Beach Scenes: Spring Break

by Lee S. Wilbur

Gulf is calm and warm today. Early this year, like April in mid-March. Sun seekers stand in turquoise water to their waists, spaced in groups of twos, fours and six. Stand-up paddlers on oversize surf boards slowly stroke the water while easily balancing on soft undulating waves.

Lovers embrace, heads just above water. An occasional tufted white cloud gives relief to a clear burning sun. Cooling northers of winter surrendered early, bringing heat and humidity for “Spring Break.” Beach is crowded.

There are few children with buckets and shovels today. They come and go with parents or nannies, staying but a few hours. Perhaps it’s too warm for their chubby, innocent bodies.

Two college boys throw a football in high looping passes, suavely completing one-handed catches as they survey the crowd for young female counterparts.

A fully clad 80-something couple shuffles slowly and painfully along, dreaming of other days, determined to enjoy their remaining beach years.

Cute young, alabaster-skinned, college student in a new bikini nervously tugs at her briefs and halter, revealing to her audience this may be the first time she’s ever worn such revealing beach attire.

Two early middle-age ladies “of society” stride by, one wearing reddish eyeshade with a matching sheer scarf disguising a recent neck lift.

White-skinned, white baseball-hatted, pseudo purple-palmed, one-piece, spandex-suited, plugged- in lady health chaser, prime physical condition, stops before the end of the beach some 100 yards away. She changes stations on her tiny radio, sighs, takes a drink of water from waist-mounted, insulated water bottle, and determinedly begins to jog back in the direction she came.

Another health addict in spare red T top, black shorts, takes overlong strides with a look of pained determination, her mileage checker in one hand, critical signs hookup in the other.

The relative quiet is broken by growling monoplane towing a banner back and forth, back and forth, extolling happy hour and margaritas at one of the local bars. His fuel low, he soon disappears.

Towhead boy child in popular, - printed, below-the-knees swim suit, life-jacketed, hugging a sippy cup struggles to break away from black-suited mother and her two girl friends. One, easygoing, great smile, perfectly tanned wearing pink, small plaid bikini chases after the boy.

A Sarasota society gentleman, expensively clad in bermudas and polo shirt, older, thin, looking like a beach walk is part of his daily routine, hustles along, looking neither to the right or left, disgusted with all this humanity on “his” beach.

Young man in late 20s, perfectly clipped flat top, dark green shorts, polo shirt to match with Sarasota Sheriff’s Department insignia drives by at waters’ edge on a bright red 4-wheeler, staring straight ahead as he carefully maneuvers between beach chairs, blankets, umbrellas, coolers, people: “patrolling” the beach.

Tanned, gorgeous, 30-something, Spanish descent, raven hair, classic turquoise suit protecting perfect pert breasts on the cusp, with large designer sunglasses shielding her eyes, small black scarf suspending raven hair in bun as she pensively walks knee deep in the water, parallel to the beach, stopping occasionally to pick a shell from the water, inspecting it, then returning it with a slight languid toss.

An overly generous well-fed belly, pulls along an older, grey haired gentleman wearing military green ex-Marine cap and red and white striped dark blue bathing suit and necklace of gold chain, accompanied by his equally generous wife clad in white polka dotted blue, skirted bathing suit. His proud stride suggestive of years on the drilling field.

Two aged, bronzed, gay men pause from walking. The taller hands his shirt to his shorter, nervous, partner and walks delicately, yet purposefully into the water. Immerses himself for only a few minutes, and returns to stroll.

Sun is working on its final descending arc as an orange/red dyed shoulder length hair, tattooed, cutoff-jeaned, and belted woman, hair shielding a face belying many hard nights, 3-year-old son in tow settles on her blanket.

A balding, later 60s guy, with sunburned tan puts notebook and pen in his knapsack along with several empty water bottles, pushes himself stiffly from an old and worn, padded beach chair and walks to the inviting water for his final swim of the day.

Good friend Pat Ridlon has the most delightful habit of bringing a small bag of recently baked “goodies” whenever she comes to friends’ homes. Have to wonder how, with her busy schedule of golf, volunteering for charities, and social life, she manages to squeeze in extracurricular stove time.

• R E C I P E •


Pat’s Sugar and Spice Cookies (the best, the best)

3/4 cup half butter, half margarine

1 Cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup Molasses

2 cups flour (plus)

2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground cloves

3/4 tsp. ginger

Confectionery sugar

Heat oven to 375 deg. For a 10-12 min. bake time. Mix butter/margarine, sugar, egg and molasses thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and stir well. Now, this is a tricky cookie dough. Pat says she adds more flour (can be up to a cup more) until she can roll out the dough and also refrigerates it to make the dough even easier to roll out. Don’t be afraid to add more flour. Finally, roll out thin. You want these cookies as thin as possible to release their delicate spicy, sugary, heavenly flavor. (ask me if these are not my all-time favorites). When they’ve cooled, dust with the confectionery sugar. Let me know if I’m not wrong.

Fair winds and Good roads.


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