It is a typical warm and sunny Summer Sunday morning. My sister and are in the backseat of the maroon Ford that is so roomy, I think today's Smart Car could fit inside it. Mom is in the front seat, window down, arm resting on the door,her hand on the passenger side mirror, dad is at the wheel, elbow on the door, his hand on the car roof. The radio is on, playing Bobby Vinton's Blue Velvet.
The warm air is gusting around us in the car and our hair is blowing wildly, which we love because at our age we have no idea what a bad hair day is.
We approach the mile stretch of road, known as the causeway. This is the only way in and out of the small, quaint, peninsular town. Before I can see the ocean, the smell of the salt air fills the car and I know we are close. I push myself up to see out the window and there it is, that big ocean that wraps itself around this town. It is filled with the locals out on their boats. Although I try, I cannot see the water's edge because the Jersey barriers are blocking it from my view.
We pull into the driveway of our final destination, our grandparent's summer home. My uncle has already assumed his position on the farmer's porch, legs stretched out, sitting reading the Sunday paper, radio tuned in and ready to go for when the baseball game starts.
Inside is the rest of the family, whom we spend every Sunday with. Coffee is ready for the adults, donuts on the table and the conversation is flowing out onto the porch before we even open the door. My sister and I run past my uncle, who has folded down one side of the paper to say hello, up the side of the house where we can see if it is high tide or low tide. This will decide whether we get out the yellow rubber raft to row around in or our buckets to collect sand dollars.
As we reach the end of the porch the sea breeze greets us with its gentle hint of salt. A smell anyone who loves the beach knows. Above us the sea gulls are chirping away while they look for their Sunday breakfast.The tide is low so after we sit with the family, my sister and I will get our buckets and start our journey towards the ocean.
As we walk, we can see the waves gently rolling in as if they are coming to meet us half way. When we make our way to the edge, I stop and look across the water, take a deep breath in and fill my lungs with the relaxing sea air. Now I am ready to start my walk along the water's edge for that perfect sand dollar.