Dear readers • Most of the questions for this column come to me via email, but sometimes people will ask for advice in person. Knowing that I’d just returned home from a weeklong beach vacation with extended family, a friend — who’s leaving for a family reunion this weekend — asked for tips to help make her vacation memorable.
So here’s what I did. I put her question to my actual family members, whose responses follow.
Go to Seaside Bakery and buy some donuts.
If you’re feeling generous, buy enough for everybody and take them back to the rental unit.
If you’re not feeling generous, eat all the donuts before you run into the rest of your family.
Take three or four books to read on the beach.
Accept the fact you won’t actually read the three or four books you took to read on the beach.
Take bikes to ride on the boardwalk every day.
Accept the fact you won’t actually ride those bikes on the boardwalk every day.
Go to Seaside Bakery and buy some more donuts.
Also cronuts, which are deep-fat-fried, donut-shaped croissants. FYI, they were invented in America, not France.
YES! AMERICA IS SUCH AN AWESOME COUNTRY.
Wake everybody up at midnight and tell them the grunions are running.
Grunions are small mythical fish that no one ever actually sees, even though they woke up at midnight.
Take off your headlamp, go back to bed, and promise yourself you will never again believe your brother when he tells you the grunions are running.
Go to Seaside Bakery and buy some apple fritters in addition to donuts and cronuts because your neighbor Rick back home in Salt Lake has texted and asked you to eat an apple fritter in his honor.
You do, which makes you wonder why you’ve been wasting all your time on donuts and cronuts all these years.
Appoint your youngest brother to be this year’s Official Bingo Caller. Remind him to use your dad’s favorite gags. (“I coulda had a B-8!” or “Where do you get your kicks? ON O-66!”)
Your dad loved calling bingo games so much, he should have been an Irish priest, calling bingo games in a church basement somehow. Preferably Ireland.
Take a minute to miss your dad.
Keep playing bingo until every last kid in the room is crying because they didn’t win.
Realize the reason your brother never called “O-61” is because he accidentally put that bingo ball in his left pocket. Brothers! Always accidentally putting bingo balls in their left pockets!
Unless you want to freak out family members, don’t mention you saw an actual baby shark swimming around until AFTER the vacation is over.
Although it must be said that freaking out family members can be muy entertaining!
Be sure to send plenty of pictures to the family members on the East Coast who couldn’t make it out this year.
Include pictures of yourself eating some donuts.
Grab hold of each day with both hands because you never know what changes the coming year will bring.
Meanwhile, here’s wishing all of you a wonderful summer season.