I’m learning to love the beach life and I feel like I’m becoming a part of this whole culture I’ve been missing out on my whole life.
Chris has been going to the beach since he was a kid. I’ve been going to the beach since I was a kid, too, but not like he has. The Goodman’s have rented houses for weeks at a time, spending their days boarding, swimming, sunbathing and immersing themselves into the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It’s a part of their souls, a part of their being and the air that they breathe and I love that about them. More than anything, I love that I’m privileged to get to know this part of their life to experience it myself.
My dad was raised on the coast of North Carolina, so I’ve been going there my whole life to visit family, but it’s a totally different way of life. The Carolina beach life is laid back and quiet compared to Ocean City. The same landmarks have been there for as long as I can remember are slowing closing down and more hotels are being built. The boardwalk closed some ten years ago and there isn’t’ a whole lot to do except fish off of the Oceana pier and surf. It’s a slow pace where you can get away, but it’s nothing like the Eastern Shore.
I feel like I’m in a special place when I’m on the coast of Maryland. Old Bay is everywhere and I only recently tasted it for the first time in my life. 30 years on this planet and I’ve been missing out on this deliciousness. I tasted it when I learned how to devour a whole crab for the first time at the Crab Bag and have loved it ever since. Chris taught me how to crab in the canal and I giggled with joy when I caught my first one with a piece of chicken and pulled it onto the dock. I giggled even more when the crab I caught shimmied right back into the water and did a graceful back flip on the way down.
And then there’s the ocean…When I was seven, we went to Radio Island near Atlantic Beach, NC and I got sucked into a wicked riptide and was tossed around like a piece of laundry on the spin cycle. Feeling so out of control with no way of knowing which way was up and my lungs filled with water, the ocean suddenly scared me to death. Ever since then, I’ve been afraid of waves and the open water. I’ve always loved going o the beach, but getting in the water and near the waves has been a fear of mine for a long time. Recently though, I’ve learned to face my fear of the ocean by challenging myself to jump into the waves headfirst, even if it does mean almost drowning twice in one day. Chris’ hand is always right there to make sure I come up and he laughs with relief as I wipe the hair out of my face and ask if I dove into the wave right. It’s incredible how trusting someone can help you overcome your fears and kick them right in the ass.
I’m finally learning the way of life on the Eastern Shore, and every weekend is a new experience. I sometimes feel like I’m opening my eyes for the first time to all of these shiny, brand new things and it excites the hell out of me. I might be scared, and I might ask silly questions, but there’s nothing better than feeling like I’m adding something new and great to my own life and even better, leaning how to correctly dive into a wave with the one I love waiting for me on the other side.