Our German ancestors saw to it that most of our family are pretty fair-skinned. The first night of every vacation at Myrtle Beach usually involved gently applying a light layer of aloe vera to the victims of the sun's rays. Blistered noses and shoulders were par for the course. Tanning would come later, after the peeling skin had begun. We could count on a couple of us getting "burnt to a crisp."
Each time we visited the Carolinas, we tried to include some of our old traditions: eating Jackie's chili on the first night, enjoying a shrimp-fest, laying out on the beach, going out to dinner, checking out the t-shirt shops, playing miniature golf, and let's not forget, keeping the kitchen stocked at all times with Krispy Kreme donuts.
From our childhood vacations at Myrtle Beach, we all fondly recalled buying Krispy Kreme donuts out of the station wagon that drove through the Lake Arrowhead Campground. No one was making home deliveries along Ocean Drive when we returned with the next generation of Beidlers, but you can bet Daddy saw to it that we had a steady supply of donuts stocked in the kitchen of our beach house.
The night I had to tell Dylan that his Granddaddy was gone just three months ago was such an emotional time for us. We just held each other, and cried softly. After awhile, we began to talk about our favorite memories. Dylan wiped his eyes, and a smile started to spread across his face.
"Tell me. You have to tell me something good, if you thought of it," I begged him.
One year my brother Eric designed t-shirts for our family reunion at the beach. I love how his mind works. On the front of the shirt, it said "Beidler Beach Bash. Cherry Grove. 2006." As an English teacher, I just love the alliteration. And on the BACK of the t-shirt, were these words:
Breakfast at the beach always included a lovely assortment of donuts: glazed, jelly-filled, chocolate-covered, and creme-filled. Daddy loved making the kiddies happy. Hardly anyone bothered to make breakfast on vacation, but we could count on Daddy's pancakes one morning, and Krispy Kremes were available most of the other days. Most of the kids would select their donut, and head to the beach with their breakfast and a beach towel.
When it came time to say goodbye to Granddaddy, my youngest struggled with what to do. The day of my father's celebration of life, there was a family graveside service for our close family friends and us. We were given a chance to say a few words, and some shared a favorite memory or two. The grandchildren had each been given one of Daddy's duck or goose calls, and then my brother Danny explained that since those goose hunting trips had been such a favorite memory of Dad's, we were going to send him off with a goose call salute, like a 21-gun salute for revered members of the military.
During a quiet moment at the family home later that afternoon, Bridger asked me to come with him to the store. He had figured out how he wanted to say Goodbye to Granddaddy. I felt it was a fitting tribute, as I watched my son's last moments with his Granddaddy that day. I just know it made Daddy break into a big smile.
Daddy always said, "It's the thought that counts." And what a very sweet thought it was.