Summer Dogs

Trip Start Dec 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Today as Gail was sunning herself here in sunny South Carolina I fired up the grill with the thought of putting on a few hotdogs for lunch. While waiting for the grill to get hot I somehow started to daydream back to my boyhood growing up on the New Jersey Shore.

I grew up in a very middle class family with strong roots in its church. My father was a very easy going guy, a true family man and role model but a hard core church guy. We as a family never missed a Sunday, ever. He made sure I was involved in every church group that was available and he would be there right by my side, either as a leader or just for support. Back then I dreaded those group things and would rather have been goofing off like most of my friends but then again the plus side was I was there with my Dad. Thinking back on things now I truly believe this might have been my father's way of dealing with me and all my troubles. Yes, I will admit it; I was the trouble maker in our family. If it could be broken, I broke it. If my Mom said no, I would say yes. Hey what can I say, I was the middle child!

As the grill started to heat up the smell of the smoke somehow brought me right back to 1967 and one of those groups. Every Monday night during the summer months our church would have a family beach night in Asbury Park NJ. At 6PM sharp Dad would pull in from work, change clothes, and get us in the Rambler and head to the beach. A huge section of the beach was reserved just for our church group and we would swim and play on the beach until the sun started to go down. Now the very best part of this was Dad and the other men would set up the grills and lights and cook hotdogs for us all to enjoy. I remember the smell of the charcoal heating up mixed with the salt air and then the wonderful aroma of those hotdogs cooking away. As soon as they were cooked we would grab a dog, holding it in our little hands and bite into that charred salty goodness. No mustard or ketchup needed just the salt air and fresh roll and maybe a bit of sand was enough. Oh my God how good life was.

Eating those hotdogs was one of my best memories as a kid but the thing that I think meant the most to me was the night my Dad called me over by the grills and asked if I would like to help him cook. I think this might have been one of the best nights of my young life. I can remember feeling 10 feet tall. No getting into trouble, no getting yelled at by Mom, just me and my Dad cooking those dogs.

As I get older it’s funny how the most simple of things bring me back in time to my childhood. Sometimes all it takes is the sight of something or the smell of something.

Sometimes a see a grumpy kid in the store getting yelled at and I feel like telling him I know how he feels. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be the "trouble maker". Wait a minute, the smell of something? What the heck is that smell?

Damn-it my dogs are on fire!  
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Kristin on

I love reading your posts! Pop pop was such a great man. I wish he was still around to see you know. I think you keep getting better with age!

Just as you have many memories of the simple things that you and your father would do, the same feeling are there for me. I used to love hearing a "splash" in the pool! I remember the nights we would still be up in the summer and come in with you when you got home from work. I loved the "hippo head" in the water! :)

Althought we weren't such a "church family" you gave me so many fun times and lifelong memories in our own backyard. And I'm sure glad I wasn't the trouble maker! ;) xoxo

No Antipasta on

Don't forget the skate nights and Grams family picnics. You could write a book about the fun we had growing up at Grams

mwall60 on

I have been thinking about those skate nights and Grams also. I think I feel another story or two coming on.

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