By Rebecca Borman
Once a year, either in the spring or the fall, the Chandler Bormans travel to Cocoa Beach, FL, and we stay in our timeshare at The Resort on Cocoa Beach. This year’s trip, as you would imagine, was a different kind of trip.
There were more than just COVID complications. Erik, Josey, Mackenzie, and Carter (as well as their two labradoodles Bentley and Bailey) moved into a new and still-being-renovated house on September 30. In addition, Carter had important soccer games on both weekends of our week. After a lot of discussion, Erik encouraged us girls, Josey, Mackenzie, and Nana, to go without him and Carter. Josey and I talked about it, and we decided this trip would be good for all three of us, though we would surely miss the two boys. We discussed our safety protocols and purchased our airline tickets.
The trip to Cocoa Beach is a long day; it’s many hours in the air, connections along the way, a three hour time difference between Arizona and Florida, car rental, and an hour drive to the Resort. The trip east couldn’t have gone more smoothly, but it was midnight when we finally got to our “home” for the next week. We had our choice of two units, and we chose the one on the eighth floor, as we knew it would provide a good view of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River.
Our first adventure was a trip Sunday morning to the nearby Publix grocery store. We weren’t sure how that would go, because we’d heard that many Floridians were resistant to wearing masks and social distancing. But, we were comfortable in the store, which wasn’t crowded, and everyone we saw was appropriately masked. We took our time and bought food, drinks, and beach supplies for the week. Three beach chairs, check! One boogie board, check! Life is good.
Mackenzie thought it would be fun to go out for dinner on our first night, to the Sunset Grill, on the Banana River, which is our favorite place to eat. We hadn’t treated ourselves to restaurant dining since early March, but we chose to go and were happy that we did. The seating is all outdoor and there were only a couple of tables with diners. We enjoyed our meals so much: fried shrimp and oysters for Josey and me; steak, Caesar salad and a decadent dessert for Mackenzie. And as a special treat, before we even sat down, we saw a dolphin and a manatee in the river. Good call, Mackenzie!
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were perfect beach days. We set up our chairs, distant from other beach-goers, and enjoyed the waves and the sun. Josey and Mackenzie played in the waves for hours, and I sat on the edge of the water, “only worry in the world is the tide gonna’ reach my chair.”
We walked the beach and found peace in a place that we love so much. For us, going to Cocoa Beach usually includes numerous visits to Ron Jon Surf Shop. Mackenzie’s birthday is in early March, and her gift from me was to be a shopping trip. That didn’t happen because of COVID. So I told her she could do her birthday shopping trip in Ron Jon.
She was one happy young lady. She found many cute things and it will give me pleasure to see her enjoying them. Josey and I also found many cute things and went back several times to make sure we hadn’t missed something!
In some ways, this beach trip was quite different. We were careful and thoughtful about where we went; we wore masks everywhere, and on our travel days learned what it’s like to wear a mask all day–and found it challenging; we cooked more in our room and ate out less; we didn’t get into the elevator if another group was in it; we missed Erik and Carter.
And, yet, in many ways our experience was as usual: we ate delicious seafood; we walked on the beach and enjoyed the water; we hung out at the pool and made use of the Tiki bar to order food and fun drinks; we watched a beautiful sunset over the Banana River.
In a time that has been a challenge for everyone, our week at the beach was both a new adventure and a chance to enjoy some familiar things. I think none of us will take our ordinary beach activities for granted in the future.