Once upon a time, a little family went to the beach....
Actually, let's start over with the real beginning to this tale. The day prior to our beach trip, my washing machine broke. No amount of cajoling, threatening, crying or manual-reading could bring it back to life.
But by a great stroke of luck, a repairman was found and managed to fix the thing that afternoon. And while we were waiting, my mother-in-law washed several loads of pre-trip laundry for me.
Thank GOD. Who wants to go on a vacation with dirty clothes, right? Especially when you have two messy kids. And you're headed to a beach house with a coin-operated washer in the basement of the building.
At any rate, we had no more mishaps along the way to Pensacola Beach, and we actually arrived in good spirits. As we coasted over the bridge to the island, we all gazed at beautiful white sand and turquoise water. And I sighed happily, since I remember a similar sight from all the years that I spent going to Florida beaches as a kid. Don't we all love the places where we spent our childhoods the most? And the beaches in this part of Florida really are gorgeous; the only beaches I've visited that are more beautiful are in Maui.
But mindful of Murphy's Law, I couldn't quite relax at first. I told myself that even though we had weathered the great washing machine debacle, there were still plenty of things that could go wrong. And sure enough, we ventured out to the sand on Sunday morning....to hear that jellyfish had been spotted in the water and on shore. Lovely. I was just waiting for my husband to shake his head sadly and note that he'd never once encountered a jellyfish on his favorite beach.
Then there was the wildfire. Apparently, a fire started in the state park in Gulf Shores to our west, and when the wind shifted, we got a steady breeze of smoke-scented air.
It was quite the trifecta of bad things happening. Dirty clothes, jellyfish and smoky air. All we needed was a hurricane or at least a solid tropical storm, and we'd probably never return to a Florida beach again.
Luckily, the wind shifted, and the smoke went away. And the jellyfish slithered back into the deep. The rest of the trip was blissfully uneventful. Uneventful in a good way, that is. The weather was gorgeous. We enjoyed being with our good friends, the Tarkingtons. William jumped waves and built sand castles and played with his friend Sammy. Andrew wasn't so much a fan of the beach, but then we discovered that he loved the swimming pool, so we spent a lot of time there. William developed enough confidence to swim by himself in the pool, with the aid of his inflatable Spider-Man vest. We even drove over to Destin one morning, while I reminisced along the way about all the various places I'd stayed, growing up. We (David, William and I) got to eat lots of shrimp.
And by the end of the week, Andrew was even enjoying the beach, too.
Oh yes, and we finally got to play some miniature golf. In typical fashion, William objected when we announced the first annual David Wyckoff Memorial tournament would be played. Having never played putt putt, he assumed he'd be bad at it, and he doesn't like to do anything if he's not pretty sure he'll be good at it.
Well, it wasn't so much that he was good at putt putt, but he got hooked anyway after the first hole. He put on his game face and enthusiastically plowed through the remaining 17 holes.
And what's a rousing tournament of no-score putt putt without a ceremonial picture atop the giant fake crocodile?
And we returned safely home, where I'm unpacking and doing laundry in our fully-functioning washing machine. Success.