High, gauzy stratus clouds stretched thinly across an azure sky, while the sun breathed warmth onto our wintered skin. "If the temperature went up about 10 degrees," I announced over the sound of waves steadily transferring energy into quiet foam, "this would be a perfect day."
My husband cracked the seal on a chilled Corona and passed it to me.
"Did you get a lime at the grocery store?" I asked.
"Aw, no, I didn"t even think about it," he answered and agreed, "Lime would make these better."
"That, and if a smooth, bronze cabana boy brought them at our whim."
"And if you had on a bikini," he added, scanning the endless view in both directions, his gaze fixing on something in the near distance, "like her."
"If the wind weren't so chilly, I might." My toes wriggled in the soft, white sand.
"I need a Koozie."
"Mama," one of our boys interrupted his daddy, "can we get another skim board? So we could all skim at the same time and we wouldn't have to argue over the two we have," he negotiated.
"I don't know," I replied. "Will y'all quit eating near me? These seagulls give me the heebie-jeebies, like they plan to peck out my eyes and force me to regurgitate the chicken wing I ate."
Curling his lips at the picnic spread, another child complained, "What else do we have?"
Before the head of household could start an inevitable monologue about being happy with what we've got, a gull swooped down from behind and swiped a biscuit out of my daughter's hand. Within seconds all four children, snarfing a smorgasbord of chips, fried chicken, apples, and biscuits in various stages of consumption, crowded next to our chairs. Seagulls circled.
"I sure would enjoy our vacation more if y'all would take your food somewhere else to eat it," fussed their daddy, his lecture on the merits of contentment forgotten.
Tiny granules flew in our faces from feet sprinting in four directions. "The one thing I would change about the beach," I grumbled and spit, "is the sand."
The surf undulated in a soothing rhythm. The sweet smell of the salt marsh drifted up from the south. To the north, gray ocean and blue sky back-dropped ships carrying colorful, rectangular patterns of cargo in and out of the mouth of the Savannah River.
Again the trivial obscured the panorama. "See those people over there, with the four flags on that pole?" my beloved pointed toward the victims of his attention. "They hung the flags in the wrong order. The University of Georgia flag should fly under the American flag and above the Tybee and pirate flags."
Nodding my head, I revealed, "I thought the same thing. I have a mind to go tell them."
"Tell them to turn up their radio, too, while you're there."
Music would make this a perfect day, I mulled, my hand resting on the Corona next to me.
A kite darted and shimmied and danced in the cobalt afternoon. Palms lazily waved. My children's laughter rose and fell from where they cooperatively built a sandcastle. With nowhere to be but there, I leaned my head back and shut my eyes.
"Aah!" a sharp yelp escaped my pipes. Cold water bubbled over my bare feet and retreated. "Oh man," I griped. "We've got to move everything again. Why do we bring all this stuff just to migrate around with it?"
Sunny. Warm. Spring break. The beach. It was a perfect day.
Yet, somehow, even paradise is never enough.
(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist, freelance writer and author of If Mama Don"t Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)