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Who Forgot to Bring the Pack Mule

    I've discovered, recently, that people get to the beach in a variety of ways.  Some take shuttles, some walk foot-trails through the mangrove and others step right out their door to the sandy shores. Our path to the beach, this summer, included a double digit number of stairs that led us to the water's edge.  Navigating this staircase would take some pre-planning and possibly some beta blockers to ensure I made it back from the beach alive.

    At ten years of age, I would dart out that door to the beach with nothing but a bathing suit and a child-like excitement about what the day held in store.  In my 20's, I would grab some sunscreen and a cool beverage as I began my trek to the beach.  At 47, it's just not that simple anymore. I came to this great realization when I discovered that I had wedged myself between the front door and the staircase with a six foot raft and a foam boogie board.  One hand held an ipod dock, a bottle of sunscreen and the raft.  The other hand held a freshly made pina colada, a fluffy towel straight out of the dryer and my cell phone. A large bag full of snorkels, masks, chips, water shoes and enough medical supplies to perform surgery on the beach, hung from one shoulder.  One wrong move and it would all come tumbling down.  If I turned to open the door, the front of the raft blocked my exit. If I turned the opposite direction, the staircase caught the back of the raft and once again, my path of egress was blocked.  It was a vicious circle I had found myself in and there was no getting out until one of my kids flew through the door, breaking the raft free of its bonds, allowing me to leave without pouring a perfectly chilled coconut beverage all over myself.   It didn't help that I held my car keys in my mouth and was unable to yell for help. 

    Eventually, I did break free and made my way down the 57 wooden steps to the sea.  I'm certain I looked like some kind of peddler toting enough goods to set up a small convenience store on the beach.   Families rolled in with tents and coolers and wagons full of children all ready for a full day on the shore.  I sensed them eyeing my clever drink with frosty goodness and a tiny umbrella, knowing that the closest pool bar was twenty miles away.   Jimmy Buffett sang to me from my i-dock, the kids were slathered in SPF 30 titanium dioxide, and I settled back on my April Fresh fluffy towel to sip my drink and watch the kids.  I looked around at the small villages that we, as parents, had established on the beach to properly care for all the needs of our families and had to wonder who forgot to bring the pack mule.  Getting back up those steps of death would require assistance from a pack animal or a team of cardiologists.  I took comfort in my drink and left that worry for the day's end.  I was on the beach where worries disappear.   


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