When it’s 95 degrees in the shade, where else would you go but the beach, right! They say “Mad dogs and Englishmen (women) go out in the midday sun,” and perhaps they’re right.
For the first 25 years of my life, in England, we went to the coast every year for our holidays; nothing fancy, just a week at the seaside. Since I came to the USA some 45 years ago I’ve been to the coast on only one occasion; a brief stay in Virginia Beach, and I’ve really missed that whole ‘holiday’ experience. So when it was suggested that we go on a day trip to Galveston, while visiting family in Houston, I was all for it! Never mind that the heat index had reached 101 degrees at times that week. I wanted to go to the beach!
Our first stop was the beach near Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. The current pier, opened to the public in 2012, replaced the original pier that was destroyed in 1961 by Hurricane Carla.
There weren’t too many people about, although footprints in the sand indicated that we weren’t the first folks to visit the beach that morning.
But for that moment in time it was just me and this laughing gull – at least I think that’s what it was; he seemed fairly amused about something – standing, gazing out over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Bearing in mind that we were only in Galveston for a short period, I said goodbye to the gull and we went our separate ways, he to look for something to eat while we ventured further along Seawall Boulevard to East Beach. Having found a parking spot that didn’t involve the car sinking mid-wheel into the sand, we made our way across a wide expanse of beach before reaching the water’s edge.
From a distance it looked very much as though the passing cargo ships had come aground but upon closer inspection it was apparent that all was well and the flow of sea-going traffic was progressing smoothly.
There were a few more people around by this time but there were no takers for the chair rentals. At $30 a day, most seasoned visitors had the foresight to bring their own seats and umbrellas.
One of the things I always loved about walking on the beach was looking for shells or bits of seaweed and although there wasn’t quite the variety of items that once graced my childhood nature table, there were some interesting finds among the bottle caps and broken glass.
Despite the heat, there was the occasional breeze blowing which made being on the beach tolerable and I could have cheerfully stayed there all day, but apparently that wasn’t the plan so, reluctantly, I trekked back to the car, taking in one last glimpse of the waves as they washed ashore. I hope I won’t have to wait quite so long for another trip to the seaside. Sitting on the beach in Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan somehow just isn’t the same.