Thursday, August 28, 2008

September Gratitude by Barbara Quinn

Summer is drawing to a close here at the shore. The ocean is still warm and inviting and I would like that to linger, though I know it cannot. This is the time of year when the tourists no longer throng the beaches and restaurants. We shift back to being a sleepy beachside community. The economy needs the tourists, I understand that, and people need vacations so they flock here to have a good time. During the season I enjoy seeing the happy families enjoy the boardwalk and waves. And I appreciate how lucky I am to be here at the ocean all year round. I also appreciate how most people who live and visit here do take care of the place and keep it special for all.

There is another side to being grateful at this time of year. It's is not the usual way to be grateful, but I have to admit I am thankful when the disrespectful folks, the ones who grate like sand in your bathing suit, disappear. There is a local derogatory term for these tourists: “benny”. Some say that comes from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York, the places most likely to visit this area of the Jersey shore. These are the people who leave behind plastic bottles and litter when there are trash cans right on the beach, and the people who play their radios too loud, who bring large coolers with lots of illegal alcohol, who kick sand onto you when they pass, and most dangerously, the ones who are oblivious to the fact that they and their children must swim in lifeguarded areas or risk drowning in a riptide. I found a seagull chomping on a condom one morning.

Next week the tourists will be gone for the season. So will the lifeguards. I will swim wherever I wish without shrill lifeguard whistles piercing the air. The ocean's rumble and gulls cawing will be the predominant sound. I will go back to my favorite restaurants even on weekends, and chat with the staff again. The pace will slow everywhere. The underlying hint of fall with its cooler air and rustling leaves heralds the passing of another season. September is still warm and lovely, and oh so empty here at the shore. And for that I am slightly sad, but oh so grateful!


Angie Ledbetter said...

Here's to time without whistles and bennies. ;)

Joanne said...

September is one of the nicest months. Combine that with being at the shore? Sounds pretty close to perfection!

Ami said...

Good-bye tourists, hello relaxation!

Anonymous said...

Could you let us know when that cool breeze hits. Our cool breeze will be blowing 100mph when it hits next week.
Here's to hanging on in the wind and rain.
Oren (FOA)

Barbara Quinn said...

Oren, 100 mph!! That's as bad as Gustav bearing down on Angie and the poor Gulf folks. The surfers will be enjoying the big waves on the Jersey Shore but I'll be thinking of the path of destruction. Good luck and stay in touch.

Joanne and Ami, have a relaxing Labor Day Weekend!

Patresa Hartman said...

oooh, bennies! i don't ever ever ever want to be a benny. i promise not to be a benny.

i do think there must be something spiritually quarantined about someone who can disrespect the ocean. i don't understand how anyone could stand at the mouth of god and toss bottles and used condoms into the sand.

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