My wife and her family rented a place in Rehoboth Beach , Delaware for a week recently.
We were told that we could pick up the key to the house at the beach at two o'clock.
So I load my badass Labs and my 6 year old son in my Rock Warrior truck at 6am and we head to Rebel Ridge Kennels in Maryland. There are kennels in New Jersey, but I always leave my dogs at Rebel Ridge because they run field trials there and the girls are on time and they smile and they love Labs. When I ring the bell at the front desk they come right away and I trust them totally. They return my calls right away and they take pride in their work. Country folks seem to take a lot of pride in their work.
Bas is the old stalwart, trusty as hell who used to get disqualified at the in Hunting Retriever Contests because he "yelped". Once he got kicked out even though he did an amazing mark , swam in a straight line through the water, and returned the duck back to me in a straight line, all at a year old. None of the other dogs were as competent. In fact, one canine went into the parking lot, sniffing the tires of cars before he brought back the duck in a round about way. The judge, a nervous little twit, told me that "it was in the rule book" about making noise and that Bas was outta there. My father, the mild mannered professor, thought that I was bringing Bas to the truck because he did so well that he didn't have to compete anymore. When I explained to my dad that we were disqualified because he made a small noise at the beginning, I had to restrain him from throttling the judge. My Dad is all about fairness.
Storm is a nut, as all young hunting Labs seem to be, and full of boundless energy. I had her up front in the passenger seat with me because my wife and her family pack enough for a year long vacation even if it was for an overnighter. I always used to pack everything in one white trash bag, but no more. My truck was slam packed. Storm was my up front companion. No room in the back for her travel kennel.
In the ninety minute drive, she did not lie down one time. By the time we arrived at the kennel, I was covered in Lab spit because of the constant licking. She tried to eat a penny and chew all the suitcases and she jumped back and forth all over the place. Nuts. My first Lab, Dutch used to lie on my shoulders when I drove. I have no idea why.
We dropped the dogs off and headed for Rehoboth. My wife and family were driving according to my youngest son's nap schedule and would be down at three oclock, because when you have a toddler, naps must be timed just right. Naps are his lifeblood. Without a proper nap, Max is the Spawn of Satan. I swear, he sprouts little horns and spins around in circles and its just a whole lot better when he has a good nap.
So I arrive at 2 to get the key and the place wasn't cleaned and the Real Estate lady had a piss poor attitude so of course I told everyone how I felt and just how unprofessional they were and I said some things that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't have said. And that made me go to Hooters and drink a few beers to calm down before I really lost it.
I do love the beach, although my idea of a dream vacation would be to have a nice little cabin on the Eastern Shore of Maryland or Delaware and do some bass fishing or skeet shooting. Damn, that would be great! Wake up, drink some coffee, pop a dip of Copenhagen in, take the dogs out, deadlift some reps with the bar out back, maybe hit the heavy bag hanging from a tree, put a little john boat into the water and fish a little. Then fry up what you catch and take a little nap. Then write some and read some Hemingway. Work on some duck calls in the afternoon and shoot skeet. Build a fire as the day winds down. SHIT! That would be the best ever. That just made me very happy writing about that...now, I just need to include the family in there somewhere. If anyone knows how I can make that happen, please write......ideal for sure
Back to Rehoboth. For a beach week, the weather was pretty miserable, lots of clouds and rain and thunder and other things that just made the week a little off.
In addition, I was driving back and forth from Rehoboth to Philly back for testing of the football players.
It was okay, but quite honestly, I have had better weeks.
And then, on the last day, my parents arrived. My Mom, four foot eleven, my Dad, the 80 year old professor. Smart, athletic. My Mom had an art show that week. She is fu#$ing 80 years old man, pretty amazing. Exercise has kept them going, exercise and brain power. No smoking, and always staying abreast of current events.
My mom,just a little old lady from South River New Jersey. My Dad from Trenton, New Jersey. Depression kids, she and my father.They grew up with World War 2 rations and air raid alerts at night. My one grandfather, my Mom's father, was a Merchant Marine, joining up after Pearl Harbor. The day after, in fact....surviving submarine attacks and then gets home to die of a heart attack from smoking. My other grandfather, born in Scotland, kicked out of his house by an alcoholic father. As I remember, he had one leg, some type of defect. A violent temper, a smart man. A Court Clerk who swore in Einstein for his citizenship.
Anyway, they arrived, and I started moving . They are my parents, I adore them and I always enjoy seeing them. As soon as they pulled up, I brought Max down to meet my mother.
He is the apple of my Mother's eye,young Maximus.
We got down the stairs to the outside just as they were getting out of their car. Max looked to my Mom and ran to hug her.
Weeks before, he had rushed to her and put his head in her lap, unexpectedly. I had no idea that he would even remember her. Lately, life hasn't been easy for my parents. They have been through it. My sister is fighting cancer. My son Donald has had a kidney transplant and a bunch of other stuff going on.
Max is 19 months old and he's a little hellion.
He barely hugs me, but he came to her, his little fat legs just moving, and embraced her, and you could see that this was what she wanted more than anything in the world, right then.
I can just picture her on the way to Rehoboth that morning. I can see the Saturn driving along Route 50, driving with my father over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, wondering how Max would react when he saw her, hoping that he would recognize her, hoping, silently hoping that he would see her and rush to her. But if she said it out loud, maybe it would seem silly to my father, maybe she would be disappointed if she wished it too hard. And then it happened just right. Max did everything just right, and all on his own. Then they clasped hands after the hug and went for a walk.
The look on my Mom's face, you would just have to see it. It was a look of an expectation fulfilled and love and it made her seem so young...