Memory Days

Written By: Hailey  Coffey

I pushed my bare feet into the pebbles of the unfamiliar beach and wiggled my tiny toes deeper to plant myself into the ground to defend against the approaching wave. My grandmother was out shoulder deep in the water floating, being mindful of the waves so she could protect her hair. Danny and mom were back at the umbrellas watching and laughing as Grandpa jumped into the water and splashed my grandma who didn’t find the action as humorous as the rest of us. The water was beautiful everyone was laughing, and happiness was found on the unfamiliar beach some miles east from our home in Coram, Long Island. This little adventure to the strange Hampton beach was typical for my family during the summer. My grandma would call them, “memory days.” She would wake us up early with the smell of pancakes or waffles and when everyone gathered around the table she proposed a location to travel to, and everyone would eventually agree or give in. Then everyone would get ready and pile into the car and off we would go to the site previously suggested, but we would never get there. We would always get lost or sidetracked and run into something else leading us too far off our predetermined path to return to our plan. And the spontaneous adventures would always be the best, making them the most memorable hence the term, “memory day.” Like all amusing journeys, getting there was only half the fun. We would all jump in either my mom’s car or my grandparent’s car with tote bags filled with sandwiches, and sunscreen; we would always be prepared for whatever that day would bring us. Those car rides were almost as memorable as the places we traveled to. The radio would be on and everyone would be talking— conducting even more noise. This was especially annoying when someone wanted to hear a certain song or the traffic report. But all of our mini brawls would end with my grandma cracking a smile and eventually laughing at how ridiculous we sounded. And of course her contagious belt of laughter would interrupt the argument and after a few minutes we would all be giggling. That was the power of a memory day. Everything would be so peaceful and joyous that no one could stay angry for more than a few minutes. A few of my favorite memory days were held in Eastern Long Island. We once drove until we found a gigantic Adirondack chair in someone’s yard. We drove past it. “Did you guys see that?” I asked pointing out my window at the almost ten foot chair. My grandparents shook their heads and on the lonesome back road my grandfather made a U-turn and they laughed at the goofy sight. “Get a picture with it,” my grandpa said, turning on my small digital camera. My grandmother and I ran quickly to the chair and my grandpa snapped a few blurry pictures. We hurried back to the car and began our memorable travel which led to a new favorite restaurant. Another time we found our way to a small beach and bought a Frisbee. I was tossing it with my grandpa and brother when suddenly my brother overthrew it into the dunes. We ran over and spotted several deer. We never expected to make another memory day and that’s the joy of those times— they create themselves. Miles away from home in the quaintest Long Island towns my family would be making such extraordinary memories. Watching the sunset at a vineyard concert I have realized that life presents you with tons of amazing experiences. And you don’t need to travel across the globe to witness what the world has to offer. You also don’t need to be with tons of people doing exhilarating activities. I’m happiest when I am with the few people I care the most about. I feel the most in touch with myself and the world when I’m knee deep in the clear Long Island water, or sitting in the cool grass on a distant farm. I am at peace when I can close my eyes and have no idea where I am but be grateful that I found such an amazing place with such great people. All you need in life is a few meaningful individuals and a sense of adventure. That’s all someone needs to create great memories. That and the most amazing backyard New York has to offer—Eastern Long Island.