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Carol Perkins: From the Beach House, Part I

A family reunion with all the progeny this time, in Seacrest Beach, Florida, is a return visit for the Carol and Guy Perkins, who find a restaurant which hasn't changed in 40 years, and a surprise that not only could Guy still ride a bike, but could do so at with the performance of a man 40 years younger.
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Royal baby

I am writing from a beach house in Seacrest Beach, FL where the Perkins family has once again gathered for our family vacation. Jon and his family drove from Austin by way of New Orleans to jump start their trip. Carla and her son rode down with Guy and me, and her husband and college-age son will arrive for the weekend. That sets the stage for our twice a year gathering. The other time is during Christmas.

Luke is now ten, Eme eight, Joseph seven, and Noah five and watching them interact during the week is special. They have a bunk bed room with a twin bed and a trundle bed under it, so they can all sleep in the same room. However, the first night Noah wanted to sleep with Papa so he curled up between the two of us in our regular sized bed. Guy whined that he didn't have enough room when he came to bed, so thinking Noah was asleep, I whispered, "Why don't you take him to bed?" (Three flights up!) Noah perked up with, "I don't have a bed. My bed is a pull out on the floor." Needless to say, we made enough room for Guy to sleep without an arm hanging off the side.

The next morning I woke before daylight, feeling someone was in the room. Staring into Papa's closed eyes was a small face under a hat. "Papa, it's time to go." He grunted and said, "I'm getting up. You go see who else is going." Luke wasn't.

He had promised to take the kids for an early morning walk on the beach to collect sea shells. He didn't mean six in the morning. I didn't hear them leave, but I heard the return. Still under the covers and fast asleep, I woke to the sight of a grown man whose hair was wet with sweat; his shirt middle circled in sweat, and with both arms spread wide in exclamation, "They don't mind me at all. One went one way and the other two went the other!" I almost felt sorry for him!

Being bike riders, Jon's family rented bikes, so after watching them riding around the beach houses in the complex, I decided I might like to ride. Even after all these years, I still remember the free feeling a bike ride can bring. "Mama, I'll rent you a Trike." He wasn't kidding. An adult trike would have been perfect but they were all rented, so I tried to ride Luke's.

I finally positioned myself on the bike, but could only do that by holding on to the side of my car. When I turned loose of the car and tried to get my bad knee to peddle, I fell against the car and Jon said, "Bad idea." Just at that moment, someone flashed by on an orange bike. It was Guy. I had not seen him ride a bike since he rode Carla's ten speed in the 70's.

"Did you think I couldn't ride a bike?" he quipped.

"No, I didn't think you could ride one that fast!"

The family went to the beach for the morning while I stayed around the house, read and prepared lunch. "Eme rides the waves like a surfer girl," Guy as they stormed through the door with red under their eyes from their snorkels and sand in their suits.

The rest of the day was spent at the pool, which was called The Lagoon. It was actually four areas divided by water falling over edges from one to the next. The pool area is surrounded by beach houses, facing the pool. As we adults were lounging, Jon said, "Someone has certainly cooked up something."

"I think they have burned peppers or something on the grill. Glad I'm not eating it." I said.

"Mama," Jon said rolling his eyes, "you smell pot." Evidently, a guy was sitting on his porch blowing pot smoke our way.

I said, "Don't inhale."

That night we went to Capt. Anderson's for dinner. It had been forty years since Guy and I had been there, but it had changed very little. Guy had a platter of everything under the sea and by three o'clock in the morning he was downing Alka Seltzers.

At the end of the day I ask each child what has been the best thing they did that day. Eme said, "Being with my family 'cause I don't get to see you all as much as I want." Melt a grandmother's heart!

Part II of the trip next week. (You can join Carol and her friend Susan Chambers for Susan and Carol-Unscripted on Tuesday from 10am-12pmCT on 99.1 FM radio, The Hoss, Edmonton, KY)

This story was posted on 2013-08-04 03:16:54
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