Growing up, my family and I spent our summer vacations on Santa Rosa Island (Pensacola Beach, Florida) The sugar white sands and warm gulf are equated with fun family memories and soothing relaxation. Every year we stayed at the same motel, usually in the same room. It was not uncommon for the owner to call if reservations had not been made by a certain date. The accommodations bordered on spartan. The building was concrete block and there was a gap at the bottom of the door that sand was always blowing through. It was PERFECT! As far as I am concerned, I am there for the beach and water not much of anything else. Give me a place to sleep and easy access to those dunes and all is good.
The memories of those trips are priceless. My Mother always packed a big straw bag with a thermos of coffee (served in a solo coffee cup cozy), a few snack crackers, the travel Atlas and baggies filled with wet washcloths. We always drove...14 hours spread over two days. The first day would find us spending the night in Hattiesburg, and driving the rest of the way the next. Gotta love the Bankhead Tunnel in Mobile! One year, Mother read Jaws aloud on the trip...yikes!! My sister and I would sit in the back seat with an invisible line drawn down the middle of the seat and beach towels hooked on the windows to block the sun.
The back of the car was always jammed full of luggage, coolers and sacks of groceries. No fast food runs. Instead, we would stop at rest stops along the way and feast on vienna sausages, mini cans of beanie weanie, chips, and ice cold Dad's Root Beer or grape soda. Breakfast and lunch once there was mini cereal boxes with milk and sandwiches from foods kept in the cooler in the room. Dinner out was a treat and was wonderful.
On one of the very first trips we made, a song came on the radio which embodied the spirit of the renewal these trips provided. From that point on, this song was the soundtrack of our summers. When I hear it, I am immediately transported back in time and am crossing the bridge to the island with my family.
Ahhhhh...sun, sand and at least one son with me (wish it was all three)...I can see clearly now!