A Trip Last Summer - Part 3

By Corey Nicolaides - June 05, 2019

We’re finally in Massachusetts! The Air BnB we’re staying at is in Ipswich, Ma, and we decided it would be best to go there first, unload our stuff, and then drive up to Nana and Gumpy’s in Salisbury.

Alaina booked Molly’s house (the Air BnB - bottom floor of this duplex) because we weren’t the only one’s visiting for Andrew and Liz’s wedding, and we wanted to make sure Aaron and Lindsay had enough room at Nana and Gumpy's.

During our drive through New York and Massachusetts, Alaina got a call from Nana, or it might have been a text from Aaron and Lindsay, with some bad news: “We think Lily was exposed to Hand Foot and Mouth!”

Alaina gasped and ... "NOooooOOoo!"

We thought this would be the first week where we all, kids included, got to go everywhere and do everything together. Nana had big plans for Legoland and the beach, fun at Nana and Gumpy’s house, church, etc. We just couldn’t risk exposing Ayla to Hand Foot and Mouth right at the beginning of our trip; Plans had to be adjusted. Ayla and Lily would have to be kept separate, at least until we knew for sure if Lily had HF&M. This was difficult and confusing for Lily and Ayla, and especially disappointing for Nana, Lindsey, and Alaina.

This wasn’t the only difficulty Nana and Gumpy were facing. They’d been experiencing serious electrical issues for days, maybe weeks, and even though they’d gone to great lengths to fix it all, they still didn’t have power. Well, they had a tiny amount of power. Imagine you can only power your fridge and a few lightbulbs, and not at full brightness. That’s the kind of power “brown-out” they were dealing with. This also meant no A/C, no hot water, etc. Nana is resourceful though, and found a way to make it work for her and Gumpy, and for Aaron, Lindsay, Lily, and Mason. I think most of them had to shower at Planet Fitness.

We finally arrived in Salisbury and pulled up to the beach. We were less than 100 yards from the shore and just a quarter of a mile from Nana and Gumpy’s.

The familiar smell of the marsh isn’t always pleasant per se, but it’s an effective trigger for recalling excellent memories. The first time I visited this place was in 2003, shortly after Alaina and I started dating. I’d never even been to New England prior to 2003, and I’ve never been out here without Alaina. So the smell of the marsh, the sound of the surf, the angle of light, the sounds of the beachgoers, the various colors and shapes of the buildings and houses … it took a segment of my brain and pulled it back 15 years for a little reminiscing while we drove up Beach Rd.

Alaina and I were happy to finally be there, but Ayla was absolutely ringing with excitement as we pulled up to Nana and Gumpy’s for the first time.

Ayla was full of questions and talking non-stop.

“Where’s Gumpy?”
“Oh can I see that picture?”
“Is that you?”
“What’s this?”
“Can I feed Copper?”
“Oooh can I see that?”
“Nana, can I see your bedroom?”
“Can we…”

Ayla and Nana doing a little cardio.

I caught this terrified reaction as we told Ayla this was Gumpy’s movie theater. She’s SO scared of movies.

(They'll have to explain that one. Hehehe!)

We didn’t have any big plans for the afternoon, and we were still waiting for Gumpy to get home, so the four of us got in the car and took a drive up the coast.

Ayla was very excited to see Gumpy when he got home from work. She danced around again and told Gumpy all about her treehouse plans, her imaginary cat, and our “trip house”.

I was craving the kind of good, fresh, seafood we just don’t have access to back in the Midwest, so Nana and Gumpy treated us to a tasty seafood dinner! I ate way more than I should have, but, “When in New England!”

One of my favorite things about being on vacation is having the time to just sit and talk about stuff with the people you care about most. It’s difficult, in the day-to-day, to find the time or to justify using the time to do little more than have discussions about current events, changes in life, future plans, etc. Vacation offers that time, guilt-free, and I like that. We sat and talked well beyond the end of our meals. We even talked about politics without the conversation devolving into a nasty collision of opinions.

It was getting late and we’d started the day pretty early in NY, so we thanked Nana and Gumpy for dinner, said good night, and drove back down to Ipswich.

Next: Ayla takes the train!

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