Oh, man. I had really forgotten how great it could all be, all this life and living.
But, last week, the day before Father’s Day, I loaded my 3 year old daughter Violet into the Honda and we headed out on the open road, just the two of us, for the first time ever.
We were bound for New Jersey, to the beach where my relatives had invited us to come and stay for a spell. My wife Monica had a serious eye infection and so, at the last minute, she decided that she had better stay home with our 1 year old son.
But, I had been building it all up to my daughter for so long now ( it had been months since we begun making our plans, talking about seashells and the beach and the waves) that I knew there was absolutely no way that I could or would let her down.
We were going!
Down the shore!
A daddy and daughter trip for the ages, y’all!
And jeez, it had been so long since I headed down to the Jersey Shore, just me and a cute girl, that I had completely forgotten how life-affirming it can actually be. When you first roll off the turnpike, out of the dense hot Pine Barrens, and you whiff that fresh saltwater air rising up off the back bays besides the Parkway, something wild and savagely good happens to your guts.
You feel insanely alive. You feel woken up after a very long strange dream. Electricity jams it’s currents through your veins and makes your heart throttle and you know that within like thirty minutes: you and the little lady will be toe-deep in the sand, standing in the ocean’s cool spray.
If you’ve never been “down the shore,” if you’ve never sat in the miles of gridlock creeping along through Philly and then rolling ever so slowly off the exits for Atlantic City, or Ocean City, or Sea Isle, Avalon, Cape May, or wherever, then you might not know the particular sort of thrill I’m trying to describe here.
But if you have ever been, if you know those places, and that feeling of Friday night traffic leading you to those beach towns, well. Then you know exactly what me and the kid were feeling when came cruising across that first bridge, the radio blasting Jackie Wilson and Fats Domino, the sunshine glinting off the water and the boats as if the whole world was just a big old diamond ring; just me and my honorary “Jersey Girl.”
We had such a fabulous time together.
I hope you dig our pictures…
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