My wife and my kids hate the beach.
This fills me with a sadness that is hard to describe, especially given an iPhone keyboard as an input device.
As a kid, the highlight of all of my summers was our yearly escape to this corner of Michigan. It’s lately been rebranded by the local tourism board as “Harbor Country” but when I was a kid it was just “the cottage.” We were “going to the cottage” in August. Every August, usually for two weeks.
We stayed in different places over time. We certainly didn’t have the kind of money to own something here so we rented. As far south as New Buffalo and north past St. Joseph, we covered it all pretty well from about 1972 until I went to college in 1984. I know all the restaurants and stores and bars from here to Saugatuck. I remember the ones that are gone and I know the new ones, too.
My mom, aunts, and grandmother still get a place. Sometimes my cousins and now their kids join them. The tradition continues. And for about the last four years I have tried to recreate or extend this tradition for my own family.
Sharon, bless her, has humored me and would surely continue if I asked. But I won’t. The kids are afraid of the lake and don’t much care for the sand. They have been raised differently, coming to expect that vacations like this mean water parks. Concrete, high density polyethylene, mercury vapor lighting, and chlorine. The only waves come from a machine on perfectly timed intervals and the sand has been long ago mixed with lime and formed into jungleland animals and covered with cyan epoxy.
This is our last ever beach vacation. I have half a mind to abort the rest of the week and take them all home tonight. We can go home to the comfort of our Wii and McDonalds and the fucking water park.