Vacation Traditions



We take our beach umbrellas seriously. We buy them from life guard equipment suppliers, and we've had the oldest two for over 40 years!

We take our beach umbrellas seriously. We buy them from life guard equipment suppliers, and the oldest two have been in the family for over 40 years!

My grandfather owned a beach house in North Myrtle Beach so when I was growing up we went to the beach a lot. Like every spring break, the first two weeks of June, and several weekends during fall and winter. And the entire month of August.  This worked out great for my blond-haired, blue eyed, olive-skinned siblings, but my pale freckly skin was perpetually burned and I’m sure the fallout is not going to be pretty. Still…what am I complaining about? It was a free vacation, and one that my family has become addicted to. So although granddaddy’s beach house was sold over thirty years ago, my mother and her sister are committed to sharing a beach house at least one week of every year so that their grandchildren can have the same experiences we did.  Except now instead of ten of us there are twenty one which makes everything a lot louder and more complicated.

IMG_20140703_144019_768But we have our traditions and most of us really look forward to our yearly get together. Of course with twenty one people there have to be rules (right?), so this year’s beach week started with a new set of rules laid out by my mother and her sister, the grandmoms.  You can see by the photo how seamlessly the rules were enacted.

And some of us have developed special skill sets for coping with the large in-house crowd. My father disappears into a book. My sister heads out to the beach during the hottest part of the day when everyone else is inside, and my aunt and cousin have picked up the habit of putting together jigsaw puzzles in the corner of the room while the extreme extroverts among us play loud games. This year’s favorite is BANG.

My daughter found the one on the left, my mother found the one on the right. I found the one in the middle. I'm afraid my reputation is about to change.

My daughter found the one on the left, my mother found the one on the right. I found the one in the middle. I’m afraid my reputation is about to change.

So, okay, the cramming all of us into one house can be less than 100% perfect, what makes us want to keep doing it? Well, time spent together in the sand is one reason.  A lot of us (okay, mostly the males) enjoy daily games of petanque, which is similar to Bocce and played in France. We still have the set my husband bought when he was an exchange student living there. Others of us (okay, mostly the females) enjoy looking for shark’s teeth. I usually enjoy this the most of all because over the years I’ve developed a reputation as the best shark-tooth finder. Here are some that we found this year.

Grits and salmon patties with beefsteak tomatoes.

Grits and salmon patties with beefsteak tomatoes. A beach house favorite

The school aged kids all love swimming in the ocean despite what finding the large sharks’ teeth proves, their fearlessness amid the breakers evoking fearfulness in their parents.  We usually build at least one big sand castle, play at least one after-dinner game of Spoon, and cook some of the same favorite meals.



Every year is the same, and every year is different. I am thankful for all of our traditions, both important and trivial. And I think, no matter what your traditions are, the simple tradition of etching out time to spend with family is one of the most important parts of growing up. Happy summer everyone!

17 comments on “Vacation Traditions

  1. Stephanie Fulmer says:

    I loved reading this. It reminded me of the time your brave mom took our entire Girl Scout troop to the beach to stay in your grandfather’s beach house. She was always a great organizer… I learned is much about sea shells on that trip and have been a beach comber ever since. Please tell your mom hello for me and your sister, too!

  2. kamikinard says:

    Thanks Stephanie! I passed on your message. She said to tell you she is still organizing (and we still have the shell identification books on the dining room table!)

  3. Nolly Cantey says:

    I loved the paint by numbers framed and wonder who in the family carries on the artist’s traits.

    • kamikinard says:

      We still have those paint by numbers that my mom and her sister did as teens.. once and artist friend visited and said he couldn’t believe such a creative family framed paint by numbers paintings! I think my daughter has some of those artistic traits!

  4. Susan Brody says:

    Sounds lovely, Kami! I hope Hurricane Arthur hasn’t ruined your plans for this weekend. It was great to reconnect with you in NJ and get the benefit of your warmth and advice. Have a great 4th, beach or no beach!

  5. writersideup says:

    Kami, I honestly think this is the PERFECT setting for a future book, right? OK…get on with it, woman! 😀 😉

    I’ve always loved the beach, have fond memories of it from my childhood (we had relatives in Long Branch, NJ) and miss it terribly as an adult, rarely going. I have to say, though, I’ve never seen such a neat line of umbrellas, chairs and people in my life! Up here in Jersey they’re scattered all over, filling the whole expanse! Orderly?! LOL

    Thanks for sharing this and, of course, all your wonderful tips during your workshops at the NJ SCBWI this past weekend. I’ll reiterate—I wish I’d been in there for the last 15 min. rather than having to leave for no good reason! lol

    Stay safe for all the 4th celebrations, everyone!

  6. kamikinard says:

    Thanks Donna! Books have indeed been written about Folly, but it isn’t in my plans for a future setting… yet! So great to see you at SCBWI NJ, and looking forward to seeing you again. Hope you got some R and R for the 4th!

    • writersideup says:

      Oh, wow, the place is called Folly?! How perfect! 😀

      As for the 4th, it’s the one holiday every year I never rest ’cause I have an annual face painting gig at a local Town Fair. It’s a big one and they do a great job. This year, due to weather, it was postponed ’til today (the 5th) and the weather was absolutely perfect, which is rare in July. It’s a crap shoot every year as far as exposures for me, though, and this year was a bad one : / Along with all the sunscreen and fragrance on people, they had a train running, so every time it circled the park, I got zapped with fumes. Still, I’m grateful for the gig 🙂 I hope you and yours are enjoying the weekend, too 🙂

  7. loismoss says:

    What great traditions! I particularly love pétanque. It’s one of the things we always do at the beach. I also bought my set ages ago when I was in France. My kids and nieces and nephews really get into the competition.

  8. kamikinard says:

    Thanks Lois! Found out today that there is a neighborhood in Brooklyn where they block off two streets to create petanque pits for Bastille Day. How cool is that?

  9. […] weeks ago, Kami blogged about her family’s vacation traditions. Well, I just returned from my own family vacation, and thought it would be nice to share my […]

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