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Welcome to Hoopie Beach

21 Feb

I am only gone for 10 minutes. But in the time it takes me to drive to my sister’s house and back to get the beach towels, all hell has broken loose.

“Daddy! Look at me!” my daughter cries out from the shore line, where she is sitting, fully clothed, in the sub-60-degree waters of the Gulf of Mexico. “I’m peeing in the ocean!”

“Welcome to Hoopie Beach,” says my sister, resigned to the fact she and my wife have completely lost control of the situation. Just then her 2-year-old daughter scampers past us down the beach, sans underwear. I look over to see my son, still soaking-wet from falling into the water, teeth chattering, as he sits in the sand munching on a sand-covered apple slice.

Yeah, this was a great idea.

I’ve never been much of a beach person. When I was 5-years-old, my family and I went to Cocoa Beach in Florida during a Disneyland vacation, and on our first day there the tops of my feet got badly sunburned. For the rest of the week I set up camp underneath a beach umbrella, wearing a hat, t-shirt, and socks, while the rest of my family jumped and frolicked around in the surf.

Strike one.

A few years later, I was playing in the shallow waters of Ocean City, Md., when I started having a rather uncomfortable pinching feeling in a certain unmentionable area. It felt like I had fire ants in my bathing suit. The culprit: sea lice. All I remember is darting back to the hotel and jumping into a hot shower as I tried to rid myself of the tiny, crotch-invading critters.

Strike two.

By the time I’d reached college, I’d pretty much had it with the beach. I still went on spring break, but while there I spent most of the time inside a beach tent, a large cup of Dunkin Donuts and a USA Today in hand. (I was a real party animal.) The one time I dared venture out of my shelter – a mere half hour to toss the Frisbee around with my friend – I ended up getting sun poisoning so bad that the skin on my chest looked like crust bubbles on a pepperoni pizza.

Strike three—I’m out.

So when my wife and my sister suggest we take the kids down to the beach for the afternoon, I am, of course, less than enthusiastic. But then I figure, it’s the middle of winter, so the sun shouldn’t be too intense. Plus, the water’s so cold that we won’t have to worry about anyone actually going in. Then, five minutes after we get there, my son runs down to the water and falls, fully clothed, into the frigid, salty Gulf. And since we forgot to bring any towels with us, I have to make a run back to the house.

And that brings us back again to Hoopie Beach.

We stick around for another 45 minutes or so, three adults chasing after four very wet, sticky, sandy kids, as the other beach-goers glare at us disapprovingly. Meanwhile, the powdery white sand is finding its way into our lives forever, thanks in part to my son, who still thinks all things are either meant to be eaten or thrown.

Or both.

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5 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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5 responses to “Welcome to Hoopie Beach

  1. m e

    February 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Hope u have/know the secret of baby powder? Gets the sand off sticky persons… (and also, I share your disdain for the beach!)

     
  2. Paula

    February 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I hate salt water. Notta fan of sand. Beaches are pretty only in photos. I’ll take the mountains over the beach any day! But, this was by far your best story ever! Thanks for the laughs. 🙂

     
  3. Goldie

    February 21, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Chances are, with your aversion to sand, your children will grow up to be professional beach volleyballers, sand sculptors or surfer dudes. Life’s funny that way.

     
  4. dobeman

    February 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Grew up near the beach…could take it or leave it now. But I totally feel you. The crazy thing is, we pay thousands of dollars to hang out “at” the beach and end up spending most of our time in the pool. WTH?

     
  5. vynncredible

    February 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    That reminds me of the first time we took out daughter to the beach. She was 1 year old sitting on a beach towel. Reached down and grabbed a fistful of sand, looked at it very studiously then stuck it in her mouth before we knew it! We immediately started removing it but laughed at disbelief. You never know what kids are gonna do next.

     

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