Tropical Magic

If you take a lot of winter vacations, you’re likely aware of a bygone phenomenon. Years ago, you’d catch a plane, train, or automobile to the Sunshine State or some other exotic destination. Someplace where summer was already in full swing. Once you arrived, the very act of pulling on a pair of shorts in the middle of winter always used to carry with it a certain magic. Nowadays, it seems like the thrill is gone. You arrive at your tropical destination, schlep your bags to your room, do a quick-change, and you’re instantly in Beach Mode. That transformation used to be a sacred rite of winter vacationing. Nowadays, it seems to have lost its enchantment.

There is no better illustration of that lost magic than Spring Break. My buddies and I drove down to Daytona Beach in 1982 and again in 1983. We suffered through the 17-hour driving marathon with nothing to do but read, sleep, listen to music, and ask the driver, “Where the hell are we again?” The answer was always the same. Georgia, the never-ending state. There was no better feeling than finally arriving at your Daytona motel, shedding your salt-encrusted jeans, and pulling on your cut-off shorts.  Then storming the beach, in search of hot girls in bikinis. Summer was finally here! At least for one glorious week.

My wife and I recently took a two-week vacation to Hawaii. Of course, the first thing we did when we arrived in Maui, was to pull on a pair of shorts and hit the grocery store. About halfway through our shopping expedition, it hit me. What happened to the Shorts Magic? (Not trying to sound pervy.) Maybe it’s because we travel so much, that feeling of tropical exhilaration has faded over time. On our next trip, I am going to take a moment to relive that Spring Break feeling. The pure joy of being young and having a non-stop, seven-day party ahead of you. I’m sure I’ll snap back to reality when my wife asks if I’m ready to hit the Winn Dixie. However, I’ll take a little longer to pull on my cargo shorts as a salute to days gone by. Party on, dudes!

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