I was on vacation a couple weeks back and went to my favorite place, Martha’s Vineyard. I enjoyed spending time with my wife and daughter, my in-laws, and a few cousins, aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, my son couldn’t make it due to his work schedule and I missed having him there with us. Despite him not being with us, it was a great week and brought back some memories for me.
Coming over to the island on the ferry, there were a lot of families with young kids and I couldn’t help but think back to when my kids were little and we made the trek over. Both my kids loved being on the boat and we’d either be outside or right next to a window. We’d watch the seagulls floating on the air, keeping pace with the boat and swooping in and grabbing a snack from a passenger’s outstretched hand. We’d talk about what we were going to do, which always included the beach, ice cream, and The Flying Horses. Those were some great times.
My wife and I walked up town our first evening there and got an ice cream. There’s nothing like an ice cream on a summer day. It made me think of my childhood and how special a treat it was to pile all the kids in the car, go for a cool off ride, and get an ice cream at the end. Even if our hands and arms were sticky with melted ice cream, it was worth the two hours or so of cooling off before we went back to the house where the only air conditioning was open windows and a big blue fan. Those were also some great times.
As I sat waiting for the fireworks to start on the 4th of July, I was like a little kid, sitting and fidgeting, wondering why it was taking so long to start. When I was a kid, the town had our fireworks at the Little League fields. We’d walk up as a family, set out a blanket and wait what seemed like an eternity, and finally get to see them. It always seemed like it was too short a time for how long we waited. At some point, they stopped shooting off the fireworks in our town, probably realizing that it wasn’t safe enough where they were doing it. Those were some great times, too.
For the most part, I spent the week without shoes on. As soon as I got to the house, I pulled off the sneakers and socks and just let my feet breathe. It felt so good to go outside and feel the grass between my toes and be in direct contact with the ground. I had to put something on my feet to walk places, but that was it. It reminded me of being a kid and fighting with Mom because she wanted us to always have something on our feet and we didn’t want to. Running around in the yard, why would we need sneakers on? Playing wiffle ball in the yard, who needs sneakers? I knew I could run faster with bare feet. Just sitting around in the shade in our front yard and reading comic books certainly didn’t require something on our feet. Maybe Mom just hated having to clean our dirty feet after a fun day. Those were some really great times.
Vacation is over and it’s back to the real world, but I’ve been trying to go barefoot a little more than I was. I’m going to enjoy it as long as I can because in a few months we’ll have to be wearing socks and shoes, or sneakers, or (gasp) boots. By then my week in paradise will be but a distant memory, but I’ll have some happy feet. And some more great memories.