Against the Wind
Yes, the beach.
This particular beach is where we've spent two weeks almost every summer since Charlie was born. It was Jim's favorite-est place first, as he used to vacation there when a child.
Clearly the only place to celebrate Jim's birthday at.
Though, at first, I wasn't so sure we'd get to the ocean yesterday.
We'd gotten a late start to the day, with all of us sleeping in a bit, and then going on a ride for bagels that became more of a ride ride down a mountain and into various suburban enclaves. We were considering visiting the town deep in central Jersey that we first lived in after moving back to Jersey from Missouri in June of 2001 but opted for home. Charlie and Jim went on another mega-fast bike ride—Jim's birthday present is a new bike, so he can keep up with Speed Biker Boy—and then Jim went to the gym and Charlie and I attempted to go to a bakery to get Jim a birthday cake. Charlie being adamant about not getting out of the car, our birthday cake-buying had to be aborted and we went home where, with Charlie happily using the laptop, I put together a makeshift birthday-sweet-apple-treat and cut up some watermelon.
Soon as Jim came home (it was nearing 2pm), he said, "And we're going to the ocean!" Whereupon Charlie sprang up, said "all done" regarding the computer, and went to put on his swimsuit and load the boogie board into the white car trunk.
We had a happy ride down with mournful cowboy songs (as Jim calls them) playing on the radio and then, as we neared the beach, a bit of Billie Holiday. The wind was strong when we got out and blew steadily on our backs as we walked on the sand along the water.
Charlie worked his way up ahead of Jim and me, and knew to turn around when he came to a place where the tide was coming up on the beach. He gloried to walk back into the wind and even ran the last 100+ feet, leaving Jim and me to wonder if Charlie was more than enjoying the deep pressure cast on his whole body and being, when walking into a mighty wind.
We got take-out (chowder and a burger for Charlie, though he handed it back to me in the front seat and reached for the oyster crackers) and drove back home up the Garden State Parkway.
And we were sure to sing "Happy Birthday" one more time to Jim.