Beach Days – The Good, the Bad, and The Awful

Our family loves to go to 104 – the condo my Daddy bought at Daytona Beach. We have many traditions and special memories that are associated with vacationing at Daytona. Some of the memories are good; many are funny; and a few are awful. Today I made one of the awful ones, but you’ll have to read on to find out what it was.

The Good

This week JB and I made a spur of the moment trip to the beach. It’s nice to be at the age and stage where we can occasionally do something spontaneously. I suggested that we load the car Tuesday night and leave at 5:30 Wednesday morning. Being a morning person, I assured JB he could sleep and I would do most of the driving; we could be at Our Deck Down Under in time for a late lunch! Not being a morning person, JB came up with Plan B; he suggested leaving late Tuesday afternoon when he got home from work. I wasn’t going to argue since more time at the beach is more time at the beach, but did tell him I would have to drive first and then give it to him when it started getting dark. He agreed and off we went at 5:10 Tuesday afternoon. Things went fine for a while …

The Funny

We switched seats in south Georgia and soon saw the sign “Welcome to Florida.”  I should never have looked down but started reading something and had my head down for a while.  When I looked up, something wasn’t right; I could just feel it.  “Oh, no, JB, you missed I-10 again!” This is not the first time this has happened; he swears the signs for I-10 are very small, but I just think his creative mind gets on other things and does not take notice. He’s really a good driver, but does make his navigator feel needed at all times. At least it was just the two of us and no one would ever know … right? After finding an alternate route we eventually got back on course and arrived at 12:30 am, just 20 minutes off our original ETA. One more for the memory book.

More of The Good

We spent the next few days doing a whole lot of nothing – it was wonderful. We always laugh that packing for a trip to the beach we bring too many clothes and too many projects. The down time always wins out and the projects and excess clothes usually just go back home in the same bags they came in. Getting up for the sunrise everyday, walking on the beach, and sitting in the sun take lots of time and allow for much needed reflection — nothing beats these traditions. God’s revealing of himself, his creation and his compassion is truly new every morning.

For years our family has laughed that the biggest decision we have to make every day is where we will eat supper that night. Seafood is our favorite so we hit all the old spots and occasionally try a new place. Preparing a few meals at the condo has also become part of the family tradition, especially some good boiled shrimp with our special family shrimp sauce. On this short trip JB and I enjoyed three great meals out but never got around to our shrimp dinner at home. Today he flew back to Georgia; instead of my driving him to the Orlando airport, he insisted on riding the DO bus – the Daytona-Orlando shuttle bus directly to the airport. I delivered him and then stopped at Publix to get some fresh steamed shrimp to bring home for my lunch and supper.

The Awful

Two ladies in front of me at the seafood counter bought a little bit of everything and had to have much conversation between each choice made. I was waiting and waiting, but finally got impatient and turned to the frozen seafood section just behind me. There I saw the frozen shrimp you just have to thaw and eat – the ones we had purchased for a party a few months ago. I grabbed a bag thinking, “this will have to do this time.”  All the way home I was regretting not waiting to get the fresh shrimp. When I arrived at the condo I was hungry and looked at the instructions on the bag to confirm I just had to run cold water over the shrimp for about five minutes and then they would be ready to eat. While they were thawing I made the special shrimp sauce and could hardly wait. I drained the water off, patted the shrimp dry then dipped one and took a big bite.  It tasted awful — gooey and gummy and sticky. Of all times to get a hold of some bad shrimp. Thinking it might have just been that one shrimp I tried another one, but had to spit it out. These were just turrible! I quickly wrapped them in paper towel and put them in a plastic bag to throw away. I drank some cranberry juice to try to get the awful taste out of my mouth. Starving, I grabbed two eggs and scrambled them for my late lunch.

While putting the scrambled eggs onto my plate I suddenly had an ah-ha moment. Surely not … oh, no … oh, yes … oh, gag….  I opened the freezer to look at the bag again, confirming my worst nightmare. Those shrimp were raw! They were not the pre-cooked ones; no wonder they were gray and slimy and gooey and gummy. Retrieving the shrimp wrapped in paper towels, I sautéed them in olive oil and Old Bay seasoning. They turned a lovely shade of pink and were actually delicious – once they were cooked! I could not wait to call JB and tell him what I had done. This would never have happened if he had been here. That boy knows his shrimp and he would have saved me from eating them raw. Even after eating the cooked ones I still kept thinking about how the raw ones felt in my mouth. I ate an Oreo thinking that would make it go away; I drank more cranberry juice, I even brushed my teeth with Arm & Hammer toothpaste. Still I have been gagging a little all afternoon. Sure hope I don’t get the toe-mane poisoning!

More memories for the beach collection ….

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