Bella’s First Beach Trip
Bella finally got to see the ocean! It had been three years since we had visited my parents in Myrtle Beach, SC, having just relocated further up the Grand Stand in Surfside Beach, to a small, quaint home that suits the town in which it resides. It’s a good thing I didn’t have my heart set on putting my toes in the sand. Even though I got a free beach wheelchair rental from the local police department, it was very uncomfortable and cumbersome. After one time, I didn’t go back, but I sure hated missing the sights of my mother building sand castles with my daughter or running after her as she chased the seagulls up and down the shoreline.
Needless to say, Bella loved the beach, just like her Mommy and Grandmommy. Grandmommy wanted to be with Bella when she saw the beach for the first time. From then on, Bella insisted that she be with her on every visit thereafter. This made my heart happy! I can recall Mom writing a college paper when I was very young stating how she dreamed of one day living on the beach and watching her grandchildren play in the sand. I’m glad that is now a reality for her. No one deserves a dream come true more than my mom. I was also pleased when Bella and Grandmommy went on a private shopping trip together.
While the girls were enjoying beach bumming, I spent most of my time with Dad finalizing my details of my new book on his career, Herb Cooley: The Law Enforcement Legacy of My Father while enjoying the beautiful 80 degree weather from his front porch. We also enjoyed two visits to the Grand Strand Church of Christ, a congregation of 225, more than a dozen times the size of our own. Attending a big congregation, the singing is so beautiful. The message was great and the people were very friendly. We will most certainly visit again.
We were pampered above and beyond with favorite home-cooked dishes by my mother, spaghetti and nachos. My dad’s specialty is steaks. As there was no grill in that house, he treated us to dinners at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Driftwoods Seafood & Steak instead, which were certainly not bad alternatives.
My sister joined us for the latter meal and it was wonderful to see how quickly Bella bonded with her. As babies, the two of them remind me so much of each other.
The highlight of our trip was, however, on Halloween night, when Grandmommy took Bella to the trick-or treat event at Broadway at the Beach, where many of the storekeepers handed out candy. We saw many great costumes, but Bella as Minnie Mouse was by far the cutest. We followed that up with dinner at Johnny Rockets, a fabulous ’50s style restaurant with malts that were heavenly.
Another highlight was Bella’s first trip to Ripley’s Aquarium, at which we had an absolute ball! Bella touched the stingrays and watched a diving show while running and giggling through the whole place, donned with a Christmas tree from each state as part of their annual Festival of Trees that runs through every November and December.
It was very hard to say goodbye. I was reminded of former beach trips our family took and it made me sad that time passed so quickly and unappreciated. I look forward to going back for Christmas and am grateful to God for every moment in this life when we are all together. They get fewer and fewer these days.