Saturday, August 1, 2015

This place, these people, this week

The Place
How could we know (not ever having considered that North Carolina even had a coastline) when we moved here that one of our favorite things about the state would come to be the beaches?  Uncrowded and peaceful, these barrier islands would provide the perfect vacation escape every year as well as many day trips throughout the years.

In 1997 we celebrated our 10th anniversary by renting one side of Big Bertha, a beach house at Emerald Isle owned by our neighbors.  The next year we came with friends for a week in the fall and a tradition began.

This year is perhaps the 14th year that we have vacationed at Big Bertha. We know and love the house as if it were our own.  It's hard to escape the reality that with another marriage we will probably have grown out of Big Bertha. (No, that is not an announcement, and notice the 'probably'--saying even that is difficult.). Last year we didn't know we could come to the beach until later in the year and we couldn't get both sides, so we ended up somewhere else.  That's probably not a bad thing, now we know that we can still have a great week in a different house.  But our hearts will always love Big Bertha.

The People
We first came to Big Bertha with old friends.  They loved it so much that they still came the year we couldn't come because the triplets had just been born.  Then they were unexpectedly unable come come the next year.  I went through the ward directory, determined that I would find someone to come and rent the other side so that we wouldn't have to share the hot tub with strangers.  When I got to the Rs I saw the name of a newer family in the ward that we had enjoyed getting to know and I emailed to ask if they were interested. 

They accepted and a great friendship began.  Throughout the years we have done far more than vacation together: we have shared meals, holidays, celebrations, temple trips, weddings, and always the most interesting conversations.  Our children have grown up together and we have supported each other through some of life's really difficult experiences. 

We lost so much that was precious to us when we moved, but their friendship has remained a constant. In the last 2 years we have also had a Southern Utah vacation and a Christmas reunion, showing that although the beach is our favorite place, anywhere that we are together is wonderful.

Friendships are so tricky.  They ebb and flow with life's changes and challenges.  Sometimes even the best of friends don't vacation well together. I *know* how rare and wonderful this is.  

This week
On Facebook recently I saw a meme: "Live your life so that you don't need a vacation.". That's one of those things that sounds terrific but doesn't square up with the reality of our life, especially when this is our vacation.  We talk about this week All. Year. Long.  

Can you imagine how I feel to think back to that day with the ward list?  What if I'd chosen differently? I could never have imagined this outcome, but as I sit here at the end I of Day 1 of #RRbeach15, I feel so grateful that it all worked out the way it did.

That we are here this week,  in this place, with these people.

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