A few weeks back, I took a day off and Mackensie and I headed out for a beach day — just the two of us. It seems funny to even type to you “just the two of us," because, let’s face it, today when you head anywhere, even for a day off or a complete vacation week, most of us remain connected to many other people.
Thanks to our cellphones, which most of us can’t live without, we never ever really get that break. Sadly, it never feels like you are completely with the other person either.
It used to be that when you headed out to dinner with a friend or family member, you had each other’s complete undivided attention, for most of us that stopped years ago.
Most of us do sincerely try, we put our cellphone away, take it off the table, put it in a pocket, but so often as soon as the other person heads to the restroom, even starts talking to someone else, we have to take at least a peek to see who might be looking for us.
If there is no one searching for us, which we all find hard to believe, then most of us can’t resist the urge to check email or if there is still nothing there, we can always jump on Facebook or Instagram.
John and I had this conversation this week. Both of us just don’t like that auto-reply people use when they are out of the office for a short or long period of time. I completely understand it, but when I get one I always feel as though it’s a little rude, when it really isn’t at all. Maybe it just seems too impersonal for me, or too robotic. Maybe if the message was more specific, like “I am taking a week to truly be present with my love ones, to try my best to give them the complete round the clock attention I try to give you…” I might understand it, be happy for the person and feel better about it.
John and I both agree it just feels kind of cold when that reply pops up. Just between me and you, sometimes I feel like the person is saying “Haha I’m away and you’re not.” I guess I’d rather not know or I’d much rather if they gave me the contact name of someone who is covering for them, a real person I could contact if I really needed them. Anyway that’s just us. Who knows maybe we should try auto-reply, just with a warmer message.
My point is that thanks to the blessing and curse of cellphones and email we are never, completely alone or completely with another person anymore. Let’s get back to our beach day.
We headed toward Hampton on a perfect sunny beach day, but it was packed so we continued driving up the coast.
Cellphone reception at Hampton was great. I checked email and my messages and Mackensie checked her stuff. We kept driving up our beautiful coastline and we didn’t stop again until we got to Wallis Sands. This was always my mom’s favorite area. Funny we would never go into the parking lot. Mom’s favorite thing to do was to park, or do your best to squeeze into one of the few spots that are still up on the cliff to your left if you are looking at the ocean. One, it reminded her of where she grew up in a little fishing village in Newfoundland, Canada, and two, we didn’t have to pay the fee to park at Wallis Sands.
Mackensie and I did park in the state lot and the fee is now $15 dollars, cash only.
Maybe my mom had the right idea after all.
When we went down to the beach area, like so many things in life, I remembered it being so much bigger from years ago. We found a little spot where just the two of us could fit and no matter what it was perfect. It was perfect until we realized that there was no phone reception at all.
Honestly, we both got a little panicky at first. We couldn’t call out, calls couldn’t come in, and there would be no checking anything else either. At first I thought about leaving. What if someone needed me?
Then I thought about all the hours my mom and I would spend there without a care about the outside world. Everything would just have to wait until we drove back home. I did keep walking back up to the main road, until I had reception to call John to let him know where we were, just in case.
Mackensie and I spent almost two hours together, and the silence was golden.
We weren't in complete silence — we walked on the beach and talked, we laid on our little blanket area quietly at times, talking when we wanted too.
It was so freeing to not be held hostage by our phones, and the funny thing was the world did just fine without us.
Maybe we should all take a two-hour challenge the next time we are out and about. I had forgotten how great it feels to just be focused on the person you are with.
Now on a side note, if you get a chance to head up to our coast don’t forget that the sand castles are in full swing up at Hampton Beach. When Mackensie and I were there only one sand castle was completed. Now the competition is over, but thanks to Claudia Charbonneau of Better Homes and Garden Real Estate being the fine master at our Rotary meeting, I now know we might have up to six weeks to check them out.
Here’s a few other fun facts. Did you know that Hampton Beach is a barrier chain? A barrier chain is a strip of land that protects the mainland from the effects of weather and ocean waves. In 1933 there was a big flood and it was given to the state. That’s when it became Hampton Beach.
People have loved our beach area since the 1800s. Our sand sculptures competition just celebrated its 18th year. Claudia also told us that the sand comes from southern New Hampshire, often the Hudson area.
The sculptors have only three days to create and they are each given 10 tons of sand to work with. Once they are completed, sculptors spray each sculpture with a mixture of glue and water, this is why they could potentially last up to six weeks.
Cornhole is another one of those things where often silence is golden, too. Not that we don’t laugh and talk, but we tend to ignore our phones when we are playing.
We have a new business in our area. Daigle Pools, who used to be located in Hudson. John and I headed in not for a pool but because John noticed in their window they have cornhole supplies. Want a special gift idea? They can customize a set for you. Pool supplies, too, and they install every kind of pool. My friend Sara told me about this newfangled Radiant Pool, I guess it can be half in the ground and half out. Less worries about New Hampshire ledge and about half the price.
Stop by the store near where I grew up at Kendallwood Condominiums, 3 Mohawk Drive, Londonderry or call them at 821- 9084. Special thanks to the store manager Jim Moro and his assistant Will Smith who showed us around. So happy the owner Don Daigle picked the Londonderry/Derry area as their new home.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.