I had an ice cream sandwich for lunch Friday. Or maybe it was more like an appetizer since I ate a Chick-fil-A sandwich mid-afternoon. I live differently when I’m here at the beach. It’s where I come to get away from my other life, the one with schedules and deadlines and demands. At the strand, I try to leave as much of that behind as possible, especially when it comes to behavior and attire.

My behavior doesn’t change drastically here at the beach. I don’t turn into some wild child who frequents clubs and bars. Nope. I’m the same old Jayne, just Jayne without the constraints of home. If I want to go shopping at the Myrtle Beach Wal-Mart at midnight, I will (and have). It’s an amazing place at that time of day/night. If I want to read at 11:00 in the morning, I will. For some reason, reading just for fun is something I see as sort of a guilty little pleasure when I’m in my “other life,” and I usually restrict times for fiction reading to early in the morning or late at night. Maybe it’s because I’m always in motion, always taking care of business.

I dress a bit differently too. Since any and everyone reading this probably does the same thing, there’s no need to elaborate on this. And yet, here’s one little thing. I’ve seen more exposed body parts on the beach that I ever cared to see. You know what I’m saying, right? Sometimes a person wants to yell, “Hey, cover that up, will ya?” But it’s fine. It’s really fine. Once a person crosses the line between sea oats and sand, it’s anything goes (almost). Most days I’ll don a bathing suit and hat, and at the last minute I’ll throw on a cover up. It stays on until I cross the line and then stays in my bag until I get ready to cross it again.

One of the things I’ve noticed this weekend is an increase in the number of families on the beach. Grandparents, parents, teens, and little ones are ubiquitous up and down the strand (had to use that word for Carol). Some are under tents and umbrellas, and others are right by the water. What they all seem to have in common is enjoyment of each other’s company for one last bit of fun in the sun. Seeing their smiles and hearing snippets of their conversations and laughter makes me happy and sad at the same time. Wish my grandchildren could’ve come.

Quick story. When I was reading Friday morning, I felt someone’s presence nearby, and when I looked up, there stood an adorable 15 month old little girl staring at me. Her mother and grandfather were chatting closeby. When I looked at her pretty little face and said, “Good morning, Sweetie,” she smiled adorably, pointed to my book, and said, “Buh.” She had blond hair and blue eyes, and I found myself thinking that Olivia would be about her size next summer. Will she be toddling along in a yellow bathing suit pointing at books and starting conversations with people on the beach while her parents hover behind her? Hope so.

Time to head to the beach for one last walk before getting together with Mike and Lisa. Hmmm. What book should I take this morning?

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