When I first began coming to Surfside Beach, Texas, with my soon-to-be husband's maternal family, there were a lot of rules. These rules had been in place for several generations at this point. The rules were really more of an enforced schedule.
We all got up to eat breakfast, regardless of whether you wanted to eat breakfast; we all went down to the beach in the morning after breakfast, set up the tent and brought down the beach gear; we all came up for lunch, an assembly line of sandwich makings; we all rested a bit and then went down again to the beach, then a bit before dinner, took down the tent, carried up the beach gear and got showered and ready for dinner. Oh, and we were each supposed to make our bed every morning.
The first year I came, in 1997, I didn't completely understand these rules…I got up for breakfast (after being instructed to do so by my (then) boyfriend/ (now) husband, but I just sat there while others ate, then I went back to bed. I also volunteered to make a meal, up to this point only the moms (my soon-to-be mother-in-law and her sister) had cooked meals and before them, their mother and aunts. And I insisted on going on a search for fresh shrimp to fry up, using my mom's recipe…this was not a meal they had traditionally prepared in the 25 or so years they had been coming to Surfside.
I didn't mean to buck the system; it just came naturally to me.
Well, over the years, all the cousins got married and had kids. Our systems and schedules and rules began to change. Each family took a night to cook; some years not everyone could make it; then it was every other year and then not at all.
I hated this. I love the tradition, and I have always loved the Texas Gulf Coast (as ugly as it may be to some). Many of my favorite childhood memories reside along these shores.
So, last year we re-started the Surfside tradition with some of the family, and this year, more of the family is coming…only these days, there are not so many rules… I'm hoping my mother-in-law can dig it.
Here are our basic rules:
Clean up your own messes: dishes/towels/clothes, etc.;
Put on sunscreen and more than likely bug spray over that (several times a day);
Hose off before going upstairs to the house and leave your flip flops by the door;
Sleep until you want to get up; and
Our dining room table may or may not be a Lego/NASA staging area…I'm just sayin'… Breakfast is optional and up to each person and making our beds....yeah, that doesn't happen!
The point is, we are relaxed about things and are enjoying sitting on the deck with a drink or watching a movie late into the night with the kiddos still up, all huddled onto the couch. It's our vacation, after all. Over and out…