Monday, September 28, 2015

Beach Hair, Just Don't Care

I've been fortunate enough to travel to all kinds of places in the world over my lifetime. I've lived in South Korea as child, with all it's massive temples and markets. I've eaten fish and chips in Scotland on my honeymoon. I've even walked through the Louvre and seen Mona Lisa's lopsided grin in person. But nothing speaks to my soul quite like the damp air and overcast days of the Oregon Coast.

There are just certain places that leave a definitive mark on your heart. Places that connect you to the times in your life that were full of joy and laughter. For me, one of those places has always been a small town in Oregon called Lincoln City. My in-laws have had a beach house there for many years and have kindly allowed my entire brood (and random Wade family members) to descend on them for weeks at a time. Brave souls indeed. 
Before I married Graham, I'd never been to the Pacific Northwest. Every beach I had ever visited was hot. They were the kinds of beaches where the sand would burn the bottoms of your feet if you forgot your flip flops. But the Oregon Coast, now that was something entirely different. The beaches there were all about campfires and sweatshirts. The wind seemed to blow from all directions, leaving my hair a wacky mess, damp and curling on the ends. A few hardy people braved the water, but most were content to relax on the shore and watch their kiddos skim board. And here's the thing- from the first time I walked out on that wet sand, I knew I was hooked.

Mary and Gene spent many years searching for the right house to call their own at the beach.  Despite their efforts, most of the houses they saw didn't have "it". You know what I mean here. It's that gut feeling you get when you know something is just "right". It defies logic and relies solely on a feeling you get in your bones. There were a couple years I was lucky enough to tag along on this house hunt. And even though I do like to think of myself as modest, the truth is I recognized which home would end up being theirs the minute I walked through the little side door. The floor tilted a little to the right, the stairs were a tiny bit steep and it was love at first sight as far as I was concerned. Luckily for me, Mary and Gene loved it as much as I did. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Whenever we go to visit Mary and Gene in Oregon, Graham and I always get to stay in what we call the pink room. It's the bedroom at the top of the stairs, behind the pocket door. It has a huge picture window that takes up almost all of one side of the room and overlooks the ocean. You can lie in bed, open the side windows and hear the surf crash on the beach all night long. It is, without a doubt, my favorite place in the world to be.

But this home is so much more than just it's incredible views. This is the house where we stay up late at night and play scrabble after the kids go to bed.  It's where we solve the New York Times crossword puzzle together over coffee and cereal.  It's where a puzzle table stays up all week while we work our way through 750 pieces. It's a slower, easier, more restful pace of life. It is a gift my in-laws have lovingly  given me and my family for over 20 years. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

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