Spring has arrived here and with it has come the first whiff of summer.
In my world, if any part of your warm sunny days are to be filled with rides at either local boardwalk you will end up buying at least a pocketful of tickets. There are a variety of ways to buy these things - one of which comes in book format.
Today we partook in an annual tradition. We headed to the more family-friendly of boardwalks and purchased a book of tickets (good all season and then some.) With our purchase came a second book for free. Grandma and I pulled our money and bought the $50 books. That means a $100 worth of tickets will giddily be used up by two little red-heads - or, in the terms that really matter, 240 tickets.
It seems like a lot. I know.
Yet before we could leave the boardwalk, the young imps had to christen the start of the season with whirl around a favorite ride or two. Logan went solo on the truck loop. Megan went "round-and-round-up-and-down" on the merry-go-round.
Gone were 8 tickets.
The three of us then enjoyed a spin on these over sized dragons. My PBS Kid fans call it the "Dragon Tales" ride. You sit in the belly pulling yourself and your dragon round and round, faster and faster until you're all laughing too hard at your own dizziness to spin any longer. As soon as the ride ended Megan declared "DO AGAIN!" Logan agreed. Grandma took them.
Between the two rounds we turned over 30 tickets.
We left. $50 (plus lunch and a few rounds of Skee Ball) lighter. 38 tickets spent. Good time had by all.
It was as we walked to one of the indoor pizza joints on the boardwalk that I smelled it. At first it came with a normal breath and then I had to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Deep inhale. Yes. It was. There was a strong smell of summer in the air even though the ocean breeze was keeping the air cool and damp.
I don't know if it's something specific about this coast - or to these beaches - but it's there. A very distinct mixture of sand, salt water, taffy, coconutty-sun tan lotion and perhaps a pinch of cotton candy. It mingles together in a scent that always acts as balm to my soul.
My smile must have had passer-bys wondering about my sanity.
"Can you smell it?" I asked my mother.
She inhaled and then nodded. "It smells like summer."