As my reader’s know: I treasure my family vacations. This being a year of limited means I had booked a camping trip on Cape Cod. We love the cape, having vacationed there many times over the past ten years for us it is like a home away from home. We have also vacationed a few times at the Treasure Coast of Florida where my best friend lives. This year I’ve been torn between the two locations.
Although I have camping reservations, Melissa, my youngest daughter wanted instead to take the trip to Florida to see her Godmother. So, how could I say no? I called Susan and as it turned out she has that same week off from her job and would love to have us come down to see her. She loves to have us visit saying that we are the easiest guests to entertain as all I want to do is spend our time on the beach. I told the kids we can change our plans if they would contribute toward the travel expenses. The girls agreed that this was fair.
I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of scrunching everyone into my car and listening to them all complain the whole way down and the whole way back, it being a twenty-four hour trip each way from our home in New York. I thought about our other trips down that included temper tantrums and flat tires. I fear the thought of the aggravation that comes with both and the added expense I would have should my car break-down along the way.
As my days this spring, leading up to now have been spent planting and tending to an extensive vegetable garden that when left unattended for even two-days comes overrun with weeds. I fear the mess of a garden I’d return to and the crops to harvest left to waste in my absence. Ten days would be far too long to be gone.
I am also not too happy about leaving Fred behind working and taking care of the repairs to the other house without me, when I should be there helping him. I’m sure if I am feeling this way it wouldn’t be long before he’d be resenting that he was home working in the heat, while I am playing on the beach without him. We should be playing on the beach together.
I thought about taking that dreadful flight instead of driving to shorten our time away from home. Then the expenses start mounting: airline tickets, airport parking, and car rental. I wouldn’t only be paying for my ticket but also for my son’s ticket. Once again I be spending far more than I can afford and with no job prospects after looking and applying for a-year-and-a-half, I can no longer pretend that I’ll find a job anytime soon. Also, as I am approaching 50 with unemployment being as it is and income levels slashed, I even fear I’ll never obtain gainful employment again.
Last evening, I spoke with Susan expressing my concerns, telling her I cannot make the trip and that I hope she will understand. She said she did and will somehow have to find her way to the beach during her vacation without my enthusiasm prodding her along.
I remember our first trip down and her saying she had spent more time at the beach in the week that I was there then she had over many years. I am saddened that the joy and laughter at the shore with her that I have been looking forward to will have to wait for better times.
I try to console myself with thoughts of Cape Cod, a cooler, easier journey to travel and a shortened escape that I hope will include Fred, at least for a few of the days. Now, if I could only get Susan to meet us on the cape. I miss my dear friend. But after all these years, the beach would not be the same without my man, Fred.