A busy hot Summer is ending and school has begun. We have been so lucky to have enjoyed good times in Sea Girt this season. Margaret and Jim and Paul and Deb, as always, have been so generous and gracious to open their homes to all of us. We took some time off from work in August to enjoy some beach time with them and to coincide with Betsy coming back east. She was here to bring Paul to Haverford for his freshman year and to visit with Kate, newly employed Haverford grad who is living in Philadelphia. Kate was able to come up from Philly on the weekends to join us. Also, the beginning of the week was my sister-in-law Debbi’s 60th birthday. Paul and Deb enjoyed a special birthday weekend in NYC before joining us. Nonna was down and there were visits from Cindy, and Matt and Allison and their girls.
We had beautiful weather this summer and enjoyed some of the best beach days we had in past years. However, high tide was especially rough. The day always started with Al’s early morning camp set up so the rest of us wouldn’t have to worry about carrying stuff down. Six chairs and three umbrellas neatly set up and positioned just in front to miss the tide rolling in. This set up did spark some reactions from nearby beach goers who wondered who we were and why we needed to set up so early. During the week we noticed the ocean wipe out many beach goers parked in front of us who weren’t quite as savvy.
As always, the main topic of conversation was “what are we eating”. We did make attempts to keep it simple and healthy. A menu constant had to be the tomato. The new raised garden bed in Paul and Deb’s yard produced an abundant crop. They were stuffed, roasted, sauteed, sliced and diced. All delicious. Jim Dale, the consummate griller, thrilled us during the week with lobster, tuna, chicken, steak, egg plant, corn to name a few. The kitchen stadium was always a flurry of activity. As fast as things were prepared and eaten the clean up crew were just as industrious so dessert could be served. One highlight of the last course was a fantastic tripled decker chiffon cake layered with macerated berries and fresh whipped cream that Betsy made. It was…sick and scrumptious. While enjoying the cake and joking about keeping it simple and healthy Nonna made a comment for the quote book “this would be great for breakfast, it has eggs and fruit and cream.” I guess it’s true, kind of.
We enjoyed plum and berry galettes that Betsy made especially for my daughter Julia who looks forward to that when Betsy visits. I put my request in for a savory galette with leafy greens and ricotta. She also made a delicious olive bread.
One day Betsy and I decided that the planned dinner of spaghetti and meatballs was too heavy and too much work. I went a step further and suggested I would make spaghetti squash and it would be just like pasta. She looked at me surprised and unexcited and then admitted she had never had it before. No one seemed too thrilled about the idea but after eating it everyone was pleasantly surprised. Niece Michele said, after her second helping “it isn’t terrible.” However, they said it was no way a substitute for pasta. Indeed. Cindy, who’s a vegetarian, was my only supporter with the pasta replacement idea.
There were a few good games of Scrabble that were exciting. However, the true excitement was Perjaggle. A birthday gift for Deb that I knew she would like and we would all be obsessed with. It’s a game/puzzle where players try to fit their pieces into the board sockets as fast as they can. It was addicting and fun and of course we found a way to make it super competitive.
Matt and Allison came for the day and the girls had fun on the beach playing with their cousins. They took turns burying each other up to their heads in the sand. They ended up staying overnight and the girls loved their “sleepover party”.
Every morning, I joined Margaret and Betsy for a long walk along the perimeter of Sea Girt. Betsy thought it a good idea to bring my dog, Diego, with us. He enjoyed the walk and best of all he was too tired to bark for the rest of the day. We all enjoyed that.
Earlier in the week we had a big scare. Me, Betsy, Margaret and crew were in Costco picking up Paul’s things for school and shopping for food and necessities. We got a call from Jim in the emergency room that he had been hit by a car while riding his bike. He told us he was fine with the exception of a big gash on his leg that needed to be stitched, some big bruises and his bike was ruined. We really knew he was going to be ok when he wanted to make sure we didn’t forget to bring home the lobsters for dinner that night. Relieved, it was scary nonetheless.
We had a fantastic last big dinner. Al had the idea to get skirt steak. Grilled perfectly and accompanied with polenta and grilled asparagus and eggplant from our garden back home. Paul made a few pieces of cod and I made the big salad. I think this dinner was especially delicious because our time together was coming to an end.
We had a wonderful time down the shore this year. It was great to see everyone and spend time together. Here are some photos that Deb and I took that also include Paul’s trip to Haverford with his mom and God mom Aunt Deb.