The term “beach read” started out as an advertising gimmick for books published in the summer for the beach-going crowd. They were non-challenging books, a bit frothy and fun, and could be almost any genre as long as the story was good enough to keep one’s attention but not so serious it would spoil one’s vacation. Nowadays “beach read” seems to be an actual genre, generally a romance or woman’s story that takes place at the beach. In a typical beach story, three sisters who are all at a crossroad in their lives end up at the family’s beach house, often to figure out what to do with house they jointly inherited in the hope that a sale will help solve their various issues. The book ends up with all their problems being resolved as well as the three disparate and far-flung sisters reconnecting and reestablishing their sisterhood.
My sisters recently came to visit, and I couldn’t help thinking I was living in a real life “beach read.” They weren’t here to help resolve the issue of our parents’ house because that had been taken care of eight years before. (Oddly, they just happened to be here on the eighth anniversary of our father’s death, but it was our mother we toasted with her favorite Bailey’s Irish Cream.) And anyway, this house is a done deal — it’s mine and mine alone.
We had no serious issues to resolve, and no true crossroads, though both sisters are dealing with a change in their circumstances, and the visit allowed them a respite from their respective issues. We had reconnected as sisters during our first “three sisters” weekend, but we haven’t all been together in the intervening four-and-a-half years. And rather surprisingly, this was the first time ever the three of us spent the night alone under the same roof.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous about hosting this gathering (three women and one bathroom seemed an untenable equation), and I didn’t know how generous I’d be about sharing my house. But it all worked out well, perhaps because they didn’t stay long, just a couple of nights. It was fun being with people who had known me most of my life (I say “most” because one sister is eight years younger and one is twelve years younger). And it was especially nice solidifying our sisterhood.
Even though I live in a town way out on the prairie, we even managed to spend some time at a beach!
The body of water — a reservoir — is huge, 30 square miles, and is adjacent to a 13,100-acre state park. Obviously, there wasn’t a whole lot of the place we could explore in one afternoon, but we managed to see several beautiful areas and take some stunning photos.
Unlike the characters in a beach read, I don’t suppose any of our lives were changed by the visit, but it definitely was a special time for all of us.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.