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What I did on my summer vacation ...

Had fun with family in the South

Had fun with family in the South

July 18, 2007|by LAURA BELL/Pulse Correspondent

Put yourself in my shoes. The air is hot and humid, the breeze cool and refreshing. The sounds of seagulls overhead and waves crashing nearby mean one thing: We're near the beach.

But this isn't just any beach, this is Edisto Island, S.C., where the salt marshes swell come high tide and dolphins are often seen swimming near the shore. Here you live in "Edis-Slow Time" and the nearest thing to the hustle and bustle of regular life is shopping in the Piggly Wiggly supermarket.

This was part of my summer vacation - one week of lying on the beach, collecting seashells and avoiding seaweed in the warm ocean.

This is what my family calls our family vacation: spending quality time together and relaxing. Not that it's ever perfect. That giant beach house we rent is, um, well used. Because we are in the deep South, it's almost inevitable that there is an abundance of creepy bugs that somehow sneak into the house through invisible cracks. On most vacations there is almost always at least one person who gets sick, stung, bitten or given the short stick in some way or another.

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Of course, this year, that person is me. A sore throat is my malady. But that doesn't slow down any of the vacation. Why should it?

Our first night on vacation, the lights go out on the entire island. The evening transforms from a family dinner to laughing and joking in a pitch-black house.

We see how different and foreign the night is without electricity. The full moon is all the light we need. Some people go to see the phosphorescent seaweed on the beach. Others simply stand on their porches, enjoying the light breeze and the quiet of the night.

Later that week, we travel two hours south to Savannah, Ga. This is a town full of history and beauty. There are people playing jazz on almost every street corner. Smells of sweet praline candies come from a shop on River Street.

Venture further into town and you will feel humbled by the grand, old Savannah mansions. Park-like squares are sprinkled around town, lined with great live oaks draped in breezy Spanish moss. A surreal feeling passes over me as I stand in front of the Mercer Williams House, the setting of the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." It would be difficult not to love this splendid city.

Every vacation is different and most of them involve some sort of drama. This is what a family vacation is for many people. You go on vacation together to have fun together, but fun is a goal that isn't always reached.

But often my family does have fun, and I can't help but enjoy myself. For one week out of the year, my sisters don't irritate me, my parents don't tell me to clean my room, and I have zero problems.

It helps to realize that little things like sore throats don't matter and that the point of vacation is to have fun. So instead of letting small irritations get the better of me, I decide to enjoy myself. It's a little thing, but once I relax, I enjoy the beach, the ocean and my family in a big way.

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