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A Refreshing Knapp – Beach offers contest for worst burn (June 24, 2015 issue)

For those of you raised on a farm, you knew vacations were for city folks, movie stars and rich people. Vacations for you happened during floods, blizzards and such. Now, it seems farmers and everyone else goes on vacation, and half of the people living east of the Mississippi went to Myrtle Beach along with my wife and I, and some of our kids and grandkids last week.
Being raised on a farm I’m not exactly sure of the purpose for a vacation, but it appears to be a contest to see who can come back home with the worst sunburn. I really didn’t want in on that contest and wore a tee-shirt most of the time, though it didn’t help the top of my feet which are still red and tender.
Sand sharks must infest the waters near the shore, as my granddaughter, Haley, found at least a couple of dozen shark teeth to bring back and impress her friends. Finding those teeth is the “in thing” at Myrtle Beach. Half the people at the beach are bent over staring intently at the sand to see if the last wave washed any of the small black teeth ashore.
This was not true for my 9 year old grandson, Dustin, who found it more entertaining to be buried alive in the scorching sand. Laying buried for 30 minutes with just his face poking out, I was sure he would come out cooked to “well done” as the temperature soared above the 100 degree mark. Instead, he came out full of energy begging to go to a nearby water park.
The whole group joined him on this venture. Zipping down those very high and twisting water slides, at speeds faster than any sane person would consider safe, gave me the same thrill as it did years ago. However, during the last trip I somehow got turned backward and landed headfirst in the pool at the end of the slide; water is still sloshing around in my left ear.
After that jolt, I made my way back through the stifling heat towards the air conditioned motel. Leaving, I could hear Dustin trying to persuade his father to take him over to the Zip lines. Only daredevils are attracted to those things. If you are brave, or foolish enough to try them, they strap you into an untrustworthy looking harness and give you a shove off a high platform. The lines appear pretty unstable, and must feel that way too, as the majority go into panic mode; screeching and yelling as they zip down the last half of the quarter mile stretch. Fortunately, I had the good sense to realize I could do without that added thrill. Safely back at the motel, I took a well-deserved nap.
My wife, Frances, who had never been to the beach on vacation, quickly got over her fears of sharks and unpredictable hurricanes that had kept her away for years, and was quickly romping in the water having a great time as she tried to keep her balance as the breakers came rolling in. I think she enjoyed the ocean more than anyone. She did lose the worst sunburn contest; coming home with a nice smooth tan.
For the other half of vacationers, still planning their beach vacation this year, I do have some advice: Do your shopping for essentials before you go as there is definitely a sticker shock for everything from suntan lotion to souvenirs. Also, if you’re looking for that special beach dress or tee-shirt, visit several shops. Most carry the same things and prices vary widely from one shop to the next.
The local cuisine is different and delicious, (crab legs for example) but a little pricey.
“Put it on one bill,” I gregariously told the waiter. When the bill was presented I started to reach for the one $100 bill I was carrying in my billfold – then I eyed the cost and had to pull out a credit card. They don’t have Tri-City prices in Myrtle Beach, but they do have the ocean.