryan W. Procter
Down the shore. It’s the expression Urban Dictionary defines as “Where folks from Philadelphia and southeastern PA go during the summer.” There’s something about the Jersey shore. Bright blue ocean at a distance (if the sky is just right), people in stages of undress everywhere and I mean everywhere, screams and laughter, tip jars encouraging patrons to donate to employee college funds (or party funds for the night) The smell of French fries, funnel cakes and the ocean waft through the air…the sounds of screams from the carnival rides, the sun attacking all exposed skin….the sea gulls attacking all exposed food. “Down the shore.” It IS where we go in the summer. It’s vacation. It’s the day trip or the skip-work-head-to-the-beach trip. It’s where we gravitate to when the days grow longer and hotter.
I love it there. It’s my childhood and young adulthood and adulthood. It’s familiar. It’s the boardwalk I’ve walked down each summer since I was a little kid. It’s the ocean I’ve been pummeled by and gently rocked by each summer past.
This is the Jersey shore. Love it or leave it. I love it.
My dad loves the ocean. Salt and sea. I too love the ocean. We have this in common.
My large and glorious family arrived in Ocean City for Fathers Day on June 16th. It is the family tradition that has grown to include the blooming branches of our family tree. My older brother takes his two children and my oldest sister and her husband take their 6 beautiful girls. Three of my four brothers, my two sisters, my mom and dad were all there too and this was enough. The mighty Atlantic remains the backdrop to this family tradition.
The day melts on down the shore. Time doesn’t seem to move. Nieces and nephews spent their time building sand castles and playing the water, my sisters and my mom sat on a bench and chatted, my dad and my brothers walked the boardwalk hitting the arcades. The day melts at the Jersey shore and we melt along with it. Pizza at Manco and Mancos (my dad’s favorite pizza ever! ever!), salt-water taffy at Shrivers and 8 addicted children asking for a taffy. ANY taffy. I snuck in with my mom to pick up an Americano from the Ocean City coffee co to feed my own addictions. One cannot simply walk by the coffee shop without grabbing a cup.
The day ebbs and flows with relaxation and excitement; energy and exhaustion.
I always itch to get onto the sand, after hours, once the beach goers have left in search of dinner and entertainment. I love to stand on the edge of the water and look out over the great expanse of the sea. My mom and I walked down to beach to the ocean this year together.
As I stood there, waves at my ankles… it reminded me of how tiny I am on this great big earth and how glorious it is to be alive and swirling in this universe with the people I love. Having shared the space, admiring the ocean with my mom made the moment even sweeter. It was the best part of my day.
It was a nice Fathers day at the shore. Spending the day with my entire family is always lovely. The background noise and scenery is never important. Spending time with family matters.
Gosh do I love trips down the shore.
What traditions do you hold true on Fathers day? Share a tradition or a memory or story about your father below. I’d love to hear from you all.