Following the twelve mile drive down the old beach road, we came upon our cottage, the one that Mom and Dad built for us the year I was born and thus began another of the eighteen summers of my youth on that golden strand of beach. The soul was awakened and the senses opened; the sun, sand and sea had that effect. No doctor or medicine could do that, only the blessings of nature.
June was always a beautiful month at the beach, warm but not oppressively hot with the water ice cold, at least for the most of it. The Labrador Current which ran southward offshore took until July to warm up the water. But we enjoyed it anyway, even if we did sometimes turn blue. It was easily cured, just get out of the water and let the warm sun bring back feeling.
Of even more importance for summer residents in June was the lack of hurricanes. There might be the occasional nor'easter but usually hurricanes didn't show up until August, even more after we were back in Newport News in the fall.
When there was no warm water to fuel their fire, hurricanes lacked the special ingredient to be born and to grow. We spent some testy nights in a few of them later in the summer, but with a cottage built by an Outer Banker, they always weathered the storm. The secret was extra strong stilts driven deeper into the sand than code and an extra nail in every shingle. It worked like a charm.
But June of my youth at Nags Head was a long tiem ago in the 1950s and '60s, and that was then and then isn't now. It just doesn't have the same excitement and joy now and location has much to do with it. Like birthdays which as I get older I would just as soon forget, now living in Florida I sometimes would like to skip June, sometimes May, then all the way through September. It's a long hot and humid summer and it's unrelenting with heavy rains and steaming days.
When all is said and done, however, and October comes around, I'm glad to be in Florida, with warm days and cool nights and even a winter that normally is sweater weather at most. I also remember that we aren't in charge of it, God is and He's going to do what he's going to do and it's all in His plan. We are expected to smile, move on and deal with it.
Wherever I am, however, and whatever I'm doing while I'm still on this earth, I will always look back at June and remember those days when it gave me many reasons for ranking it first and I savor those memories. For after all, in the end, it's the memories that mean so much to us.