a day at the beach

Last week my Okole Po'o G and I went to the beach. On a Thursday. Because we could. (Both of us waiting for our new jobs to start.) And it was just like old times.

We've been going to the beaches together for over 20 years. We love the ocean, but have a special place in our hearts for lakes. We grew up in a smallish town near several beautiful lakes. One in particular served as our home base for many hot summers.

Her parents owned a sail boat, so she grew up on the water and at the marina. My family would spend many summer days at the other beach, from sunrise to sunset (breakfast on a grill is divine!), not leaving til the park rangers finally closed things up.

When we met in high school we would go to the lake our friends for a day of baking in the hot valley sun. Now and then we'd swim out to "the Green Thing" or to the ropes, but mostly we just laid in the sun and read and napped and watched lifeguards. The fragrance of Coppertone sunscreen (for me) and coco butter tanning oil (for her) would mingle with the scent of barbecues and the snack bar fryer to create this intoxicating aroma that just said SUMMER to me.

As we transitioned from high school to the local community college, our adventures broadened. We go sailing with her folks. We tried sailboarding a few times, but didn't manage to do much other than write a goofy song. We camped at one of the lake campgrounds. We kept "beach bags" in our car with all our supplies, so that we could head to the lake at a moments notice. And one year we got jobs in the marina store and the snack bar.

That was a great summer! In the morning we would drive her little baby blue Kharmann Gia the long, twisty road to the lake, singing along with the oldies station. We'd work and oggle the sailors or lifeguards. At lunch we'd lounge and swim. At the end of the day, we'd drive the twisty road all the way out to the community college theater where we were both doing summerstock. We'd stay up way too late running lines, sewing costumes, building sets, and setting up sound and lights -- geeking out with our dorky theater friends. We'd finish most days up at a Denny's. Moons over my Hammy, baby!

The whole summer was a blur of sunscreen and Shakespeare and friendship. That great feeling of weightlessness before the trials of adulthood descended. The closest I ever came to the surf lifestyle.

So last week, it felt perfect to lay next to my friend on a blanket in the sun. Credence played on the little radio. We slathered ourselves in sunscreen and tanning oil. We ate chips and talked about boys. We took naps and read, the scent of barbecue wafting over us...

I could feel the ghosts of summers past, in that lovely afternoon with my friend. Perfect.

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