Mike Buzzelli

Reluctant return

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Vacation is over and I’m already a little bit sad. It didn’t help that I drove back from the beach into a torrential downpour just outside of Breezewood. I wanted to turn around and go back down.


Every time I enter the state of Pennsylvania, it rains; five trips in a row, two trips to Rehoboth, Del., two trips to Washington, D.C., and one trip to Virginia Beach. Rain. Rain. Rain. When I moved up here after spending time in Key West, Fla., it snowed when I hit PA, which was particularly sad because it was 81 degrees in the Keys the day I left. I was in the pool a day before I moved. I guess I’ll take driving home in the rain rather than the snow.


Part of me is glad to be home. I love Pittsburgh. It just needs a beach.


I love hot weather. If NASA wants to send anyone to Mercury, I’d volunteer. Just don’t send me in the other direction. I will complain in any weather below 50 degrees.


I miss the water splashing up on the sand.


I know a lot of people who don’t like the beach. They don’t like getting sand everywhere. And sand does go everywhere. Labor Day weekend last year, I found a few grains of sand in my ear three days after the trip. I had showered a few times between the day on the beach and the day I found sand in my ear.


Also, people don’t like having to schlep four million things to the beach: chairs, umbrellas, coolers full of food, soda and beer. I travel light. I bring a towel, a book and a Frisbee. I do feel sorry for people with babies. They have to lug all sorts of stuff to the beach: buckets, diapers, toys, chairs, umbrellas, sunscreen, etc. The list of items even exhausts me. I think if I were a dad, my kid wouldn’t see the ocean until she/he was potty-trained. I give a lot of credit to parents who instill the love of the ocean early on with their kids, lugging all of that stuff everywhere; not just the beach, but restaurants, movies, airplanes. My children would be indoor kids until they were housebroken.


I’ve been going to the beach from before I can remember words. It wasn’t always some exotic location like Florida, California or Hawaii. Sometimes, Erie did just fine. I am pretty easy to please. Just add sun and water, and I’m happy.


They say sunshine is good for you. You get some Vitamin D. I must have gotten my quota. Though, I didn’t get sunburned. I did see a guy who was tomato-colored. Every time I’m at the beach, I’m grateful for my Mediterranean skin tone; I went from my regular olive complexion to Kalamata-colored.


I don’t know if I’m going to get down to the beach again this summer; unless I win the Big Five, because these scratch-and-wins are more scratching than winning.


I have a tan and some memories. I guess that’s all I need.


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