Nov. 12—During the week of Oct. 14-21, my family and I spent time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a beach vacation.
My wife Carmen, son Jaxson and I headed out a day early to drive halfway and make the trip a little easier on us.
Then on Saturday the 14th, we arrived at the oceanfront condo to meet up with my mother and stepfather.
We actually stayed in the Garden City area which is close enough to all the Myrtle Beach attractions but far enough away to avoid a large crowd at the beach. I definitely recommend that if you prefer a little less traffic in your vacations but still want plenty of stuff to do.
It had been well over 20 years since I had been to Myrtle Beach, but it was certainly not my first time there.
As far back as I can remember, my grandparents took us there pretty much every other summer during my childhood days.
Then later on, my mom and stepdad took us there on a couple different occasions.
So spending the week in Myrtle Beach brought back tons of wonderful memories of those carefree days.
I remembered how excited I was as a child when we would first get into town and drive along Ocean Boulevard. We would pass by dozens of hotels and I would get just a little glimpse of the water between each building we drove by. I simply could not wait to get out of the car and run to the sand.
With my grandparents, I remember them taking us out to play mini golf, taking us for walks on the beach toward the Springmaid Pier, and also taking us out for ice cream.
My Papaw always went on a daylong fishing trip that took off from nearby Murrels Inlet. And my Nanny always had to go shopping at the big Waccamaw Pottery store and surrounding factory stores.
I also loved when they would take us to the Myrtle Square Mall. Not necessarily for the shopping but just to see the giant clock they had hanging from the rafters over the food court. Just Google "Myrtle Square Mall clock" to see what I'm talking about. It was pretty neat.
Then our trips with my mother and stepfather had a lot of fun too, but also some memories that are more fun to look back on now than they were to experience at the time.
The Hard Rock Cafe pyramid was brand new at the time and had a line wrapped around the building just to get in. It was very cool to see and experience, but we stood in line for over two hours as we waited to get seated.
Then on the second trip with my mom and stepdad, we got caught in traffic when we first got into Myrtle Beach. A ten-hour drive from home turned into a 21-hour trip just to get to our condo.
Unbeknownst to us, it was Biker Week, and we got caught in standstill traffic with bikers for miles and miles and miles.
Definitely funny to look back on now but was certainly an experience at the time.
I haven't even touched on the memories we made this year. They also included some frustrations of their own which are already funny to look back on. But I'll get to all of that in an upcoming column.
I just wanted to reflect on some older memories in this column to emphasize what a blessing it is from God to have these moments. These memories are truly a gift from the good Lord above.
I'm sure I could dig up some old photos from these trips. I know I have a few videos that my Papaw recorded on his camcorder.
But even if I didn't have those to look back on, the memories and feelings I had from those times will be with me for as long as God grants me a healthy mind.
Those times were so special to bond with my parents, grandparents, sisters, brother and others.
I fully understand a beach trip itself might be too much for families to plan. And even for those who are able, it can cause some stress picking out dates and booking rooms.
But just taking a few days or a week to get away from it all and spend time with your loved ones will be a blessing in more ways than you might realize.
Psalm 133 says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"
I look forward to sharing with you all about this year's edition of our family Myrtle Beach vacation. But I couldn't help but start out with the old memories which always get me excited to make new memories.
Those times and those warm fuzzy feelings are a gift from God, and I thank Him every day for those moments He gave me with my loved ones.
Brad Hall is the nighttime editor at the Times-Tribune. He can be contacted at email@example.com.