Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod


1. Incandescenceness. Something more than incandescence. Maybe the essence of incandescence. Heard at a horse shoe.

Should be a word.

2. Distance. Same horse show. Only 2 people allowed around the ring for each horse, one of which is the rider. Mind you, horse show. Outdoors. Everyone masked. 100+ acre property and 50M ring.

How do I know? Got spanked for too many “followers” at one ride while distancing 6 METERS.

3. Era. As in beginning of a new one. Beth is a competitive rider again! This weekend for the first time in 6 years we went to a horse show and Beth rode. Did pretty darned well, too! On the one year anniversary of our big boy Hero arriving from Spain he is finally healthy enough, and he and Beth have worked together enough, to enter the ring.

As I’ve said for a couple of decades now, it is nothing short of thrilling to see someone doing something that they love. To see someone engaged in something that they are passionate about. Brava Dollie!

4. Era. As in the end of an era. The end came not for any personal reasons. Not for any inconvenience or lack of interest. What broke our 28 year win streak of gathering this week on Cape Cod was how daunting it was going to be for us all to travel from our respective homes during this pandemic time in order to be there. That, and the amount of anxiety that my Mom was experiencing just thinking about the process.

It’s sad for a million reasons, some big and others small. In a funny way this could have been one of the biggest groups in recent years with so many of the grandchildren (our kids) working from home. Heck, they could have worked half days and not even had to use up a whole week of time off. Yes, yes, we’ve been plagued by spotty internet access over the years and “work” from the Cape would have posed a challenge if this remained the case. Still, there was a little buzz about this lockdown thing actually making for a better trip.

T’was not to be.

So here I am at a horse show, actually thrilled to be here, but kinda bummed nonetheless. I mean, as a family, a significant group had made it to the same house on the same beach for 28 uninterrupted years. Two years ago we had babies on the beach for the first time in 14 years. There were even a couple of changes in “traditions”; with only a few of us still there on Friday the last couple of years we opted out of pizza in favor of lobster meat and a big, buttery chardonnay (our traditions evolved in a very positive way).

And yet as sad as I am about not being on the beach, what I really am is filled with gratitude for all of the years we DID get. In year one we all crammed into one house, one bedroom assigned to each little family. Our caboose, Randy, was 6 weeks old. Man, I sure wish I could find the iconic picture of him with our Sunday night dinner, dwarfed as he was by a 15 lb. lobster. There were only 6 grandchildren that first year. One of the beautiful things about Cape week was how it allowed our eventual squad of 10 cousins to get to know each other despite the fact that none of my generation ever lived within easy visiting distance from one another until my youngest sister moved to Connecticut. Randy and his close-in-age cousins Darric and Tim forged a lifetime friendship from their days together on the beach.

Births, marriage proposals, weddings and sadly deaths were all a part of our Cape Cod lives. We kept our trip alive through illnesses in the oldest and youngest generations. Through high school and college graduations, job changes, and major moves. Some time around year 4 or 5 we just got too big to fit into a single house and spread into one of the next door cottages. Pretty much every waking moment was still spent either in the “Cape House” or on the beach. Like a bunch of 6 year olds playing soccer we moved through the week as one.

I am so very grateful that my son-in-law and both of my daughters-in-law got to experience “our” beach. Two of my soon to be five grandchildren got to play in the same sand that all 10 cousins did. Will we head back when times are simpler so that our other three babies will build sandcastles and chase hermit crabs in their parents footprints? Ah, who knows? For today I am happy that so much more of our family can say they were “on the Cape”.

All things come to an end, and we never know just how or just when that will happen. Our streak is over, felled not by any internal family decision but by a pandemic. Perhaps that is fitting, that such a monumental family institution could only be interrupted by a phenomenon that has literally bought the globe to a standstill. Will we return? Return to our little slice of Cape Cod, a place we came to be welcomed as if we were “locals”, so long had we been coming? We shall see. There are other changes, other transitions yet to come.

For now, for today, I am sad that I am not writing this as I travel home from Cape Week. But I am now and forever grateful beyond words that my own family beach journey, begun in Mannesquan with Gamma and Gramp, spanned so very many years, from being the baby on the beach myself to welcoming two more generations of babies to join me. For today it is enough that I had that journey. Like so many waves we body surfed, it’s been a great ride.

I can almost feel the grains of sand between my lips from my last farewell kiss.

I’ll see you next week…

One Response to “A RETURN TO THE RING; FAREWELL TO THE BEACH: Sunday musings…8/9/2020”

  1. August 10th, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Carey Kelson says:

    Thank you for this post Darrell. I enjoy following your restless mind. Best, Carey

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