This past week, I did something crazy: I went to the beach with Bess.
Now, taking a vacation with one's spouse is not, in and of itself, a crazy endeavor. Our four children were off on various summer adventures and we each needed a vacation ourselves, so it made sense that we take one together.
You know, because we love each other and we're each other's best friend and all that.
But Bess is of hearty pioneer stock, which means she spent every weekend of her school-age years rising at dawn to clear land and build a massive log cabin with her family. Occasionally, for relaxation, they would tow a popup camper to Canada and back.
Looking back on my childhood, I'd like to personally thank James Dobson, the evangelical psychologist. My parents read most of his books, including many for which I am not grateful, among them "Dare to Discipline" and "The Strong-Willed Child."
But his one work of sheer genius was "Preparing for Adolescence," in which he advised parents that young people need plenty of sleep. Aware of this, my brother and I would strategically stay up all night every Friday and then sleep until noon Saturday. Our mother would serve us a big breakfast, during which my father would announce our work projects for the day. We would nod dutifully and then say, "Hey, I think Auburn's about to kick off against Ole Miss."
"Is the game on TV?" my dad would ask. Mission accomplished.
So I know how to relax and Bess doesn't. Still, we went to the Gulf for three days and two nights. Most people go for six days and five nights, or maybe even eight days and seven nights. Most people aren't married to Bess. After our three days at the Gulf, we drove five hours to the Atlantic, where we stayed at a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, where you can learn about history and stuff.
But back to the Gulf.When we arrived, we went for a five-mile walk on the beach, cooked an elaborate dinner and had a Scrabble tournament.
Thankfully, by the second day Bess was on the condo balcony tapping away on her laptop and I was sitting on the beach reading "The Corrections" while drinking Tecate and listening to Moby radio on Pandora. These were carefully chosen over "The Art of Fielding," Red Stripe and Del McCoury radio.
Ah, the art of relaxation.
Anyway, while sitting on the beach doing nothing, I thought about my column, which I file every Friday afternoon, even when on vacation.
I thought about writing about our "perpetually failing schools," a current topic but awfully heavy for vacation.
Why "perpetually"? The word means "ceaselessly" or "everlasting." That's pretty hopeless, pretty depressing.
The state of Virginia uses the word "persistently," which means "enduring tenaciously" or achieving something in spite of tall challenges. That could mean their failing schools have a certain grit and character, or maybe they're failing deliberately and could succeed by not trying so hard to fail. Either way, not quite as hopeless as "perpetual."
Speaking of persistent and perpetual, the reason we interrupted our Gulf vacation to drive to the Atlantic was because we needed to eventually pick up two of our sons at Cumberland Island and take them back to football practice at Columbus High School.
We're really looking forward to another season, especially the Carver game, when our oldest son gets to persistently block the Tigers' perpetually large nose tackle. By perpetually large, I mean 402 pounds.
But school doesn't start for another three weeks. For now it's summer, a time to forget about your worries and just relax.
If you're capable of such a thing.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.