Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Braving the Breakers and Baring It All (One of Those Embarrassing Moments)

Summertime, and the livin' is easy... Oh, summer has always been a special season. As a young girl, and later, as a school teacher, I have always had a soft spot for summer vacation. My students didn't believe me, but I told them I probably loved summer vacation even more than they did. It was true.

When we were kids, our family's favorite vacation spot was Myrtle Beach. There always seemed to be a preponderance of French Canadians at the Lake Arrowhead Campground. I was thrilled to meet French-speaking people because one day I hoped to be a French teacher. (Yes, that was my dream until my sophomore year of college when a very dear and respected professeur sat me down, and we had a little "come to Jesus meeting" about the realities of my French proficiency, or lack thereof. But I digress...) One young girl who became my friend, Chantal Richer, wore a "Joyeux Campeur" t-shirt. I would have given anything to have a cool Happy Camper shirt like Chantal's, en fran├žais, especially!

A visit to the t-shirt shops on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach was an annual tradition for us. We loved to laugh at the naughty and tacky souvenirs in the buildings that sold everything from sunscreen, which we never bought, to things made of coconuts to beach chairs to inflatable rafts. Next to our Myrtle Beach t-shirts, the rafts were the most fun of all.

One day, Daddy and I took our canvas-coated raft out to where the breakers were. We had to push past the crashing waves, so we could position ourselves to catch a good one to ride our raft into shore. We misjudged a wave, and it swept us under the pounding surf. As the water had its way with me, I was knocked about under the water, scraping elbows and knees against the sandy floor, and tumbling all the way into shore where the water was only knee deep. I brushed the strands of stringy hair out of my eyes, stood up, and looked around for my dad. He was only a couple of yards away.

"Whew!" I shouted over the roar of the water, "that was enough to knock your suit off!" Oh, the irony. Dad tried unsuccessfully to alert me to my present state of undress. "Necie...Necie..." He waved his hands wildly, directing me to do something, but exactly what, I wasn't sure. Discreet wasn't going to get the job done.

"SIT DOWN!" he yelled, as he tried to push his way toward me through the pounding surf. Puzzled, I looked down to see that I was only covered by the lower portion of my one-piece swimsuit. I promptly sat down in the water, and fumbled with my suit, finally connecting the two ends of the straps behind my neck. "Next time you're going to provide a show, let me know, and I'll charge admission," he teased me.

Mortification set in. I didn't know which was worse, that I had just bared my breasts to an entire beachfront of strangers, or my dad had seen me topless. I was 18, I was young, and I was embarrassed.

We decided to call it a day, and I scurried away from the surf toward our campsite, in search of clothing with more secure coverage, leaving Daddy to drag the raft by himself. If he was chuckling, I wasn't ready to hear it, and he probably knew I needed some privacy to get myself back together. I kept my head down the whole way, not wanting to make eye contact with anyone who may have just witnessed one of my most embarrassing moments.

You would think with all of the klutzy experiences of my life, I would be used to being a little red-faced in public. All I had to do was think how funny the situation would have been to me if it had been ANYONE else but myself, and then it was easier to see the humor in the moment. Daddy and I never mentioned it again, to each other, anyway, but I know we both found it to be funny. We're Beidlers, after all, and Beidlers love us some slapstick humor, especially when it involves bodily functions...or accidental nudity. 


  1. OH.MY.GOODNESS!! What a riot......and of course, How Humiliating!! I was snickering so much, my kids and hubs wanted to hear what I was reading. They appreciated it too. lol I just love your dad's comment about charging admission. What a hoot! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I'm dying. I'm sorry your misery caused me so much laughter. Mortifying.

  3. Luckily you were at a beach with many French Canadians. Working in a French immersion school with many French Canadians, I know that they would have taken something like that in stride more amused by the English girls embarrassment. Those things happen. C'est la vie.

  4. I must confess. I laughed til I cried while reading this. But as someone who is easily embarrassed I can relate to the 18 yr. old girl.

    Your Dad, he was something. Mine, too. They would have liked each other.


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