I love going to the beach. To me, itís the ultimate summer trip. I really love the actual going. Locking the front door. Climbing into the loaded car. Backing out of the driveway. Going! Itís getting ready to go to the beach thatís the challenge. Fun, but a challenge.
Last week our family, three generations of Hills Ė parents, children and grands (14 people) and five lively dogs headed for Edisto Beach. Also packed were a seeming ton of culinary staples and various other sundries, including 240, 18 oz red plastic cups, 72 rolls of jumbo toilet tissue and three dozen mega rolls of paper towels. Also included in the entourage were three bicycles, a canoe, a kayak, scooters and a golf cart. We also brought all our sheets and towels, enough cleaning products to put a shine on the whole island, a brigade of beach accoutrements as well as most of the ingredients for each nightly dinner tour de force.
We all brought our favorite breakfast and lunch items and shared those. Each night a different family made one of their favorite recipe dinners. We ate as much seafood as possible, including fresh caught shrimp and crab which are so delicious this season. Dinner entrees included shrimp cakes, crab lasagna, a Greek appetizer dinner and the requested dishes I brought Ė homemade potato salad and a bathtub sized container of deviled ham spread.
Our house, two blocks from the beach, sat on a tidal marsh facing west so we had spectacular sunsets each night. The main room had four sets of full-length glass doors extending the view inside and opening onto a well fanned screened porch. We spent much time out there. In addition, our Georgia nieces and nephews got a nearby home and we shared activities. This group was also three generations, but beat our attendance total by several people.
One of the best blessings of this beach trip was the opportunity to have one-on-ones with just about everybody there. Lunch with a daughter. Shopping with another one. Porch rocking with a son. Sitting on the front steps with a grandchild. Cooking with a niece and nephew. Chatting with a daughter-in-law and cleaning up the kitchen with a son-in-law. Catching up with everybody.
It is simply not possible to spend seven days and nights in a beautiful place, with stunning scenery Ė including the Atlantic Ocean Ė without succumbing to the tranquility of a quiet and easy going lifestyle. We spent time perusing the gift shops, eating the occasional lunch out, and watching grandchildren enjoy the sand and surf. One of Jimís best moments was the invitation by our two teenaged grandsons to ride along in a golf cart while they played 18 holes. My delight was standing by my three-year-old grandson as he spotted the American flag and unbidden, broke into a perfect rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.
There was also plenty of personal time. Some of us read. Others plied computers. One daughter and I watched episodes of the British drama, Downton Abbey, after everybody else went to bed. On the way back to Summerville we decided that if we could spend the whole week under one roof with all that family, we all must be doing something right.