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Spring break loses its allure with age

By Staff
Beth Chapman, Guest Columnist
Remember the days of excitement and anticipation for Spring Break? It was the week that you got out of school and packed for the beach. Beach towels, sunglasses, candy for the long trip, suntan lotion (not that you were going to use it) and all your favorite cassette tapes (or eight track tapes for some of us), for the long ride to the beach.
Underneath the suntan lotion was the bottle of Johnson’s Baby Oil for those who wanted to really get a tan. Translated that meant getting burned to a crisp, frying yourself like the Colonel fries chicken. Having red hair, freckles and blue eyes, there was little hope for me coming home from the beach looking like anything other than a giant red lobster.
All the night life plans were properly prepared, where you would go, which of your friends would meet you there, how many of you and your friends could sleep in one hotel room - who would get the beds, who would sleep in the floor and yes, even the tub in some instances.
The old saying is spring has sprung and fall has fell. With regard to Spring Break, I must say that spring has not sprung - it has broken for those of us who have been out of high school for more than two decades and beyond. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but only a few.
My husband and I recently took our two sons and one of their girlfriends and another friend and her daughter to Destin for Spring Break. At this age what I packed to go to the beach was a little different than years ago.
Extra, ultra, mega, new and improved sun screen replaced the baby oil, Tylenol, Ben Gay, Aloe Vera, one-size-fits-all tent dresses, Diet Cokes, Slim Fast Bars and fruits are among the things packed, as if diet foods would counteract the five pounds of fried shrimp and fried oysters I would eat when I got there. Gatorade replaced the cute little drinks with umbrellas in order to prevent dehydration and the young people on the beach just stare at you and think, “I am never going to look like that.” Yeah well, I said that once too - 110 pounds and three necks ago.
I no longer sit on the beach and watch the guys go by – I just sit humbly dodging harpoons as I watch all the young girls stroll along the beach and wonder how in the world they get by without being charged for indecent exposure. I tie my tennis shoes with bigger strings than they strategically place on their tiny bronzed little bodies. But not to worry, one day those same young women will live to have their swimsuit top change from a 38 C to a 38 long.
I no longer own a swimsuit, so you would be more likely to see me in a morgue than in a swimsuit. Actually, I would look and feel much better in the morgue and my family wouldn’t be nearly as embarrassed.
As for the sun, who needs it? If you live long enough your freckles connect to make you tan enough anyway. At 46 years old, I am hot enough, and I don’t mean hot as defined by young people today. Literally I am hot - all the time. I am so hot in fact that Al Gore has put me on his top 10 causes for global warming.
Oh well, Bob Dylan said it best when he said, “Times - they are a Changin’.” Remember Spring Break? The excitement and anticipation for it is still there, just not for me.

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