Thirty Years

Posted On August 4, 2023

After thirty years of the same family tradition – I give some thought to the future.


For the thirtieth year in a row my SUV left my garage headed for the North Carolina Coast the second to last Saturday in July. If we weren’t in it, it would go by itself. It’s what we do. It’s what the car does. And it was packed tight with everything from fishing gear, to bed sheets, to food, to 150 oysters in the shell on ice, two cakes from Bake My Day, and a case of get-along juice, also known as wine. My in-laws have rented a house on Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina every summer and we are all expected to be there – there were sixteen of us.

Question for you – Name one spouse you know or have ever even heard of that’s vacationed in the same place, in nearly the same house, with the same people, on the same days every summer for thirty consecutive years. Unless that person is me or my sister-in-law, that person doesn’t exist. I can’t speak for my sister-in-law, but it makes me… Well… I don’t know what it makes me. Honestly, it makes me afraid for my life to declare that having vacationed in the same place, in nearly the same house, with the same people on the same days for over half my life that I’m now ready to do something different. It wouldn’t go over well.

It’s this week at the beach every year plus a few weekends in the fall at my father’s camp in Clarke County, Alabama that I’m reminded of the great disparity in penalties for loud noise in the nighttime versus loud noises in the morning. This does require some explanation:

I go to bed early. After about nine PM, I’m useless and am eager to get to sleep and start again the next day. However, some of my family like to whoop it up at night and at 9pm they’re just warming up. They make lots of noise. They’re having a ball. But little consideration is given to those of us that retire early. There’s little penalty applied for keeping us from getting to sleep or waking us after we’ve fallen to sleep.

However, the reverse is not the true. I’m an early riser. And early risers must tip-toe through the house, careful to not make a sound or else face the wrath of the late sleepers. Their being inconveniently awakened by the early riser’s God-awful sounds of the unloading of the dishwasher or the brewing of the coffee are intolerable fouls against the family’s 30-year-old tradition. I’ve come to live with it. It’s a small price to pay. It’s not a big deal. But there’s some sort of economy that needs to be flushed out regarding penalties for preventing sleep versus penalties for awakening sleepers. Small penalties are applied for preventing sleep. Large penalties are applied  for awakening sleepers. Its’ not fair but we live with it.

How long will this yearly tradition last? I don’t know. My children have grown such that we now need two cars to make the 22 hour round trip. And if we decide stop one year, we’ll know when that week comes because the SUV will go anyway. It’s simply what it does.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.


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