This spur of the moment trip was two months in the planning. There were two pieces of luggage, five canvas bags, three overnight stays en route, anti nausea medicine, coloring books, sticker books, and Jack's favorite, books on CD, but no movies. Three days down, two days back, and hours and hours of Frances, Paddington Bear, Madeline, Frog and Toad and Jack's personal favorite, Wiggleworms, "if all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops...".
This crazed spring break'er now walks to the beach with a bag over his shoulder large enough to pass as luggage on most European trains. This is a man carrying a beach umbrella, four towels, two sand buckets, two shell scooping nets, assorted digging utensils, two pairs of goggles, 17 varieties of sun block, two boxes of raisins, numerous crackers, extra sunglasses, sandals, two swimming shirts, and one soccer ball, but not one Bud Light. Please, he's matured, he now buys Sam Adams from the tiki hut, along with two virgin strawberry daiquiris, "umbrellas, yes please".
This slap in the face was tempered only by the discovery of the DBs, two dads similar in age, both receding at the hairline, dressed in alma mater visors and brightly colored flowered long shorts. One wore a shirt that said "You haven't been pucked until you've been Fudpucked", the other, quite simply, "I Like Beer". Standing for hours, feet in the water, they stood smoking and drinking who knows what from large plastic Fudpuck cups, seemingly oblivious to the family swirling about their feet. Able to crack their secret code, Jack and I watched as they nodded and grinned like 12 year old boys each time a pack of young bikini clad spring break girls walked past, ignoring them completely. The DBs, having spent the last twenty years perfecting the Cool Dude on the Beach High Five, raised their non plastic cup holding hands to slap each other high, celebrating, we can only imagine, their not being arrested for leering.
The college dudes appeared each day just as we were just packing to leave the beach, five of them, in various stages of recovery from whatever bus may have hit them the night before. Chairs lined up, save the one guy who never got a chair, ready to whistle at whatever young female form crossed their path. Whistle, yes, they did, painfully they whistled, most of them too dried up to make much sound. Thankfully by 2:00, when they surfaced, they were ready to start the process once again, and so dragged with them an enormous cooler full of Miller Lite, but apparently not one bottle of sunblock. What appeared on Day Two was not simply five hungover soon to be suburban dads, but five bright red and crispy versions of what appeared the day before, alma matter visors and common sense clearly distributed at graduation and not a minute before. From the shelter of his bright blue beach umbrella Jack smiled, whistling along, "if all of the snowflakes were candy bars and milkshakes...".
Confident that he is happy to have traded the 17 friends in the Volkswagon for the three of us and our well stocked family car, we head to the beach for spring break. Although next year he might want to be more suitably attired, that "I Like Beer" t-shirt might be just the thing for Father's Day.
This is an original Chicago Moms Blog Post. Ally also writes northsidefour.blogspot.com and contributes to Chicago Now.