Now that I'm fully recovered from the migraine AND the sleep marathon that followed in its wake, I can write more about the vacation.
Mark and I went to visit my aunt in Brigantine, NJ, which is a barrier island just past Atlantic City. She's lived there year-round since the early 80s, but she and my late Uncle Pat bought the house in the late 50s. My parents and I used to visit there for vacations once or twice a summer, plus there were other times when Aunt Rita and Uncle Pat would have me, along with my cousins Maryann and/or Michele, down there minus our Parental Units.
Everyone can point out the good times and tough times in their own respective childhoods. If I wanted to list the tough times, I could point to the daily bouts of BS I went through at school with the bullying fiends I called classmates. But Brigantine was one of the places that I associate with unmitigated GOOD times. Honest to goodness, there's not one single, solitary negative thing about it in my mind. Whether I was there just with my cousins, or with my parents AND cousins, it was All Good. Well, there was that one time that Michele and I both fell sound asleep on the beach, and earned ourselves the worst cases of sunburn in the history of the Earth. But even THAT mishap has been fodder for some of my funny stories, so we managed to wring some lemonade out of that particular lemon after all.
Spending four days there did more to lift my spirits than any trip to any faraway exotic locale could have done. Going there is more than just a trip across the width of New Jersey for me. It's a trip back through time, and the destination is some of the best memories I've ever had -- probably WILL ever have -- in my life.
I've heard people rave, rightly so, about how amazing the beaches are in various other places in the world -- pink sand, white sand, blue water, clear water, what have you. I have no doubt whatsoever that if/when I visit any of those places, I'll be enthralled by them. I'm all about seeing the wide array of beautiful things and places that Mother Nature has to offer.
But none of those places, NONE of them, will supplant Brigantine's grey sand and green, murky-with-algae Atlantic ocean. They can't. The exotic resorts of the world, when I get around to visiting them, will be wonderful because they're something new and different, but Brigantine will remain at the top of my list because it's Old and Familiar and filled with happy associations.
I just spent a few days in the Good Parts of the Past. And I rediscovered, as I mentioned in an earlier post, that my sense of humor used to be a lot more active than it's been in recent years. People who know me remark about my sense of humor NOW, but frankly I think I've been coasting on my reputation a little bit in that regard. Sometimes I suspect that the people who've known me since before the internal cave-in that the downsizing triggered still connect the sight of me with my previous, more lively self. So they still think of me that way, even on the days when I just barely have the energy to set foot out the door -- on days when I sit around and am more of an observer than a participant in the goings-on.
Well, I got to be that more-lively-self over the weekend, finding puns and punch lines in just about everything. It wasn't something that I planned; I just FELT like being that way for the first time in ages. And you know what? I felt a lot better, across the board. So I've made a resolution that I'm going to do my best to STAY that way, as much as possible.
So, consider yourselves warned. If puns and corny jokes aren't your bag, invest in earplugs. :o)