Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sand and time - A ode (of sorts) to the family with whom I cannot currently reunite

My family, 2006.

I am not sure how many years there has been a family beach trip, but, for around a quarter of a century, each and every year, my mother's side of the family has spent a long weekend in Port Aransas, Texas.

It is an occasion laced with intricate tradition, kindred fellowship, and, every so often, crude, fringe behavior.

Until this weekend, I had only missed one of these gatherings.

The first time, I was studying in Brazil during college and the flight was too expensive. This time, I am working in Swaziland and the flight is too expensive. It is now my firmly held belief that sacred, time-tested family reunions should qualify one for discounted airfare.


As I post this, my father and my mother's father are probably waking up to ensure that their lures are in the water before the sun spoils the fish's appetite. (Time difference ~7hrs.)

After all, Saturday morning precedes Saturday night by much less than a day, and Saturday night is the night of the traditional “fish fry extravaganza”. (Given it’s extravagance and import, I probably should have capitalized the name.)

The betwixt hours leading up to the deep-fried seafood dinner will be spent as they have been for two point five decades: throwing horseshoes, frisbees, washers and bocce balls, playing volleyball and football, bodysurfing and, of course, sitting and talking.

As tradition dictates, an amateur home video will be made. It will star as many cousins and family mascots as possible. We have several such mascots. I would list them but, without an explanation of each, the list would lead you, the reader, to question my family’s sanity.

While I often do this, I will not force you to read the mascot roster.

After tonight’s battered feast, there will be a talent show, usually showcasing very good music and very bad poetry, both apparently woven into the collective genetic fibers of the participants.

Sunday will bring more fishing, swimming, sporting, visiting, videotaping.

More smiling, laughing, joking, playing.

All of the "–ings" that summertime family reunions are for.


While there is plenty to do here in Swaziland, there is little angling and zero beach. No family. There is a swimming pool or two...but it is currently mid-winter.

Still, as a gesture of solidarity, I recently took a very brief swim in some very cold, wintery water. The dip was ~25 seconds...seemed longer.

The first beach trip seems not so long ago.

It's funny how time expands and contracts.

The photos below, which I offer as proof of my frigid submersion, are my tribute to the 2007 Port Aransas Family Beach Trip and all gathered there.

Just before.

Just after. (In case you are wondering, the wetsuit did not help much. I have recovered sensation in most of my toes.)


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