I still remember that day I spent with my aunt and cousins in the summer of 1996. That summer showed how everyone could be excited and amazed by the ocean. We went to the beach and spent the whole day there. Of course I got a horrible sunburn from being in the sun all day, but it was one of my favorite days with my aunt and cousins. That morning we woke up early so we could get a good spot on the beach. The house was so quiet and there was a hushed urgency to eat breakfast, make lunch, and pack the car. There were no complaints about having to hurry; everyone was just doing what they had to do to get ready. The feeling the excitement was growing every minute although that was the quietest I ever remember having heard the house.
We got into the car and began the twenty-minute drive to the beach. The sun was beginning to heat the already warm air, which caused us to be sweating already at eight o'clock in the morning. We all couldn't wait to jump into that cool water.
The sky was that beautiful pinkish, red color as everyone in the car wiped the sleep from his or her eyes. The further we drove the more alive everyone in the car appeared to get. My youngest cousin, still in diapers, began to squirm in anticipation. She loved going to the beach.
The closer to the ocean we got the more everyone in the car began looking around trying to catch the first glimpse of the ocean. I can still recall the excited chatter of my younger cousins. There were three cousins, one, Justin, was about ten years old; another, Andrew (aka Pickle), was around 7; and finally the third, Patty, was still in diapers; but able to walk by herself.
Andrew caught sight of the ocean first and excitedly pointed it out for everyone in the car to see. Except for my aunt, everyone turned and looked almost with their faces pressed against the glass to see where Andrew had pointed. The excitement in the car doubled.
As my aunt pulled into a parking space the noise of four simultaneously released seatbelts could be heard, along with a chuckle from my aunt. The three older children, including myself, set about gathering all that we could possibly carry to the beach, so we wouldn't have to be bothered to come back and get more. My aunt got my little cousin out of her car seat and set on her feet on the sidewalk by the now heavily loaded Justin. She then went about gathering the rest of the things from the car.
As a group we walked, almost ran, to the ocean. As we came up on to the boardwalk I remember taking a deep breath of that salty air and looking at the blue-green water in awe. It never fails to shock me how large the ocean is. I just can't imagine something that size. I love the sight of the beach with the waves rocking against the shore and the seagulls walking on the beach.
Once we all got onto the beach, we quickly dropped our bags and began the search for sunscreen, except for Patty. She stood there being restrained by my aunt so she wouldn't go down and jump into the water right away.
As soon as all of the kids were remotely covered, we made a break for the water. I held onto my younger cousin's hand, while the other two drug their body boards at full speed into the water. They made a huge splash upon entering, while Patty and I waded into about calf deep. She stood in front of me grasping my hands and squealing with delight over the water lapping around her feet. As each wave came to shore I would lifted Patty up so that only her feet touched the waves. After I had done this the first time and set her down she began to jump up and down shouting "AGAIN!" I laughed and lifted her another time as the waves came in. This continued on until my arms began to feel like jello and I had to escort the now pouting Patty back to my aunt.
I then spent the rest of the day floating in the ocean. The ocean is an amazing place with an endless supply of waves. I can still hear my cousin squealing with delight over the waves and water, or the joy on my older cousins faces as they body surfed on the waves. The ocean is an extremely exciting and awe-inspiring thing.