Ah, Labor Day, USA! Americans live for their well deserved few vacation holidays. This national holiday stands out as one of the very important ones. Why would anyone want to stop the enjoyment of the summer long bliss of leisure activities, of the day trips to weekend summer destinations, and of the family get-a-ways to lake and ocean front cottages and motels? The family beach day stands out as the one summer event that brings the season’s best elements together.
Taking the organization of the day at the beach as a family event, lots go into the plan to make an enjoyble mission. The chief architect is “the Mom”. Labor Day is bitter sweet. As I sit on my low folding beachchair, with toes in the sand, my eyes take in the families of different numbers. They haul cooler, shovels and pails, wagons, blankets, towels, bags of suntan lotions and potato chips. The ocean front designs may be haphazard or militaristic, but always coordinated by the Mom. With the red, white, blue, yellow and green beach umbrella firmly staked in the center, the ritual of sprays, creams and lotions are applied to each little appendage, face and back, that only a Mom can control. The Life-Guard Stand, manned by those college kids itching to return to the dorms and another fun fall semester, stand ready for the day’s actions, whistle in hand. But the stealth lazer vision of the matriarch on each beach blanket scans the water’s edge and all is well.
The End of the Season
Across the parking lot the food shops and beachtoy stores show the weathered dull painted shutters from another successful summer season. The fresh royal blue and white coats of paint will wait until next May. Yet, the business is brisk. The hotdogs and lemonade, the inflatable inner tubes and the season’s final sales, implore moms to open the purse and send the little ones scurrying to the boardwalk.
Yes, it is bitter sweet, as the water is the warmest; the sun stays high and the coppertone scent waifs from the ajoining towel. The moms knows that it has come to an end. The tatered canvas chair will be gently placed against the dumpster. Those pesky seagulls will have the run of the roost, picking through the trash barrels un-contested. Not much is left for them, as the last tunafish sandwiches are long gone. Sadly, Flipflop Heaven has welcomed the many orphans through its pearly gates. But, as the tide comes in, hope springs eternal. The sandy shoreline welcomes the little sanddollars, clam shells, rouge horseshoe crab and glistening pebbles for the family to discover for the next summer season. Another day at the beach will be led by mom.
Megan M., Barnstable, Ma. Watchful eye