Almost Every Year

Almost every year, we come to Bethany Beach and spend a couple of weeks with the family.  Almost every year, there are new things about the house, the town, the beach and the cast of characters that make up our time together at the beach.

The Wilson family comes to the beach almost every year, except years when we go someplace else, such as Australia (last year) and England (various times, and planning for next year).  Every year we are here, the Vache’s of Washington State (my sister, bro-in-law, and nieces) are here, and the Greene’s of Florida (my parents).  More recently we have added the Sutton’s of Texas to the mix.  There have been many and various other cousins, McGrath’s of Missouri, long-time friends, girl friends and boy friends on and off over the years.

The time at the beach follows a predictable, comfortable and welcome routine.  We keep a storage locker with our beach chairs, umbrellas, and many other needed supplies in Millville.  When we arrive we unpack the storage locker, and move into our house.  It’s not our house, really, since we just rent it, but it’s our house since we’ve been renting it for about 15 years.  By the time we arrive my sister has stocked up at Sam’s or Costco, and we’re ready to go.

Tony brings a metal detector and has a lot of fun searching the beach for treasures.  Every once in a while he finds something.  This year he found a cell phone, among other things.  We answered one of the texts we read, and were able to reunite the phone with its grateful owner.  I was glad to wish the young man a happy birthday — it was his 18th.  Good stuff.  This year he got up at 5 a.m. every day to go metal detecting, and then takes all the chairs and umbrellas down to the beach.  Then he gets me up and we ride bikes for an hour.  It’s been good exploring the area that I know so well, but know so little!  I’ve spent years here, but have not ever explored the back roads and countryside as I have this year on a bicycle.

Almost every year we have a rainy day and head straight to the outlet malls for some of the great Delaware tax-free shopping.  This year was just a very short day, as we got to Rehoboth, the sun started coming out.  So just a few stores, and then back to the beach.  It wasn’t our best day, but certainly far from the worst.

Every year Bethany Beach puts on a 4th of July parade.  That will be tomorrow, of course, and just around 11:30 a.m. we will all go up to Ocean View Parkway and put our beach chairs up in front of someone’s house (don’t know who they are but we sit there every year).  The parade starts at the Christian Church and makes its way down to Ocean View parkway by about 12:30 or so, and then goes on and on and on and on… and on… and on…. made up of large groups of children on bikes, local beauty queens, local politicians, the Shriners in their  mini-corvettes, and many many other wacky and wonderful creatures.  It’s a great parade, and we are usually parched and sun-stroked by the time we make our way home, but it’s worth it for the fun of seeing a great small-town parade to celebrate our nation’s independence.

Every year Bethany Beach puts on a fireworks show, and almost every year it is fantastic!  One year it was entirely shrouded in clouds, and one year was rained out.  That year there was this guy who had a fireworks show of his own on the 5th of July and I kind of suspected that he had bought out the BB show for his private showing.  But then this year I heard that there was a big birthday party for some rich guy who had rented out a whole neighborhood that year… so I’m thinking it was his birthday celebration.  Nonetheless it was good entertainment for us since the 4th was just busted by rain.

Almost every year something changes about the beach, for better or worse.  Some years ago they built giant dunes to protect the town – that was a good change, but made a huge difference in the landscape of the beach.  Some of the old landmarks are now gone, replaced by new buildings — such as the old Blue Surf Motel — now the Blue Surf condos.  It’s an attractive building, and I’m very glad they replace the old Blue Surf in such a nice way.  There used to be an old bait and tackle shop called Harry’s on the corner across from the Christian church.  It burned down some years ago and was replaced by an ugly, garish, “pirate” mini-golf with a giant skeleton pirate that barfs water out of its mouth.  Ugh.  The bait and tackle shop was nothing special – I remember getting candy and comic books there, and it was the bus station, too.  But the replacement is not to be endured.  Another change is the replacement of the town’s parking meters with a pay-and-display format.  Not a bad thing, but they haven’t gotten around to taking the parking meter poles out of the ground.  So everywhere you look there are these poles sticking up out of the ground.  Tacky.

The one thing that never changes is how relaxed we feel when we get down to the beach, and plant ourselves in our beach chairs in the sun, pull out the trashy novel and lose ourselves in the lovely breeze and sunshine.  It’s heaven and there is no other place on earth that can quite compare to this.

Here are my pictures taken this year.


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