Laughing Dolphins And Beach Attire

Memorial Day was the unofficial kick-off to summer and as the children get out for a short vacation from school, many of you may be wondering already how long it will be until fall gets here. The zinnias in your flowerbed haven’t even started turning brown yet and the Katydids are not even singing their songs, but stores have already marked their 4th of July stuff down 35 percent. I’ve even seen school supplies out in colorful displays. My question is, what’s the hurry? It’s time to enjoy summer and put that toothpick holder that we bought last year at Souvenir City on the table and reminisce about that great vacation on the beach and make some plans to do something exciting again this year.

I use my summer months to take in the local festivals and atmosphere. I like to check out the many farmers markets, area garden events, livestock shows, historical locations and music happenings on the public squares. Summer is just meant for these sort of things and it also gives you a chance to be part of the family backyard happenings as well. I’m one of those who had the opportunity to go somewhere to relax before the travel rush, thus giving me a head start on summer excitement. I just hope your travel destination goes to a place where people will be wearing more clothes than what I saw on my recent vacation.

Before you let your thoughts go too far, I did not go to one of those camps where people only wear smiles. I couldn’t make that visit because I needed a pocket to carry my change and my recent surgery left me with an unusual scar. Now you can let your thoughts go as far as you want. However, I did make a trip to the beach in L.A. (lower Alabama), and witnessed some very interesting sights. Those sights were some that my forefathers would never have believed. If they had seen what I saw, they would never have written those famous words, “All men are created equal.”

On the beach you immediately realize that all men or women are not created equal. In fact, many of us are not created to wear anything less than overalls and a topcoat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging, just merely stating facts.

I used to never take a vacation, other than a few days off to do work around the homestead. Over the last few years with my age moving upward, I decided all work and no relaxation soon kills you. I know that’s not the way that little saying is suppose to go, but mine is more truthful. So, with my family in tow, I escaped to the beautiful white beaches of Alabama to bask in the sun and relax. I rented a blue beach umbrella and a beach chair from a “beach-type-person” named Cody (the perfect name for a beach-type-person), and settled down to some serious ocean and people watching.

As people strolled by in their most recently purchased beach attire, I noticed one thing in common that I had with these people. They evidently enjoy pizza, fresh bread and dessert just like me. The only difference between these people and formerly ole corn fed me, was I tried to keep as many clothes on as possible. The older I get, the less light I put near the full-length mirror. I understand there are some things that need to remain undercover and never investigated. One of those is what some of us look like without a full suit of clothes. After spending time in the hospital recently and signing all those privacy papers, I learned that those papers had nothing to do with what I considered privacy. I feel like enough people know too much about me already from that visit, so the beach crowd dealt with a more formal me.

With the temperature near 90 degrees, there I sat under a big umbrella in my give-away tee shirt, swimming trunks dating back to the eighties, large straw hat and using sunscreen with a rating that would only allow the light rays from an atomic blast set off beside me to pass through. I’m so white I glow in the dark.

As people would pass by, I could only think that God really has a good sense of humor. I’m sure those same people were thinking the same thing about me. There were also dolphins jumping in the ocean directly in front of me as I watched from my beach chair. They were making those funny chattering noises they normally make as they swam near the beach. Scientists say they do that to communicate. To me, it sounded more like they were laughing at all of us on dry land as we pretended to enjoy the sun and heat.

Nope. None of us are created equal when it comes to body form. If we were, the beach sure would be dull.




– Pettus L. Read is Director of Communications for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.  He may be contacted by e-mail at