It was the days before SPF 30 and worries about cancer.
Summers meant swimming, wave riding, sand castles.
Catching blue claws by the pilings with two paper cups.
Handball with a pinky ball, Frisbee artistry with a Whamo,
watching old guys play quoits, Canadians playing bocce,
college kids from Maryland with their lacrosse sticks,
or Natives practiced pitching shells into holes in the sand.
Some wore cut off jeans with thick leather belts, others
insisted on wearing Birdwell’s or Ocean Pacific trunks.
Gorgar pinball, Galaga, and air hockey in Frank’s Playland.
Pennsylvania Dutch root beer, crinkle cut fries in little red
checked paper boats with flat wooden two prong forks,
fifty cent hot dogs, frozen Cokes from Clark’s, then on to
miniature golf at the foot of Jackson Street with windmills,
statues of seals, keeping score with stubby green pencils.
Hole in one on the last hole got you another game free.
Next door was Sid’s Place, later it was called Carney’s,where
music blasted, people drank and laughed loudly all day long.
No need for shoes or flip flops, we walked bare foot and used
painted white lines to avoid the burn of Beach Drive’s asphalt.
We’d lie on the jetty’s hot black rocks to dry off and daydream
out loud, wondering how we could keep this up for the rest of
our lives. But we knew it’d end, because summers always do.