Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spring Break

They're not just for kids and college students. They're good for entire families and we enjoyed a mini one, of sorts, this week when friends visiting from New Jersey invited us to spend a few days with them at the house they rented on a quiet little nearby island.

Even though we live on the coast, I've never been much of a beach person. I practically lived on the beach as a child; my mother, an avid beach-combing shell collector, would take us out to spend long days on the sandy local strands. Sometime we'd all go out camping as a family; one summer our very thrifty father brought an old hearse to haul his growing brood around in. That went over well.

One of my strongest childhood beach memories was of the day my dad took us to see Robert Harrill, the Fort Fisher Hermit, who turned his back on civilization to spend 17 years squatting in a bunker on Carolina Beach. I couldn't have been more than three years of age, but I can still remember looking in awe at him, standing there in his tattered cutoff jeans and trademark frayed straw hat. Harrill was quite the tourist attraction and attracted so many visitors that in reality this "hermit" probably had more of a social life than many people in suburbia enjoy. After he died in 1972, it was rumored that his death had been the result of foul play.

Yes, those trips were memorable. But time has changed the local beaches. Most are so commercialized or restricted that parking and access is limited, and going there results in more headaches than fun. But the island, which has resisted the kind of growth that has infected surrounding beaches, reminded me of how the beaches used to be, and it was really nice to watch my children play and enjoy themselves like I used to. I think that we'll spending more time on the island this summer. For now, here are some other picture from our adventure. Hope you enjoy them!

I went out at dawn one morning and saw a crab in the surf. I was just about to get a picture of it when a wave washed it out into the ocean. I was disappointed but then, to my delight, saw another crab wash up about a hundred yards away. I rushed over and the same thing happened three more times! Every time I got close the crab in my sites would get washed away and a another one would pop up down the beach, forcing me to rush to set up the shot. Then about half a mile I realized it was the same flippin' crab. Oh well, at least I finally got some pictures. This one's my favorite, even though the surf is blurred it looks way cool the way the foam is washing over him.

Here's Alex peering out of a hole in a shell she found while beach combing. We gathered enough shells that we may never come up with enough craft projects to use them all.

Lucas hugs John, ignoring the clear message of big brother's "I Hate Cuddling" t-shirt.

Gratuitous shot of kids' feet in the sand. If you don't have kids you probably don't understand the parental drive to take such pictures. Left to right: Lucas, Beth, Alex and John.

I took a lot of close-up shots of shells. The one at the top of the page is my favorite for presentation, but this one is close seconds because of my fondness for mermaids' purses.


Anonymous said...

Lovely shots. The one at the top looks like something out of a magazine. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.
I'm glad to see you post something I can comment on. I didn't have anything to say about the Tourette's post. Having a disability myself makes me a bit sensitive to seeing anyone poke fun at a condition no one would wish on their worst enemy.
God Bless You,

Morgan said...

Margaret, I pick on everyone. If it makes you feel any better, John has Tourettes, which is a nice complement to his autism. It only comes out when he's upset and then he'll say things like "I said 'Quiet,' monkey!" or "Game over!"
We know people who medicate kids with Ritalin or whatever to blunt the effect of the Tourettes but it's just part of who John is and seeing how it provides him an outlet I can't see doping him up so other people will feel more comfortable, especially since it's not so severe that it interrupts his day-to-day life.

And it may seem insensitive, but we often find humor in both John's autistic behaviors and his tics.
Why? Because just as quirks in a non-retarded person are humorous, they're also funny in a retarded person. I have a brilliant friend with Asperger's who spends ours in the fall in the field behind her house snapping seed heads off of the tall weeds. She told me her neighbors think it's funny as hell and has to admit that if she were in their shoes she probably would, too.

But feel free to disagree if you wish but let's remain friends, at least until I get around to picking on people with anxiety disorders.

thimscool said...

Wooobuya, I wish I was there. My favorite is the pic of John and Lucas. That is simply classic. You can really see the love in your house.

I like the crabby exercise plan, too.

Speaking of crabs, what were the eats like?

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to come across like I was condemning you. I sometimes take things too seriously I guess. I suppose there is a difference between maliciously making fun of something and seeing the humor in it. When I think about it, maybe watching scary movies by myself while being too afraid to go to the grocery store could be seen as absurd enough to be funny. So no I don't think you're bad to poke fun, even at John. Luke is right that the love in your family is obvious and that's really all that counts, after all is said and done.
God Bless You,

Morgan said...

No problem, Margaret. I would never go up to someone and make fun of their disability just to hurt them, and when we rib John about things (and we do) it's always in fun. As odd as it sounds, our joshing with him lessens the detachment that comes with his autism. We pick on each other, so why not on him? He knows we love him. And you know I love you, even if I say things that seem off the wall or insensitive.

Luke, thanks for your nice comments. Yes, the island was lovely and there are several good crab places, but we didn't eat but one seafood meal while we were there. The other times we got take-out pizza, cooked or went into town so we could treat our friends at our favorite restaurant.

CJ said...

That sunrise shot is really sweet. I'm jealous. You were lucky the weather was so nice. Renting a beach house at the tail end of the off season is the way to go...less crowds, nice temperatures. Glad you had fun, doll.

Morgan said...

Thanks, CJ! It's been hard after those nice warm days on island to come home and face the double-whammy of a forecasted freeze and chores. Oh well, back to reality. *sniff*

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter, Morgan!
God Bless You,

El Borak said...

I very happy Easter to you and yours, Morgan.

Swallow said...

I love your photos!