Sunday, October 07, 2007


My face is lobster red today from all the time in the sun yesterday. Jilda was much smarter (as always) because she slapped on the sun screen before we left for the festival. She chided me this morning as we drank our coffee. That's OK, I deserved to be chided.
The only time our family went to Florida on vacation was when I was about seven years old. We stopped at one of those roadside attractions on highway 98 there in Florida and I remember mountains of sea shells. I also remember the salty smell of the breeze that blew out of the south and sound of the gulf.
We stayed in a small cottage on the west end of Panama City Beach and I remember I got a lot sand in my shorts when I played in the roaring surf. My dad went out on one of those 1/2 day charter fishing excursions and brought back a cooler full of grouper and amberjack. The sky was overcast that first day and we played at the beach until it was too dark to see and then headed back to the cottage. Mother cooked up a batch of fried fish and we ate ourselves into a stupor. The next day much to our dismay, the fam went on a sight seeing trip and spent most of the day in the car. It felt like we drove all the way to Key West. As we motored down the coast highway, I looked longingly out the glass of the back door at the emerald water a few hundred feet away.
On day three we headed back to the beach about 10 a.m. The idea was to spend the day having fun in the sun like the kids on the postcards we had bought. After several hours in the gulf coast sun we all looked like we had spent time in a microwave. My mom and all of us kids got BLAZED!
The next day of the vacation was not a happy day for the Watson family. All us kids were in varying stages of exquisite pain. My mom was not that sympathetic because she was burned worse than we were.
Needless to say, we cut the vacation short and spent the next six or seven hours in pure sunburn Hades. If one of us kids brushed up against another it was followed by a blood curdling scream and subsequent ominous threats from the front seat.
We finally made it home but my mother and older brother had big honkin' water blisters forming all over their backs and shoulders. My sister and I both have complexions much like our dad's and while we were red, we didn't shed our skin like a year old snake.
Most of my family went back to Florida many times in our lives, but my mother never went back.
When we went by to see my mom this afternoon she asked me how I got burned. I told her I'd been at the festival all day without sunscreen. I remembered this vacation story and asked her if she'd like to go to the beach. She shook her head adamantly and said "no, I went once and I don't care to go back."

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