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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


August 5, 2010

Laid Back August Advice

Patricia A. Kelly

During the news the other morning, in response to a comment about President Obama’s deficit reduction ideas, a reporter said, “No one cares. It’s August, and everyone’s on vacation.”

 

What a delightful thought. We’ve had a rough year, with all the snow and then the incredible, scorching heat. So many of us have struggled financially in this deep recession. We’ve worried about America, and our future, in the face of interminable war and mounting debt.

 

The conservatives among us have been worrying about the erosion of personal freedom associated with increasing government control of everything from businesses to health care. The liberals have been worrying about getting everything fixed for all of us while they have the chance.

 

It’s been a year.

 

It might be a good idea to actually stop worrying for awhile this month, even if one can’t get away. Who really wants to move from blaming British Petroleum for the Louisiana oil spill to blaming the government for allowing them to use too many dangerous dispersal agents? Really!

 

Go away or stay home, but take a break. Hang out with best friends in ragged shorts, cold drink, straw hat and frivolous reading material at your side. Or go out on the porch and go to sleep in the rocker in the middle of the day. Stroll down to Baker Park and jump into the pool. Just give it, and yourself, a rest.

 

While you’re reading this, I’ll be taking my advice in Chincoteague at the Pine Grove Campground. It’s an incredible, rustic place where you can leave an old derelict trailer in the storage area year round, and have it set up in the campground for a very modest fee when you feel like showing up.

 

There’s a bird sanctuary there, with several ponds. The meanest bird there this year is reported to be a big Tom turkey, but you should definitely watch out for the peacocks. They have a thing for those tassels that little kids have on their bike handlebars, so heaven knows what other weird ideas they might have on their teaspoon-sized minds.

 

Last year I had to rescue my favorite five-year old from a flock of them, who were chasing her down to have some sort of personal interaction with her bike handle tassels. Having rescued her, I found myself about 20 feet from the bike and the overly stimulated flock of birds, holding a stiff and screaming little girl, wondering how to calm the child, rescue the bike and get the heck out of there. Fortunately a camp employee showed up in his pickup and, looking disgusted, as if he had seen such craziness before, shooed the silly birds away and brought us the bike.

 

This year, on an earlier visit with parents and neighbors, she immediately warned her friend to take those things off her bike before riding over to the big pond.

 

Chincoteague, although developing, is a big step behind the rest of the commercial beaches in the region. It’s shabby and laid back, with a concentration on fishing, eating, swimming, hanging out and drinking beer. There are no outlets.

 

My daughter and her husband have the perfect trailer for Pine Grove Campground. It is beige, brown and orange, with the world-famous 70’s shag carpet look. It’s small and quite disheveled, which is the perfect look for Chincoteague, but the air conditioning, commode, fridge and sink work, so all is well. There’s a tacky canopy with multi-colored lights, a plastic ground mat to limit the sand inside, a grill and a clothesline outside.

 

What more could a person ask in a vacation home? The concrete block shower is just a short walk away, and there are lots of tiny frogs to catch along the way.

 

You can crab, clam, drive your pickup onto the beach, ride your bike and fish in the surf. If you have one handy, you can ride your horse there, too. After that, North Carolina wild-caught shrimp, corn and tomatoes on the grill, with a cold drink and a few s‘mores, and you have found heaven on earth.

 

This year Chincoteague will be a family affair for me. All four grandchildren, two daughters, two sons in law and my mom will be there. We’ll sleep in piles in the trailer and a small motel suite on the site. We’ll hang out, play, swim and possibly get tired of each other.

 

This year, for me, has brought a deeper than ever understanding of the value of friends, family and community in one’s life. I’ll treasure every moment.

 

Have the best month you can. Treat yourself in some way. Take a chill pill. It’s August, after all. It will do you good.

 



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