Do you ever count the days until vacation?
#chincoteaguerocks #susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting
This summer, we’re returning to Chincoteague, VA, for a family vacation for the first time in 3 years. 2017 was the last summer that made sense to me in some ways. It was my last year teaching and feeling like I “earned” the summer off. (My family and I struggle with relaxing). Ever since then, I’ve struggled with civilian life.
It’s a long drive- four hours one way with one stop. But you know, I think like a lot of people, I need a couple hours away from my house for vacation to begin the unwind. Leaving Frederick, heading East on I-70, seeing the first signs of salty air and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries around I-97 and Annapolis, and finally, getting on US 50-E, straight to the ocean… there’s nothing like it. Seeing how much of this looks like the US 50-E from my childhood trips to Ocean City. Sometimes, I’ll note landmarks aloud to Ben and the kids, but others I don’t. A few of my memories of watching the fields fly along US 50-E and studying the signs are for me and God.
In 2017, the kids were so young! 2 and 6. They are so cute in the picture of them in their booster and car seat. Harriet turned 7 the day we departed, so as per family tradition, we did our celebration at dinner that night.
Then my toddler son decided to wake up at 6 am on the first day of vacation! Excruciating. So we played with Harriet’s loud battery operated car on the screened in porch until sunrise. The toy car hideously played the theme song from Beverly Hills Cop or “duh, duh, duh, duh duh duh, duh!” Deep Hole community, we still owe you an apology! I can still hear that hideous tune and see the dark-as-night neighborhood around us at dawn. May he sleep until sunrise this year!
But Chincoteague is famous for its ponies, of course, as well as the wildlife, marshland, flora and fauna that comprise the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. So as our first full day got rolling, (aka the sun was actually up!)we drove into the refuge and beach area, I reassured my daughter of my Chincoteague rule: if you don’t see the ponies while we’re out on the refuge, there’s always the pony pen at the Chincoteague McDonalds! 50 cents for a handful of feed and to feel them nuzzle your palm for a second. But we saw them! And still paid our 50 cents and fed the McDonalds ones, too. Did I mention that like a lot of girls, my daughter loves horses?
Or the joy of watching my toddler son play with sand toys in bathing suit shorts that were so big they went to his knees! That first day that you all go to the beach together…the newness of it all for the kids, and for me, saying hello to it again like an old friend. Cue: Adele.I’ve made it. I cannot wait to see the Atlantic in person again this summer and say hello. And to do it from my favorite beach on Earth is a blessing. Who knows, maybe the wild ponies will come walking up the beach again like they did when I was a kid?
My husband, my kids, and me.