Pack the car. Grab your AAA trip-tic travel planner (or program the GPS). Buckle up the kids and grandma. Or catch a flight to sun-drenched delight. Destination Myrtle Beach.
It’s well-known that residents of Ohio adore this South Carolinian beach. Look for Ohio license plates and OSU bumper stickers as you cross the state line. Shouting “O-H” and waiting for an “I-O” is common when you come across the Buckeye crowd in hotels, and restaurants, souvenir shops. And if you see four people standing with arms in peculiar positions—they’re spelling “O-H-I-O.”
Many past summers, I’ve also visited this touristy hotspot. USA Today (2015) named Myrtle Beach as the third best kid-friendly destination in the U.S. www.usatoday.com/. That’s mucho fun for the little nose-pickers! Although there’s lots to do, the beach is my main attraction.
But things are a-changin’. You can view the beach from afar with the Myrtle Beach webcams or the EarthCam. New attractions. More entertainment and exhibit venues. Novel festivals and events.
I close my eyes and turn back the pages of my memory album. Go with me.
Traveling memories with childhood friends illuminate my cortex. Tromping on the boardwalk while carrying coolers, chairs, umbrellas, hats, sunscreen, buckets and shovels, blankets, and giant towels is part and parcel. Excitement sizzles.
Breathe deeply and smell the salty air. See the flowing ocean waves tumbling to shore. Feel the sun beating down on the gritty sand. Coconut oil mingles with tropical scents of an array of lotions. Like glue, sand sticks to my giant flowered towel and my toes. Ice cubes in my tea melt too quickly. Take a dip in nature’s swimming pool and jump the waves with abandonment and experience sheer sensory pleasure.
Like an assortment of ice cream flavors, tourists of all shapes and sizes stroll by. Lovers hold hands. Teens toss a variety of balls. Both young and old men eyeball women in skimpy apparel. The tide rolls in and out, oblivious to the blankets, chairs, and sand buckets. People scurry to grab their stuff from the gobbling oceanic undercurrent.
Beach memories with my daughter make me smile. I see her digging holes in the pasty sand soup and prancing in the foamy breakers. With each shell she picks up, she squeals. Her pink and black polka dot swimsuit drips with water. She scrunches her face as I reapply globs of sunscreen. Sitting under the umbrella, I listen to the laughter of children playing in the sand and surf. They giggle and wiggle as if caught in a time warp.
Ah! The fresh seafood buffets with Alaskan snow crabs, oyster stew, steamed shrimp, and baked flounder tempt the taste buds. Yum!
New beach memories at the same old beach are made with grandchildren, the family pet, and cousins. Traditions bond a family together. Ignore the whining teens.
I want to stop the sand from flowing downwards in the hourglass. Back to Ohio. I close my memory album and open my eyes.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.