Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Smyrna Beach

I had NEVER heard of that location in my entire “put together”, but we went there, and had another wonderful vacation.

Let’s see……….what year was that? Since Molly has already told me she doesn’t mind my relating how old she is, I can mention that she was young enough to sit on the “console” in the front seat of the car, keeping me - and the other drivers - awake as we drove all night. Singing, mostly, I think. She couldn’t have been more than six years old.

(Turns out it was 1982 and she was 8 years old, and Bobby 11)

Not so fast!

I’d better tell how all this came about.

Sometime in the spring of whatever year it was, John and Tonya called us (they lived in Chicago then), and invited us to join them in a Florida vacation. Whew! We’d never done that before.

It seems that a family in Cleveland owned a Condo in New Smyrna Beach, Florida - right on the ocean - and they had invited John and Tonya to spend a week in it - free!

Maybe another reminder is in order: I’m going on memory, solely, and I could make some mistakes. As usual, I depend on the Lord to recall to my memory such things as I should include - often just as I’m writing something else. (Free Association, again.)

John, Tonya, Bobby and Molly flew to Cincinnati, we picked them up, and they stayed over night. Early the next morning, all six of us took off for Florida.

We drove south, getting to US 35 around Chillicothe, following it to Charleston, West Virginia, and then, the new, partially completed, I 77.

Anything south of Charleston on that route was relatively new area to us, and even at night, it was an enjoyable trip.

I can’t remember where we stopped to eat and/or “fill up”, so I can’t comment on that. I 77 stopped before we got to Florida, so we took another route south east, to get us to New Smyrna Beach.

We found the condo, unloaded the car, and made ourselves at home.

We found the beach pretty quickly, and in fact, since the beach near the water was hard, I drove the car onto it. Jean had warned me NOT to get the car stuck in the loose sand farther in. “Of course I won’t,” I said. So, Bobby and I drove around to the beach.

Near the water, the sand appeared as hard as it was farther down the coast at Daytona Beach - noted for the hard, wide beach with MANY cars on it.

So, after driving onto the beach, I headed the car inland just a little ways into the loose sand to park, and promptly GOT STUCK. The car wouldn’t move. My good “buddy” Bobby, remembering what Grandma had said, ran into the condo saying, “Grandpa got stuck. Grandpa got stuck.”

With a little help from bystanders, I got “unstuck”, and I moved the car back to the other side of the condo, and went inside.

Jean (Grandma) was waiting for me, seated on the floor just inside the door, glaring at me when I came in. Like saying, “What did I tell you?”, or something like that. But, since I DID get the car loose, all was forgiven, I think. We laughed.

Somebody got up in the middle of the night, and turned on the light in the kitchen. Scrambling across the sink and wash board were what seemed like a score of cockroaches - none of them small. Typical of beach-side condos, we were told.

When we got up the next morning, I dressed up like a “hippy” as much as I could. I combed my hair straight down in the front (I had some then), displayed a gold chain and fob around my neck, wore what I considered “hippy” clothes, and walked out to the patio where John and Tonya were seated. One look at me, and Tonya said, “NOOOOO!” My attire appeared to be not acceptable. All a joke, of course.

Besides the fun of the beach, we toured the area - both near and far. One day, when John and Tonya had to go south on business to a Moody Radio Station he was responsible for, Jean and I took Bobby and Molly north to St. Augustine, touring the various sights - including the Castillo de San Marcos National monument, and Potter’s Wax Museum et al. We toured around the Old City.

While we were at New Smyrna Beach, NASA launched a satellite rocket. And, though Cape Canaveral was maybe forty or fifty miles south of us, we could see it as it went up. Exciting.

We enjoyed our week at New Smyrna Beach, and other places in Florida. If I can remember some more, I’ll include it.

On the way back, we didn’t take the Interstate the whole distance. We went through the state of Georgia on a state route. I remember that while on that route, I heard Randy Travis sing for the first time, and I think the song was titled, “The Old School”.

Also in Georgia, I remember that I went into a small general store and gas station, looking for, I think, a pair of sun glasses. While in there, the proprietor said, “Do you like Pac Man, Sir?” I looked rather indignant thinking he shouldn’t ask an adult about a kid’s game, until I realized that I was wearing a ball cap with “Pac Man” embroidered on the front. Embarrassing! (We HAD played Pac Man with the grandkids.)

What a wonderful time we all had!

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