Flights from Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore brought my grown children and grandchildren to Jacksonville for family holidays Florida style. Cars were rented and driven to nearby Ponte Vedra Beach for the start of week-long Camp Lander: my ambitious plan to unite the group.
But, what happens when you move fourteen people into one house—including two one-year-olds and a three, five and seven year-old?
More squabbles and tears than I had anticipated. Oh yes, lots of fun, too.
Thankfully, the Sunshine State blessed us with clear skies most of the week. We applied countless layers of sunscreen as kids frolicked in the ocean, built and rebuilt sandcastles and chased after beach balls. Hunting for sharks’ teeth became a favorite activity with Poppa Jay setting the record of 47 in one day. Giggles, hugs and irresistible smiles of delight beamed from the youthful faces.
The kitchen acted as the hub of activity where an amazing quantity of cooking and eating took place. Not surprisingly, we drank more than a few beers and bottles of wine. Thankfully only two trips to the Urgent Care clinic were needed for ear infections.
Camp Lander came to a close with the celebration of Independence Day, the Fourth of July. The family created their own brilliant flashes of light like the dancing fireworks in the sky. They burst on the scene, boomed and sparkled, faded and then dispersed leaving behind stillness and memories.