Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Live free or die

Any time I hear a seagull, I am transported to Cape Cod. I am 4. And a half. The half was very important at the time. My parents took us to a house, on the bay, at the Cape. We stayed for a week. The main house, a real beach house, was built into the side of the dunes, with the deck extending out. There was a little path that lead to a bunk house, where myself, and my brother and sister slept. It had bunk beds, and a single bed. I slept on the bottom bunk. My sister above me. There was a dresser, and a little lamp, right by the window. I can still see the gauzy curtain blowing from the sea breeze.

The week was magical. It is imprinted into my mind. Everything about it. From how far the tide would go out during the day, allowing you to walk forever, and play in small tidal pools, to how close it came in at night. The stairs down the dune would be almost covered with frothy, churning bay water. The sunsets were magic. Dinners out on the deck, and playing blind mans bluff at night are pressed into my memory. I remember going to a drive-in in our gigantic wood paneled station wagon, and falling asleep during the Pink Panther, in the "bed" my parents had set up in the back of it.

I am writing this from a Burger King, that has free wifi, in New Hampshire. I am looking out the window, and the White Mountains are breathtaking. We are on vacation. We are broke. Constantly. But someone I am lucky to know offered us her beautiful home, here in this magical place, for us to come, and get away. When we left on Sunday, for our week here, we had $300.00. Actually...I think it was more like $280.00. Who goes on vacation with that kind of cash? It's crazy. I thought that maybe we were going to have to pass on this trip, but David looked at me and said, we would be fine. We would figure it out.

And we have. We brought along practically the entire contents of our home, and had the gas to get here, and purchased groceries on the cheap, for the week, and we are in heaven. On the property is a waterfall, and two swimming holes! Yesterday, we swam all afternoon at a 12,000 year old geological sight, called the Sculptured Rocks. We packed a lunch, and looked for flecks of gold in the small pebbles in the crystal clear, cool water. Today, we are off  to Spectacle Lake for the day. And tonight, I am feeling a game of blind mans bluff coming on.

My Dad told me years later, when he could finally talk to me as an adult, how much that trip to Cape Cod had cost him. They didn't have the money. They put it all on credit cards. And it took them years to pay it off, and damaged their credit for a while to boot. But when I tell him that my greatest memory from childhood was that magical week swimming, and playing in the sand, and staying up late, and sleeping somewhere far from home....I see how happy he looks.

Going on vacation by the skin of our teeth has really given me so much anxiety this week. It has made my heart flutter more than a few times with palpitations. But as I brushed the knots out of Olivia's hair the other evening, after a day of them swimming in the waterfall, and catching water lizards, and tadpoles, Olivia whispered to me that she will remember this trip her whole life.

I believe she will.

1 comment:

  1. We just got back from our vacation on the cheap - spending the Fourth at a friend's stepgrandmother's lake house. Granny even leaves a credit card for gas for the boats.

    Enjoy it.