The trusted Coastal Point calendar hanging on my wall tells me that we have indeed crossed into another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.
And fanny packs. Lots and lots of fanny packs.
No, it’s not the Twilight Zone of which I speak. We have officially crossed the breach known as Memorial Day weekend, which, as we all know, means thousands of vacationers hitting our beaches, roads, shops and restaurants — while locals alternate between hibernating in their homes and working 146 hours a week to meet the growing needs.
It’s been called the “summer season,” the “silly season,” “money season” and the “road-rage season.” To be honest, there isn’t any other time of the year, with the possible exception of Christmas, that makes me feel more conflicted.
On one hand, I love summer. I love sitting outside at a campground with a cold beer and good friends, taking a walk around the neighborhood at 9 p.m. with my dogs and watching my daughter shake off months of being largely-relegated to indoor confinement. And, since I judge so much of my happiness based on food, there isn’t a whole lot better than cooking meat over fire, watching steam rise out of a pot filled with crabs, sinking your teeth into delicious sweet corn or filling clear plastic bags with locally-grown produce.
On the other hand, well, I have to enjoy a lot of the summer weather through the view of my office window, it gets a little more difficult to get a table at our favorite restaurants and I just never quite got around to transforming my body into prime beach shape. In fact, putting on a bathing suit at this particular time makes me look like a handful of runny scrambled eggs with a tight rubber band around the middle...
But I digress.
If you’re still reading after I planted that winning mental imagery in your head, thank you. I know it isn’t easy, and I promise to not go down that road again. Today.
Regardless, this is the time of the year that I traditionally pen a column on my personal summer resolutions. Actually, the word “resolution” comes with the implication of somebody being, you know, “resolved.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have a fierce determination to accomplish everything on this list, but these are some things I would like to see happen.
• I resolve to enjoy Memorial Day weekend for what it means as a landmark in our local calendar — the weekend when our busy summer season kicks off, and the start of summer fun.
There have been too many years when I have groused about people not having the respect to honor those brave men and women who gave their lives in support of this nation, and it took me a long time to truly realize you can have both — and I ask all of you to do the same.
Take a moment to really reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, as well as their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Think of those heartbroken mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, siblings and friends who had the rest of their lives affected by those losses. Pay them the honor and respect they deserve.
But get out and enjoy a barbecue with those you love or sit on a sun-soaked beach. Take an early-morning walk at James Farm or get out on a boat and drop a baited hook into the water. Those men and women sacrificed themselves with the idea that they were providing a safe place for Americans to do just that.
• I resolve to spend as much time in the pool with my daughter this year that I can. She loves it. There aren’t many things that bring her as much joy as playing in the pool, and there is nothing that brings me as much joy as watching her have fun.
• I resolve to team up with Shaun Lambert and beat the stuffing out of Emily Harne and Sarah Hoban in cornhole this summer. Yes, this has been on my list for several years. Yes, it has always ended with Emily and Sarah gloating as we fall short. But that won’t change if we stop trying, right?
• I resolve to find balance this summer. It’s easy to come home from a long day of work and melt into a couch. It’s just as easy to put on my big-boy pants and realize that there are always a couple of hours to be found to do something more intensive than reaching for a remote control.
• I resolve to eat a lot of grilled, smoked and steamed food this summer. The powers-that-be in Las Vegas would list this resolution as the odds-on favorite.
• I resolve to spend less time staring at my cell phone this summer and more time... just not staring at my cell phone. It’s wonderful how easy it is to connect with people at a moment’s notice nowadays, but sometimes you just don’t want to be connected.
• I resolve to get out on a boat with the Long family this summer. Now that they have a little more free time, let’s make this happen.