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Lakewood Times

“Likable Sand”

I am standing around in the airport with my parents. Of course, we can’t even get checked in yet by the TSA since we are too early. My mom likes to be early to just about everything. We are here since we are taking a vacation to Southwest Florida with my Grandpa and my Uncle, which is a new addition to our trip. With the new addition, I am slightly worried about how this vacation could go. It could possibly get dicey. Every family vacation has its ups and downs – I am already anticipating it. Of course, I start to feel my stomach growl. Without us being able to get into the whole airport, there is only one option for me. It’s a little concession stand so I get a bag of “Extra Cheesy” Combos. Not an ideal meal for eight in the morning. While I am eating my Combos, I see that my Grandpa and my Uncle are being dropped off by an airport taxi. They are very clueless to the airport, not knowing where to go. I just sigh and watch it all happen.

We checked in with the TSA. I am always nervous about it for some reason. Even though I know that I’ve never thrown a punch in my life or threatened anyone, I still feel my heart racing as I am getting checked by security. We boarded the plane. We walk in and the seats are gray and they look very uncomfortable. I am sitting next to my Uncle who hasn’t flown on a plane in twenty years. Thanks Mom. My Uncle is clearly shaken up by the whole situation.

“Anson, how can we trust the pilot? How can we trust someone we don’t even know with our lives?” my uncle asks.

“That’s the worst thing you could possibly say right now. We are gonna be alright,” I comment.

We takeoff. I feel my ears pop, my stomach gets butterflies, and my anxiety skyrockets. I slept all the way through the ride if I’m being honest. I wake up when the pilot announces that we are about to land. Rude awakening to say the least. My Mom and Dad are both passed out behind us. My Dad is snoring very loudly. I just tried to act like I didn’t know him. Now, we are about to land. There is a bit of turbulence. Our height is dropping while it feels like our plane is rocking side to side. My Uncle was grasping onto his seat for dear life. We landed and the impact was a little louder than usual. But, we are now in Fort Myers.

We take care of the essentials – we got our rental car, drove to our AirBnB, and got food and equipment for the week. By the time we took care of that, it was dinnertime. I was so hungry – I could eat a whole cow. We end up at a sports bar and outside there is a sign that says “refresh! Refuel! Relax!” I think we all needed that reminder. I got a nice, big, greasy, burger that just tasted satisfying after waiting for so long to eat. It was late and we drove back to the AirBnB. Tomorrow is beach day. 

We are all excited to go to the beach the next morning. I’ve missed the beach a lot. The beaches just aren’t the same where we live. With my Dad driving, we all hop in the car and start our journey. We have an unreasonable amount of chairs, towels and umbrellas in the back. We made it to our first beach. It is busy when we arrive – most parking lots are completely filled up to the max. We find our spot and the five of us march to the beach, all anticipating what is to come. We all take our first step onto the brown sand. I noticed immediately that the sand just wasn’t the same. 

“Ow!” my Dad yells. This got everyone’s attention.

“Woah, woah, woah, what happened there Chuck?” my Grandpa asks.

We all then see that his foot is bleeding. There are red polka-dots all over the sand around us now. We all couldn’t believe his eyes. I thought it was an optical illusion. I thought I was seeing things. I’m sure everyone else thought this as well.

There was a stick going through his foot. Beach day was over.

We all rushed back to the car – my Mom panicking.

“C’mon, we have to go!” my mom exclaims.

“Where even is the closest ER?” my Uncle asks anxiously. There is no cellular service where we are at.

I was just paralyzed in my car seat, not knowing what to do. We had to do something though so I decided to ask the guy running the parking lot in Spanish.

“¿Dónde está el hospital?” I ask, hoping that I just made some sense.

“Gire a la izquierda y luego gire a la derecha,” he says.

“¡Gracias, mi amigo!” I say. From a Spanish class I took, I remembered that “izquierda” meant left and “derecha” meant right. 

So we drove off. We make it to the hospital and my Dad is rushed in and taken care of. We didn’t see my Dad the rest of the day. I was just happy that I remembered Spanish class. The rest of the night was just pure silence.

The next day, we decided to go to another beach that has nice reviews on it. Even without my Dad there, we still just pack the car and set sail. Mom clearly needed a distraction. We made it to this next beach. It was a lot less busy. The water looked clearer. It just seemed more remote. We go through the same process. We park, and we step foot onto this beach. This time it was different. This sand was white and powdery. It didn’t hurt your feet. It was favorable sand. It was likable sand. We grab the frisbee and splash into the beautiful, blue, clear water. This beach was perfect. Everyone was experiencing pure joy – me, my Uncle, and my Mom were all playing with the frisbee while my Grandpa was just sitting there, soaking in all of the sun. It was a good time. We had to pick up my Dad in a bit though. That was definitely in the back of everyone’s mind. 

We went to the hospital, this time with complete directions. Luckily, he was okay. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked, though it was life-threatening. We walk back to the car, my Dad hobbling with us. We all then realized everything will be okay.

“Just a little hiccup, that’s all,” my Dad jokes.

“Maybe a lil more than that!” my Uncle jokes back.

“Now c’mon get me a drink, it’s time to party!” my Dad says.

The rest of the vacation went amazing. We bonded as a family like he had never bonded before.

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