Summer Holiday

We have spent a little more than a week in Daytona Beach Shores. It’s our go-to place for vacation each summer, but this year was definitely different. 

No movies. Hardly any eating out at favorite restaurants. We didn’t even try church on Sunday. We mostly ate home cooking, walked the solitary beach, and read.

I finished Erik Larson’s book, The Splendid And The Vile, about Churchill and the Battle of Britain. Also Mary Grace: and the Clarview Girls, by our friend and fellow church member, Debra Downing. It’s really a girl’s book, yes, but perfect for tweens and young teens.

Later, The Clowns of God, by Morris West, and short stories by Hemingway.

We watched old movies and crime shows on TV, too.

Audrey did some painting. It’s her latest passion and she is quite good at it.

Florida is taking the pandemic more seriously than it did a few months ago. Businesses have all their employees in masks, even if many of their customers ignore the rules. We did our best.

We did not see the usual cast of friends this time that we always connect with when we come here. But one night we entertained, inviting our neighbors Mac and Ella, over for dinner. Audrey just can’t help it. We have known Mac’s parents for over 30 years but these were new friends for us. We socially distanced, of course, but thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s meal and conversation.

I got up every morning before 6:30am so that I could go to the nearby Seven-Eleven for coffee and two newspapers. And to welcome the sunrise, too. By 8am, when Audrey got up, I had done most of what I wanted to do. How we spent the rest of the day would be up to her. By nighttime we were ready to crash, sometimes as early as 9:30pm. A game or two of pool, or Five Crowns, a little television, and we went off to bed.

The soft sound of waves brushing the shore easily putting us to sleep.

There was a thunderstorm just about every afternoon. And some were severe, too. I enjoyed sitting on the balcony, 19 floors up, watching the dark clouds roll in. Smelling the rain and being startled by every flash of lightning. There was such thunder as I have seldom heard, too. It was strange, listening to what sounded like cannon rolling across the decks up in heaven—all the while reading about the bombing of London in 1940-41. An apt soundtrack.

No, we didn’t go to church on Sunday—something we always do. It would’ve required a reservation, like at FBCA these days, and we don’t know these people. We watched our own service instead, enjoying the music and Wayne Jenkins’ sermon. Longing to be there, yet appreciating the time away. So thankful to still feel a part of things, though hours and hundreds of miles south of Alexandria.

There’s a certain comfort in going to a familiar place each year. I used to make fun of people who did that— now I find myself returning to Daytona season after season. No need to see something new every day, but just to bask in the sameness of the surroundings and allow God to breathe refreshment into my soul. A chance to recalibrate for the challenging but exciting days ahead.

And that was what I needed this year, it seems more than ever.

I will see you Sunday.


1 Comment


Mary Spangler - August 18th, 2020 at 8:07am

You’re such a talented writer, Don. So sorry we missed you at Daytona this year. I think our cars must have met somewhere on 95–we going north and you going south. Maybe next year!

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