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Monday, 09 June 2008

The Jersey Shore

By Claire Jean

At a family gathering, I was asked by my husband’s cousin, Annette, if I would be interested in joining her and a few other women, many of whom were also relatives, for an extended weekend at the Jersey shore.

Was she kidding? I had known about this annual summer excursion, since my sister-in-law had been part of the group for several years. It took all I could do to not say, what took you so long to ask? But, instead, I conjured up some self-control and politely accepted the offer.

Soon after, I received a letter from Annette with detailed information regarding the stay. She made clear in the letter that this time away was strictly an occasion for the women only. There were no exceptions. No expected or unexpected visits from husbands, boyfriends, kids, grandkids, etc.

Also, each person was free and genuinely encouraged to do whatever constituted valued time away from their usual day-to-day rituals. This could imply reading all day in a room with the door shut, catching up on rental movies, sunning oneself on the beach, or just getting better acquainted with family and new-found friends.

Time spent with a group of women somewhere between the ages of 40 to 75 described as interesting would be an understatement. The wide-ranging lifestyles and situations just made everything much more remarkable. For me, the enthusiasm began the moment I pulled away from the house to begin the two-hour drive.

Even the traffic was pleasant as I imagined those headed in the same direction as I might have also waited all year for this time to come. The thought of meeting up with ladies you’ve not seen since the year before and wondering what’s happened since that time, was electrifying.

As life would have it, the updated information sometimes ran the gamut from wonderful right down to tragic. One thing that truly fascinated me was the outpouring of information people were willing to share during that short time span. Some women found what was being said shocking, thinking they knew the individual so well, but as it turned out, had no prior knowledge as to what was currently being communicated.

We would meet up upon arrival at the local diner for breakfast before heading out to our lovely beach rental house. Breakfast that first morning was the only time we ate out. Fortunately, some of the women were wonderful gourmet cooks who delighted in sharing their talents with very enthusiastic recipients. A few women willingly shopped beforehand with a detailed list of items highlighting many food preferences and restrictions.

There was always plenty of eating, laughing, discussing. Did we concern ourselves if the weather forecast called for rain, wind, sun? Did we even notice? Hardly.

All things come to an end whether good or bad. I will surely miss, but forever treasure, those thirteen summer weekends spent with that group of women at the Jersey Shore.

We met every year by the sea
Relatives to you, friends to me
All coming from different directions
New stories, new thoughts, new projections,
Viewing the world and seeing
Our purpose and reason for being
The time spent is short
But I’m here to report
The feeling remains
Flowing all year through my veins
Every moment a treasure
Filled with joy and good pleasure
TV rentals a must
We eat till be bust
We’re like bottles of wine
Select grapes from the vine
Nothing I know can compare
To this simple though rare
Meeting each year by the sea
Relatives to you, friends to me

[EDITORIAL NOTE: The story cupboard is nearly bare. Time for any readers inclined to share yours to send them along.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Thanks for the story, Claire Jean,
We honestly know what you mean,
You had good times with your friends
But that chapter nows ends,
With you wistfully recalling the scene.

Your story and poem evoke a marvelous experience to be savored. Not only did you get to recharge your batteries, so to speak, but you connected and bonded with family in a wonderful way of shared pleasure.

Every family of females should follow this example.

Thank you so much for sharing this magic time with us. So sorry those thirteen years didn't grow into more.

We go with family every year, but I wish I had been doing your type of trip for a long time!!

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