I had a funny memory while walking Ally last night. I was imagining what it would be like to take her with us on a family vacation, the way we took Bo to the beach with us on a couple of occasions.
One vacation – to the Water Island section of Fire Island gave rise to a couple of good Bo stories.
The house we rented was in an amazing spot, nestled between the bay and the ocean, in the midst of rolling dunes. We could see the little pink cottage where my parents shacked up early on in their courtship, and that my mother immortalized in a really beautiful water color painting. For the two of them, I’m sure it was something of a romantic nostalgia trip. For my brother and me, it was a summer of unforgettable, as well as an opportunity to do some epic complaining, which we were very good at doing.
Our complaints had to do mostly with the lack of creature comforts to which we’d become accustomed – TV, McDonald’s, and chain supermarkets. The rustic little general store, which I’m sure filled our parents with the warm fuzzies, didn’t cut it for Mike and me. At one point, in an impressive display of smart-ass, we even spelled out “SEND MORE FOOD” in sea glass and shells on the beach, presumably for passing planes who might rescue us.
The story I recalled involved the ocean side, which, to my dismay, was a nude beach. Like much of Fire Island, it was predominantly male, so Mike, my dad and I eventually got into the spirit and took it all off.
My mother was mortified and chose to stay dressed, her head in a scarf, as it usually was to protect her damaged ears from the elements, and big Jackie O sunglasses. She looked like a celebrity trying to go incognito.
To avoid all the nakedness, my mother decided to walk the dog down the beach, keeping her eyes down as best she could.
Unfortunately for her, however, Bo was a barker, and there was something about all those dangling willies that just set him off. He began barking wildly (and quite specifically) at the junk he saw passing by.
It made quite an image, this Greta Garbo-esque woman, fully clothed and trying to be apologetic while without making eye contact, all the while tugging at the leash of her dog, who was barking and snapping at the peters passing by.