I’ve been racking my brain the entire weekend, or at least for the last 5 minutes, trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to sum up this weekend without writing a novel. Let’s face it, brevity isn’t my gift even when I don’t have anything to say. I think I might write a weeklong series about our trip to the coast, but instead of a week, it will just be a two-day series because I’m not that ambitious. Just think of it like a mini-series along the lines of “Lonesome Dove”, but without the fine, literary quality. Or Robert Duvall.
Therefore, probably without the Emmy Awards also.
But who cares? I’ve got two days worth of writing material and I’m going to enjoy it. Especially since my brain froze up last week and I could no longer write with all the words that a blog requires. Apparently y’all don’t come over here to stare at blank space.
We spent this past weekend in Rockport, Texas with the Jones family (and no, their last name isn’t really Jones, but it will be here for the sake of the internet). We had a great time and Caroline spent pretty much the entire drive home asking why we couldn’t turn the car around and go back. Obviously, she was completely homesick.
For the coast.
P first met the Jones family about 16 years ago when his little brother became friends with Stew, who is B and Cindy Jones’ oldest son. They invited P to join them at the coast one weekend back in 1991, introduced him to the world of bay fishing, and his life hasn’t been the same since. I’d like to say that marrying me was the most profound thing that has happened in P’s life but, truth be told, it may have been the day he caught his first redfish.
When P and I first began dating way back in 1995, he talked about the Jones family a lot. I had been around their son, Stew, a bunch of times because he spent a lot of time at the ranch with P’s brother having contests to see who could go the longest without showering or wear the worst looking clothes to Garcia’s Mexican restaurant. Sixteen year old boys are awesome to hang out with when you’re trying to find a romantic moment with your boyfriend, by the way. I highly recommend it. But anyway, in addition to Stew, the Jones’ also have two daughters, Dea and Cat.
During the summer of ’96, I was invited to join them at their house in Rockport. I was thrilled at this acknowledgement of legitimate, potential future wife of P status and also, a little nervous because I had a feeling that if I didn’t pass the test, it could be a deal breaker.
I must have passed the test because I was invited back several times over the course of that summer of ’96 and pretty much every summer since then. It’s one of my favorite places and holds so many memories of when P and I were just a couple of crazy, young, and, most importantly, thin kids in love.
As I looked around the familiar coast house this weekend, it was weird to think of how much has changed since my first visit all those years ago. I remember the first time I met Dea and Cat, they were just little junior high girls that spent most of the day making friendship bracelets with a bunch of their junior high friends or drawing pictures with markers. This time, it was my daughter playing with the markers and Dea and Cat were there with their husbands, and Cat’s expecting her own baby in January. Stew came upstairs last night and announced he was going out to meet some friends, and I was kind of surprised until I realized that since he’s an almost 30 year old man, he’s pretty much free to do what he wants to do, whenever he wants to do it.
Everybody has grown up.
One of my most vivid, if not necessarily favorite, memories of being at the coast is a trip we took two weeks after P and I got married. B & Cindy invited just P and me down for a weekend of fishing. We were so excited. It was going to be like a honeymoon after the honeymoon.
That Saturday morning we got up bright and early which, looking back, assures me that I was totally and completely in love with P even back then, because me and 5 a.m.? Don’t really go together. These days I wouldn’t attend a shoe sale at Nordstroms at 5 a.m., much less get up to go catch fish. Anyway, we headed out in the boat, and after a morning of fishing without much success, decided to try something a little more adventurous and go fish out in the surf. And I was all, “SURE! GREAT! LET’S FISH IN THE SURF! IT WILL BE AWESOME! WHOO-HOO!”
Because that was back when I was young and naive and said “WHOO-HOO!” and had no idea that I suffer from the horrible wretchedness that is the seasickness. Although, looking back, the fact that I have trouble riding in the backseat of a car should have been a prime indicator that perhaps the rough, tumultuous ocean would not be my friend. But I was IN LOVE! NEWLY MARRIED! BIRDS WERE SINGING AND BELLS WERE RINGING! I CAN DO ANYTHING!
Except for be on a boat with all the rocking motions with all the rocking and the rocking.
And the rocking.
We anchored the boat in the surf and I immediately started to sense that this wasn’t going to end well. And then, B started to pull bait out of the livewell, which is the smell equivalent of a 4 day old tunafish sandwich sitting in the hot sun, and I felt certain that P was about to see a side of his new bride that he had never dreamed existed. I tried to fight it as they started casting out their lines and, much to my dismay, actually catching fish. Big fish. Big, nice trout. I’ve never liked to be the one to end the party so I continued to think happy thoughts about dry land and steady ground.
It worked really well until the next big wave hit. It sent me running for the side of the boat and I leaned over very gracefully and delicately, I’m sure, and deposited everything I had eaten for the last 6 months in the ocean. Over and over again. P yelled to B that we were going to need to leave and B looked over, saw me leaning halfway out of the boat and thought I was pulling up the anchor in my haste to leave. When he realized that I was, in fact, throwing up my small intestine, he grabbed the anchor himself, pulled it up and got me to dry land as quickly as possible.
It was just a delicate, sweet moment of newlywed bliss. Some couples wait years to have the privilege of seeing their spouse throw up repeatedly in front of dear, old family friends. It warms my heart to this day to realize P had that blessing after just 2 weeks.
Yesterday evening, we were sitting around the living room at the coast talking about old memories and how much has happened over the years and Cat and Dea started talking about the first time they ever met me. Cat said, “I used to think you were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.” And I said, “Used to? What’s all this ‘used to’ business?” She and Dea agreed that they thought I was so beautiful because I was so tan and wore this orange coverup that made me look even more tan. And beautiful. Did I mention beautiful?
So, good news! I’m thinking if I can just get a little more sun and find that orange coverup and, perhaps, a time machine, I can regain my status as “the most beautiful girl” Cat and Dea have ever seen. Or maybe not. Especially considering that they’ve moved on in life and their horizons for comparison have widened beyond the world of 12 year old girls with braces on their teeth who sit next to them in Pre-Algebra.
The tables have turned or, should I say, the tide has shifted. Now they’re the ones in their 20’s, all tanned and fabulous, and I’m the girl with braces on my teeth.
Who throws up over the side of boats.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of this two part series tomorrow, when I’ll actually talk about what happened this weekend instead of rambling about things that happened 10 years ago.
I know y’all are on the edge of your seats.