Thursday, December 4, 2008
It was good to put my bare feet in the sand again for Thanksgiving – and in 60- and 70-degree temperatures, too.
The Burlesons’ regular November vacation to the beach took a break last year. But it was back in 2008 – thank goodness.
Folks usually look at me rather strangely when I talk about a beach trip just before winter arrives. But, honestly, it’s my favorite time of the year to head south to Orange Beach, Ala.
It’s been cooler in years past. But wearing a jacket while walking along the beach is just fine with me. This year I wore a sweatshirt only on the first day.
The beach is far less crowded in November. At times, we were five of about 20 people enjoying ourselves for as far as we could see. Often there were less.
Our condominium complex is far less crowded – this year more than most. Parking near the stairs to our first-floor room was no problem throughout the week.
There are no lines at the restaurants. We just parked, walked in, were seated and got served.
Fabulous seafood is one of my primary reasons for vacationing at the beach. I’m a seafood lover. I couldn’t wait to order a dozen oysters on the half shell – and fried shrimp and fried oysters and so on and so forth. This year we dined at King Neptune’s and The Shrimp Basket, two small restaurants compared to many in Gulf Shores. But they’re two of our favorites.
Thursday, Pam prepared our traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey, dressing and the trimmings. It was great.
Pam, Emma and Erin enjoyed some tasty pizza one night from Chicago Pizza, while Andy and I drove to Mobile for a basketball game between the University of South Alabama Jaguars and the Arkansas Razorbacks. It was a great game, but disappointing, too. The Jags led most of the way and appeared to be headed for the upset over the Southeastern Conference foe. But Arkansas nailed a three-point shot with two seconds left to pull out the win.
We sat behind the goal. In front of us were three big South Alabama supporters. We laughed and laughed because during the opposing team’s free throws, they shouted the players’ names and held up a huge poster of a beautiful girl in a bikini. It worked pretty well. The Razorbacks missed several free throws in the first half.
Our favorite thing to do on the beach is look for shells. Pam always gets the best ones because she gets up early, about 6 a.m. each day, and goes in search. One day our 6-year-old even awoke and made the trek with her.
I did my part of the shell finding later on in the day – from about 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. And I usually napped some during that time in my chair on the beach, too.
The “shelling” this time around was perhaps the best ever. We brought back a good-sized box full – various sizes and colors.
We played soccer on the beach and spent some time in the heated swimming pool.
My wife, somehow persuading Andy to tag along, also embarked on some midnight shopping Thanksgiving night in Foley. They got back to the condo about 2 a.m., I think. I was sound asleep.
Emma and Erin enjoyed a new movie in 3D, Bolt.
Most of all we just relaxed and forgot about school and work.
This was our seventh trip to Orange Beach since the late 1990s. Each time we enjoy reliving special memories of family vacations past.
This one will be atop the memory bank since Emma is a senior in high school and we wanted to make the family trip again before she embarks on a new stage in her life (college).
And we will remember it more, too, because we made it to my mother’s house in Alabama on the return trip just in time to watch the Crimson Tide beat arch rival Auburn 36-0 in the annual Iron Bowl and enjoy another Thanksgiving meal.
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