Sleeping in on vacation is good. Having only breakfast and beach on the agenda is very good. Opening the curtains and seeing blue sky is very very good. Realizing that it is very windy and barely sixty degrees... well that's not so good. Though it's not like we were planning on soaking in the frigid waters of Lake Huron. We can still make sandcastles and play soccer without it being a heat-wave. Which is what we did.
Jeremy started digging a hole to China. He hit water while building a big wall. He called it a windbreak since it was so blustery there on the beach. The sand already had that special aroma that I had forgotten about, and the deeper he dug, the stronger the smell. He didn't seem to mind. While he and Eva and Lydia got busy with the cistern, me and my kiddos went for a little walk. We had gotten more than our feet wet when we went to the shore - big surging waves kept on splashing more than just their little toes. Before we joined Jerm in the sandwork, we headed towards the long breakwall and the harbor. Emma was walking just a little to close to the edge of the walkway, the harborwaters being about fifteen feet below. Eli wasn't happy about having to hold my hand. But they all got a thrill about the wicked waves smashing against the breakwall and rocks. They thought it was the coolest thing to get sprayed!
All the kids started helping Jerm dig deeper, finding water and stones was a fantastic discovery. I started on a second mound for the sandcastle. Lydia ended up sticking all the buckets and cups and shovels on it. She tried taking my shovel away from me to put on "her" sandcastle, but I coldheartedly turned her down so that I could start a third castle. Which Isaac ended up smashing. Tara, Shirley and Faye came back from a flea-market with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the boys and My Little Ponies for the girls. The new sandtoys were a great hit!
When Jamie Mandigo walked over with this two sons Ben and Nate, he must've smiled when he saw Mum, Shirley, Faye, Maria, and Tara all huddled under blankets, hoods up over their heads, crouching in their beach chairs, trying to stay warm from the gusting winds. Maybe his wife warned him - Karen and Lilly had stopped by earlier while coming back from a bike ride. While Jamie chatted with Jerm, Dad and I, his son Ben went and marked out in the sand a game field. He marked out goalie boxes, sidelines, a center field and circle, and even penalty boxes. It was kids against old people - me, Jerm and Jamie against Ben, Nate, Eva, Emma, Levi, Isaac and Eli. Evenutally Dad played goalie for the kids! Fun times!
Once we figured out where the Garbage Can ice cream was - thanks to Jamie's announcement - we all headed over there after the soccer match. The kids were jubilant in their victory! And I was pleased to see all four of my kids order and enjoy my favorite flavor in the world. What is it, you ask? Well, it's a mixture of all the left-over flavors all packed into one container. So in one scoop you get a little bit of chocolate, butter pecan, mint, cherry, strawberry, bubble-gum, walnut fudge, cookie dough and more! So delicious. It's been about thirteen years since I last tasted this dairy-wonder!
Debbie Vanderkleyn brought out a kite for Jerm to assemble. While some of us played more soccer, he got the kite launched and then let each of the kids take a turn flying it. He ended up sitting down with Eli on his lap - it took awhile to reel it back in! After saying goodbye to Jamie and his kiddos, we packed up the beachstuff and headed back to the hotel. Burger Trail was our supper destination, right in front of the soccer fields where I used to play as a kid. After more fries and vinegar we headed out to North Bruce to Debbie's house. She was our next door neighbor while we lived there, and since someone we didn't know was in our old house, we parked at her place.
After so much time away, everything looks different, and yet the same. The front of the house was green, a recent residing project had been an improvement. Most of the trees were still there, objects for climbing as a kid, or for soccer posts. The cat house was still there - Dad's little workshop and storage barn where the kitties were born each spring. Me and the brothers would lay on our bellies outside that door (it had a little hole in the bottom) and we'd plead for the kitties to come out. Eventually they'd wander close enough for us to grab them and cuddle with them. The clubhouse where we played with our neighbors Jason, Jamie, and Elizabeth was gone, but not the memories. One of Dad's gardens was still there. The North Bruce Zion UB Church - right behind what used to be the parsonage - is now a beautiful home - lovingly and thoughtfully remodeled, and carefully landscaped.
Next stop was the Big Hill and Bare Bum Beach. I led us down the hill and then got us lost. Dad had to take us the rest of the way. Winding along the shoreroad, dotted with beautiful homes and rocky sand dunes, I was missing living here in undeveloped and tree-full Bruce County. We stopped for a moment at Bare Bum Beach where we used to camp out for the day and swim and eat and play. But the shoreline has changed so much that it's all gone. Sad. Oh well. Off we went back to Port Elgin via Jamie Mandigo's old house, a place of fun times and games. We ended the evening with another round of ice cream - Garbage Can for me and Isaac, Cotton Candy flavor for the other three, and Smarties for Tara. A final dip in the swimming pool until it closed at 10pm, and that wrapped up the day. A good day.