Each summer, the seven of us packed into a station wagon
with our things under an upside-down row boat on top,
and snacks and bread bags full of sandwiches in a metal cooler
and we’d escape like refugees in the middle of the night.
The youngest squeezed between our parents in the front
while the older four stuffed into the back leaning our heads
on each other’s shoulders one way until one of us would say,
“Lean!” and we’d switch and lean the other way.
On the way to Delaware, from Pennsylvania,
we’d always tell our parents to wake us up
when we crossed the Bay Bridge. They never did.
I wondered why until I was a parent myself.
We arrived at the cabins in Laurel, Delaware
as the day dawned. They faced a sandy area
and then the lake with docks, boats and a swimming beach.
For a week we lived in a different world from trees and hills,
having the time of our lives: swimming, fishing,
playing hide and seek with locals and other vacationers.We’d also go to the ocean and sun burn despite Mom’s best efforts.
Then we’d return home where it looked strange, grassy and beachless.