Childhood summers hold a significant stake in the memory real estate of people’s minds. One of my fondest memories was when my extended family would go on road trips to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. My immediate family lives in Minnesota, so that is where our trip began. Five hours later, we reached extended-family-central in Illinois. Every year we would spend the night at my grandparent’s house, and then at around 5:00 AM start our seventeen hour trek to North Carolina. These car rides were fun, but by hour twelve, everyone was ready to get to the beach house and relax.

We always stayed in the same beach house. It was truly a home away from home, and every summer my family flooded into that familiar space. However, one year, there was a new addition to the house. Nobody noticed at first because everyone was scrambling to unpack the car so they could go to the beach, but there was a hammock chair on the balcony. Little did we know, this chair would be fought over by children and adults alike. It was so comfortable and would lull you into nap mode in seconds.

After we were done at the beach, everyone came back to the house and air dried on the balcony. The balcony had a post-card view of the beach and the rolling waves, which on its own was enchanting. Add a hammock chair, and you could not help but drift off into a sense of deep relaxation. After the first person sat in the chair we were all hypnotized by is swinging motion. Subconscious light bulbs went off in all of our heads, and everyone instantly wanted to sit in that chair. Unfortunately, twenty people cannot enjoy a single-sized hammock chair at once. The war had begun.
“Hey, get out of that chair, it’s my turn now.”
“NO! I just sat down two seconds ago!”
“It’s been like twenty hours since you sat down, get out!”
The kids were not the only ones fighting like this over the chair. My uncle, Uncle Goofy as we call him, threw in a few move-it-or-lose-it’s. Towels were flying. The children and Uncle Goofy were piling into the chair. Things got out of control. The whole scene looked a bit like children fighting over the last piece of piñata candy at a birthday party. Eventually the more level headed adults noticed the ruckus and forced a peace treaty upon us.

After this initial tug-of-war over the hammock chair, we weren’t quite so hostel about its use. There were a couple tears shed by children, and Uncle Goofy “had something in both his eyes,” but we learned to share. One of my turns in the chair was shared with my baby cousin after dinner. We rocked back in forth before the moonlit ocean, and she fell asleep in my arms. I would have fallen asleep too, but my chair time was up.

It’s funny, the memories you take away from vacations. That hammock chair was the best investment the owners made in designing the beach house. It was addictive. After ten years of Sunset Beach trips, the children grew up, people got busy, and we couldn’t go on the trips anymore. I hope someday to take my own family to that beach house, and if we are lucky, the hammock chair will be waiting for us.

Author's Bio: 

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