I was 13 and it was midsummer. As usual, I met my schoolmates at the Lions Club shack on Lewes Beach, then we spent the day frolicking in the bay.
Frolicking meant showing off for the girls by flipping jellyfish at them, pulling them underwater, and humming the theme from “Jaws” after sailing a mile offshore and dumping them off the Sunfish.
Everything was great until the time I surfaced for air to find my father, hands on hips, standing at the shoreline. He was dressed in navy blue slacks, a light blue buttoned-down shirt and brown dress shoes. Dress shoes in the sand? Dude.
“Better get on your bike and head home, son,” he bellowed. “Storm’s on the way.”
The other kids snickered. Swell, I thought. I’m on the verge of impressing the girls and Mr. Weather Channel has to bust my rap. I wanted to flip something more than a jellyfish at him, but I dutifully left the water, dried off and pedaled my 10-speed home.
A few years later, I was working as a meter cop at the same beach when Mr. Storm Tracker struck again. I had just met the cutest little blonde near the Lions Club shack and was about to pop the question—Grotto and a movie?—when around the corner came Dad in his beat-up blue Jeep. “Hello, Drew,” he bellowed. “I want you to come home early tonight. The forecast is calling for bad storms.”
Swell. A 70 percent chance of thunderstorms and a zero percent chance of Drew getting a date.
Many years later my wife, daughter and young son are enjoying a day at Lewes Beach, not far from the Lions Club shack. A little girl walks up to my son and packs a glob of wet sand down the seat of his trunks.
Jake grabs a handful of sand—guess he can’t find a jellyfish—and chucks it in the girl’s face. I run down to the water, yell at him and yank him out of the bay.
It reminds me of the day my father walked down to the water and embarrassed me in front of the girls.
Hey, Jake—be thankful I wasn’t wearing dress shoes.