Wanna hear about the first vacation I ever remember taking as a kid? Regardless of how you answered I’m going to tell you anyway, but please feel free to click away from the blog if you have no interest in the story. The trip was so long ago that I don’t even remember how old I was at the time, but I would have been at least five because I remember my younger brother Logan being on the trip at the time. Maybe I don’t remember him exactly but I do remember the vague annoyance of his crying while I was trying to watch Bozo the Clown on the TV in the condo. That’s right, Bozo still had a show on morning television, which reiterates my point of how long ago it was. We were on vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama, my grandmother, grandad, mom, brother, and me all spending a week in an oceanside condo.
I remember looking out at the sand from above, the bright sun hitting it in the morning, though of the blue ocean I have no recollection. I do remember the dark waves though, splashing my feet as I walked along the shore at night. This was before my fear of the spider like crabs that come out at night and we were all enjoying a nice walk along the coast with the a cool summer breeze coming off the ocean. After walking for a while I spoke up to the man walking just ahead of me and asked him a question. I don’t recall what I asked but I very clearly remember calling the man grandaddy, the name that I called my grandfather on my mom’s side of the family. The reason this moment stood out to me and remains one of the few memories I have of the trip is because a strange face turned around to look at me, and without missing a beat said, “I can be your grandaddy.”
This was the first moment of panic I ever remember feeling in me life, but it hit me hard. I had no idea who this man was, but clearly I had gotten separated from my family and was now walking with a group of strangers in the dark. Fortunately my family wasn’t too far away, and I don’t know if I screamed or if they just heard my voice when I asked the question, but they came quickly to my side, keeping me from having this new grandaddy in my life, and for that I am forever thankful. Over the years I have taken many trips to the beach and walked along that same shoreline countless times, but never again did I get lost, the memory of that encounter burned in my mind, promoting more cautious and aware behavior. As for the rest of the trip, I couldn’t tell you what we did or anything that happened, my only two memories being Bozo and calling the stranger grandaddy, but I’m sure whatever we did, it was a lot of fun.