Prelude: Though it’s hard to fathom, traditions have to traditionally start somewhere traditional. We all have our daily routines, whether we loathe them or not, but traditions go beyond the day-to-day. They start as an idea, are anticipated with much anticipation and then fall into a pleasant, assured interruption in the rhythm of our hectic lives.

For family traditions one must first procure a family. Having a family tradition without a family requires a great deal of imagination. When the grandson joined our brood we knew we had a family thing and we wanted a few traditions to go along with­ — perhaps a yearly trip? Well the li’l fella loves the sun, fun and water so maybe a seasonal excursion to the beach was in order. So for the past two years we’ve scrimped and saved so for one week he could live it large by the seaside. We’ll have to tag on a few more trips to make it officially traditional, but it seems off to a good start. We just got back and he’s already asking when we’ll go back…sigh…kids!

The in-between: When people walk into the ocean they either look ahead, watching for waves or behind them to see how far they are from shore. Seldom do they look down…I always look down — people always drop cool stuff! But in the ocean… waist deep as a wave forms, the water is drawn back, you can feel the pull and the power of the sea. There, between the waves, lays a plethora to behold. Huge schools of little fish that will jump in unison if you disrupt their classes, jellies drifting lazily across the sandy bottom — watch out for those. Kelp and sea grass broken free dance in the surge of salt water. The life aquatic unfolds before you. Meanwhile ashore…

It beckons: Early morning, oceanfront balcony, over a cup of coffee you see them come. Hobbling along with canes and walkers, the rising sun brings the elderlies to the sandy surf. Not dressed for frolicking in the waves, they stand, lean, sit and stare out at the vastness before them. Is there some evolutionary regret here? As we grow older are we called back to whence we came? When it gets too hot they’ll go back inside…until tomorrow.

It breaks us: Waves aren’t the only thing broken here. There’s a wedding on the beach today. The bride looks decidedly uncertain but the groom childishly delights in being barefoot at such a joyous occasion. Less than 100 yards away a pretty girl with tattoos that complement her camouflage swim wear weeps beneath the pier. There’s no need to attempt consoling, she awaits one specific person and when they come…she will turn them away. Aside from high emotion, there is no connection between the two events as love is found and lost at sea.

Making waves: Gabriel, such a fitting name for the above angelic grandson. The child has an infallible, happy demeanor, seeking to share and find joy in the general public. On the boardwalk, on the beach, from the balcony, he waves to passers by with a sweet sing-song “hello!” If they do not answer his little face droops and a little bit of his heart breaks, “Why didn’t they wave back!?!” in a quiet small voice. Oh rapture if they should return his wave with a kind word. Oh, the horror if they should pursue a conversation with the suddenly shy boy. He’s just here for the waves folks. Waves are OK. But you should never talk to strangers; insert van, candy or strange joke here.

Cheeseburgers in paradise: Across the street and within walking distance of our getaway lies a classic beach arcade and grill. The burgers aren’t the greatest they’re just different from our usual fare, relying mostly on the atmosphere and environment they’re served in. It’s one of the main reasons I agreed and insisted we return to the same venue, because as everyone knows any tradition needs food.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via the Focus, or E-mail me directly at [email protected].

Hope to hear from you, until then try and stay focused. See ya!