Friday, August 29, 2014

BLOG HOP!!!! PRIZES, FUN & MORE!!!


The 'How I Spent my Summer Vacation' will be giving away a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card through the Rafflecopter. “Sponsored by Christina Cole Romance”. For *my* part...I'll be giving away a FREE copy of my novella, 'Leave Your Hat On'. To enter, you MUST make a comment on this blog about *your* favorite summer vacation. The favorite ( 'likes' or popular vote) wins the hot stripper book.

Here's my entry. :)



How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The summer I was almost eight years old, my parents took me on a 'see the whole state' vacation. Since we lived in this state, we'd probably call it a 'stay-cation' of sorts. Either way, I was excited because it was my first summer vacation I could recall away from my family's farm. And it was the first time I saw the ocean or the mountains.



I'm blessed to live in a state where there are mountains on one end and the ocean on the other. In between is everything from foot hills, to the largest banking center in the southern United States, to the sand hills area where cotton and tobacco once ruled, NASCAR still does, and now golf is King. Yes, this is the Tar heel state of North Carolina. I call it simply 'home'.
Summers in the American south can best be described one way: Imagine being wrapped in a thick wet wool blanket and then stuck into a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven. That's summer in the south. But the heat never bothered me (not as a child, anyway). I'd spend every day outside, helping in the garden with the vegetables, or watching the men in the tobacco fields checking the leaves and making sure the dreaded disease blight never struck. I had many 'secret' places: under a huge cedar tree, where the branches created a natural cave, playing on a hillside to 'bake' mud pies, the wide open fields of sand and forest behind the house where an abandoned train caboose and fallen trees invited me to pretend fairies danced and trolls growled. While I loved that farm and all the secret wonderful places, I couldn't wait to get in the car and see the beach.
But as with all vacations, last minute delays arose and arose and arose and we ended up leaving twelve hours behind schedule. I slept most of the hour and a half trip, and awoke when my mom called my name and said, "There's the ocean." I pressed my half awake nose and gaze to the car window, rolled it down, and breathed deeply of salty air. There was a tremendous roar I didn't quite understand and when my father parked, I jumped out.
It was dark. The moon had yet to rise. But I stepped out barefooted into the sand and wiggled my toes in its coolness. Then I saw dark rolling waves frothed with white. I ran toward them, splashing with delight in the water. When I stood still, it felt like the water was trying to suck my toes further into the rolling waves. I recall laughing with delight and throwing my arms out wide. Pure Joy reigned that night. 



The next day in the bright sunlight, we discovered the sun, while friendly on the farm, burned my skin in minutes at the beach. My second beach night was spent in tears and a vinegar bath, trying to ease the fiery red of bad sunburn. But I had seen the ocean and the waves. I had built sand castles and chased a Frisbee. I swam in water that seemed alive, whispering to me and laughing along as we rolled and played. I smelled the salt and sand and coconut suntan oil of other beach vacationers. I ate ice cream cones fast so the drips wouldn't leave sticky paths on my clothes. Why would we leave such a magical place?
I cried when we departed the beach and started the trek across the state. I didn't want to leave the loud, fun, mysterious ocean. I felt like I'd lost my best friend. Plus the drive was endless, and boring, and no fun. My mom, with the wisdom of a mother, had packed books on tape, plenty of batteries, and a set of headphones. I spent the next few hours happily listening to Cinderella and Snow White, to the Little House stories, and Anne of Green Gables. My dad interrupted me once to point to the growing ever closer mountains and said, "See those cows?"
I nodded, viewing the tiny speaks of black and white standing with impossible balance on the sides of cliffs.
"Do you know how they stand that way and don't fall over?"
"How?" I asked, Laura Ingalls and Anne forgotten.
"They have legs on one side shorter than the other side." My dad replied with a perfectly straight face.
My mom laughed but I was fascinated. Wow. Cows grew legs with different sizes? How cool was that?


Then I saw my first mountains up close and personal.



My dad would say every year after my mouth hung open and my eyes dazzled. They probably did. I felt like I'd never seen anything as beautiful as those mountains: the rolling hills of green, like gentle swells of the ocean waves in another color. They whispered secrets, too, tales of long ago, history they had seen since probably the earth was first formed. When I walked my first mountain trail, when I breathed deep of grass and moss and pure mountain air, I wanted to hug everything. I had come home. In many ways, I never left after that first visit. Now I live here and still, every night as the sun sets in a blaze of purple and dark blue over those still whispering ancient hills, I feel that same magical awe as the first time I saw them.
So I spent my summer vacation discovering an ocean and finding my true home.

OKAY.... *YOUR* turn. Tell how you spent your summer vacation for a chance to WIN!!!!

***SPONSORED by Christina Cole Romance***



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