The Smells of the Shore

I do my best thinking in the two places where it is most difficult to pen my thoughts: my shower and my car.  It’s unfortunate and typical but maybe explains why my entirely alone and uninterrupted thoughts are the best ones.  The problem, though is that as a result of my late in life ADD diagnosis and my outrageous imagination, I forget 90% of my best material.

The good news today is that the idea for this post followed me around all weekend.  Everywhere I went,  I was reminded about how much I love the smells of the shore.  Your sense of smell brings back some of your strongest memories as it is likely the first sense developed by the human body.  I’m not going to put together a bibliography for my research but you should be able to find my resources by typing in “smell and memories” and reviewing the initial headlines that pop up on Google. What I’m trying to say is if you were taken to the beach as a baby, it’s likely you will always have fond memories that flood your heart and soul the minute you walk into a beach house these days…

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My favorite smell of all time is sun screen.  Particularly Coppertone.  I still picture the pink bottle with the little girl in a bathing suite being chased by a dog behind her.  It was very much for babies and very much 80’s.  But I love the idea of it.  I remember the torture of having to put sunscreen on your face when you were little.  And the horrific idea that it might not have been perfectly rubbed in.  And then your teenage years when you’re far too good for sunscreen – you won’t burn – in fact, you want to burn.  And then eventually you become a real adult and realize it’s good to wear sunscreen because you really don’t want wrinkles or skin cancer and it is really a bother to be burned. I love sunscreen.  And I could smell it all day long.

The smell of the beach is incredible.  Particularly when you’re driving towards it with the windows down and you’re tired and have been sitting in traffic and all of the sudden you realize for the first time you’re within smelling distance of the bay and ocean.  And everything is okay again because you’re at the shore.  Work isn’t there – your messy room isn’t there – the drama with your ex isn’t there… It’s you, it’s a Corona and it’s the sounds and smell of the sand and the ocean and nothing can ruin that.

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The smell of beach houses.  Especially the showers.  I feel like beach houses just smell like happiness.  Save for the area where my brother and his friends are camped out, beach houses usually smell like a mix of sunshine and relaxation.  I wish Febreze would bottle a “Shore House” scent that I could spray on my couch in the city.  Or for others to spray in their cubical or cars for commuting.  When stepping into the shower at the beach the first thing you smell is sand that has been washed away and Happy Hour calling.  And the feeling of getting into the shower after a long day in the sun and washing off the sunscreen and beach breeze is just amazing.

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The shore is amazing to all senses.  I could listen to the crash of the ocean until it dried up.  I love to people watch on the beach.  The feeling of the sand between your toes or warm ocean water on your knees is magical.  I don’t really like to taste either of those… But being down the shore always seems to justify ice cream or cocktails – whichever suits you at that time.  I hope that for all of  you this is the beginning of a fabulous summer time that spikes joy out of all of your senses.

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Happy Memorial Day, Y’all

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Memorial Day weekend for me is filled with family members, cases upon cases of Corona, reading, country music and massive amounts of College Boys.  My parents rent a house down the shore and it’s over taken by my youngest brother’s college friends, high school friends, baseball friends, illegal friends, underaged friends, hungry friends, alcoholic friends, cute friends, vagabond friends, etc…

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My mother spends the majority of her vacation cooking for a revolving door of young men, half of whom are introduced to her as they enter the kitchen.  “Mom – you know (insert name here) from (insert the time in my brother’s life when he was last relevant.)  Can he have breakfast too?”

My father has assumed the vital role of beer supplier.  He brings down a car full of cases when they arrive and still spends each morning traveling to the nearest beer distributor to replenish the depleted supply.  Keeping a refrigerator stocked with beer in a house full of boys is like trying to keep your gas tank full during a road trip.  Literally impossible.

My parents do a decent job of staying out of the boy’s line of fire.  The master bedroom is usually upstairs along with the kitchen and the downstairs is transformed into a smelly, empty beer can filled, tank top infested frat house.  You’ll find plenty of empty Wawa bags, askew towels, sand, Bose speakers, etc.  What you won’t find is someone’s cell phone, someone else’s license, someone’s wallet, or someone’s keys – because every one of them has lost at least one item that is imperative to their trip.

If you make the silly decision to venture down, you’ll hear rumblings of stories that start with “Dude I was so blacked out last night” or “Uh, no, she is not good looking” or “Did I get tan today?” When they come upstairs it’s more like “Is there any food?”  or “Yo Dad, can I get the (insert something valuable that was lost here – keys, money, phone charger.)”

One thing is for sure – these kids are fun.  They are a lot of fun.  And they don’t judge me for always having a beer in my hand.  I may be retired but that doesn’t mean I can’t use “I’m on vacation” as a reasonable excuse to drink all day on the beach. My 21 year old brother lost his license almost immediately upon the arrival of Memorial Day weekend.  As a result, the college boys came out to the bar with my other brother and friend and me last night since we figured that by banding together we could sweet talk him into the bar.  Power in numbers.  Numbers of alcoholic beverages that had boosted our confidence.  But it worked.  And once inside it was great.  The College Boys knew everyone who walked by. The bar tender was someone’s little league basketball coach.  The shady guy at the end of the bar was someone’s sister’s high school boyfriend, the girl on the patio was someone’s prom date. The more you know the more drinks that are handed to you.  Well done, College Boys.

We made it in!

We made it in!

Maybe I give them a hard time for being lazy and smelly because I’m jealous.  I don’t have a revolving door of friends taking over my parents vacation home over the course of the weekend.  But that’s okay.  It’s great to watch and makes you feel so clean and pulled together.  Thank you College Boys – you sure know how to make a day off to salute our military awfully entertaining.