It was the summer of 2003, my first time going to Myrtle Beach. It was the summer before I went into third grade at Mineral Wells. I was so thrilled when I found out I was going to the beach. What pleased me even more was the fact that we were going with my grandmother and cousins. The more people the better I always thought and seven was a good number. One hot and very humid July morning, I started packing my new pink Disney princess suitcase which of course my grandmother had bought for me. I enjoy telling people about my grandmother, who meant a lot to me. She always gave us grandchildren anything we ever needed and wanted. She was always there for anyone and everyone too. I loved my grandma more than anything. There wasn’t anything she loved more than her grandchildren. I was overjoyed that I could share my first beach experience with her. So I, my mom and dad, my brother, and my two cousins all fit neatly into my grandmother’s van. I sat in the very back with my cute little suitcase directly on my lap. It wasn’t the most comfortable ride but I didn’t care one bit.
Upon arriving at the beach, the first thing I did was step onto the sand and let my body get into a state of relaxation. As soon as my big toe touched the first grain of white sand, I was at peace. Not the kind of peace one finds after devouring a delicious meal and feeling perfectly full though. No, this kind of peace is associated with Heaven; it’s the type of serenity that you can only achieve under the most perfect conditions, such as when a new life is born. This is the peace that I felt when I went to the beach for the first time. Myrtle Beach had been the perfect getaway. I took an eight hour trip with my grandmother, my mom and dad, brother, and two cousins. They had all been there before except for I. We stayed for a week, oceanfront in an extravagant hotel. We would hunt for imperfect seashells along the shoreline and build sand castles that held dreams of being a fairytale princess. Burying my brother in the sand was always the most fun because he loved it when I dumped the slurry of sand and water over his head. The bits of brown sand would stick to his hair in small clumps and my grandma would yell, “Quit throwing sand everywhere!” I would pretend not to hear what she said over the roar of the waves and continue my burying frenzy until all but his eyes were completely submerged in grainy goodness. Michael would proceed to rise up out of the mound in a slow manner and scream at the top of his lungs, acting like a scary monster and I’d run with great speed into the ocean flailing my arms wildly as if I were being chased by a man with a chainsaw. As if playing at the beach all day wasn’t enough, my grandma would take us shopping and out to eat every night. It turned out to be a great tradition later on. Seeing the boardwalk and being able to stay up past 9pm was a feat that all us kids enjoyed very much. The different restaurants at Myrtle Beach were very fascinating to me. Seeing a giant fire red crab wearing a captain’s hat and sunglasses always meant all you can eat seafood buffet. While driving downtown, my cousins and I would try to see who could spot the most crabs before we reached our destination. Sometimes we would get to eat at the places with giant crabs, but they were never as promising as the signs professed. Usually all you can eat meant “all you can try to grab at the buffet tables before some 400 pound lady pushes you out of the way so she can get first dibs on the crab legs.” Buffets weren’t (and still aren’t) really my style. After restaurant dining, we would always window shop at places with names like “Wings”, “Pacific”, and “Everything under $10!” All of these cheesy, brightly painted buildings held the same cheap trinkets and shot glasses saying, “I’ve traveled to Myrtle Beach and All I Got Were Crabs.” Even so, the shops were still a fun place for a seven year old wanting to goof off. I would try on