It has taken me a little longer than I prefer to get this posted from July, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
This year’s vacation was very much needed after the death of my brother. He suffered and we all suffered with him for eight months. And while he suffered the most, he got the greatest relief from his cancer when he passed. We all had to deal with what was left. The emotion of loss, grief, picking up all the pieces and dealing with all his stuff. Collecting is in my genes. My grandparents did it, my parents do it and I am inflicted as well. While we are all inspired to clean out, it takes time. His apartment took priority. Getting it cleaned out, remodeled and rented will pay the mortgage and give us time to clean out the garage. The main thing in the garage is a lot, a whole lot, of jeep parts. It will take more time to sell them for top dollar rather than let someone come in and auction it all off. I have spent a lot of time cleaning, installing flooring and painting and my parents and my son have spent much more time. So, taking a break at Assateague Island was therapeutic.
We almost went to Cape May when my father said, “I want to drive my jeep on the beach again before I die.” I didn’t like the way he phrased it, but I am glad he thought of it. We went for 6 days, almost each day driving from our hotel in OC to Assateague Island. We had to drive two vehicles and take two trips with the jeep and all our beach stuff out to the water’s edge. It was so nice not having to lug stuff over the sand then pack it up and carry it back later. And the trips were fun! It was like driving in the snow.
My dad’s jeep is an old 1952 Willys. This model was made for the Korean War. Over the years it received a few modifications. A fiberglass body molded to replicate the original without a tailgate and an automatic transmission to name a few. The other oddity was that there was never a fan in the engine. It was never needed for the ordinary road. On the beach, it would get pretty hot and we would park with the wind from the ocean blowing on the engine. It would cool pretty quickly so we could go on, but my other brother (my brother’s best friend) happened to be working close enough that he brought a fan down and put it in the engine one evening.
I took my bicycle along and an extra bike and got to ride almost every day. My dad even went on a bike ride with me. This trip was also a celebration of his 75th birthday. We got a permit for the jeep for a year, so if we go a little earlier next year, we won’t have to get another permit. One day I even took my paints to the beach. Worked on some very small watercolors, but really felt like doing nothing on the beach but relaxing. An unusual activity for me. My youngest boys got along well and we all had a good time.
The other big highlight of the Island is the horses. They are wild and you got to see them everyday either along the road or on the beach. We saw them race around the campsites and hang around on the beach and dunes. I got some great pics and kept a safe distance even though my son was upset that I was so close
One day we had rain and the boys went a little stir crazy, so we started the next day by dropping them off at an amusement park which had a bunch of go cart race tracks. While they were there with a two hour pass, my mom and dad and I went to tour Berlin, a quaint little town nearby. The buildings were cute, the shops were really nice and the people were very friendly. It was an enjoyable time away from the hustle and bustle of a boardwalk.
I thought about my brother a lot. We didn’t talk about him much. I and my kids have always vacationed with my parents. My brother never did as an adult. Maybe this time he was with us, experiencing what he may have missed before. When we were both young we went to Chincoteague in VA with my dad’s jeep and drove on the beach. My parents and I are pretty laid back, I didn’t know my brother well enough as an adult to say if he was too. The time we spent together in the end isn’t really a true measure of how he lived his life because of the circumstances. I can only be thankful for the time that we did have together. I will certainly encourage my own children to spend more time together than my brother and I did over the years. You never know when you won’t have the chance again.