When traveling, it's good to plan ahead. It's even better to go with the flow.
It was raining when we arrived at the beach. Not just raining. Pouring. And not just cold. Unseasonably cold. Unseasonably, as in more or less winter.

Through rain-streaked windows, we drove down a slender two-lane road, appraising the situation.

"Dad, there's a mini-golf," exclaimed our 12-year-old son, Sam. "Can we play?"

"Sam, that stuff falling from the sky? It's called rain."

"That's the best time to play," he said. "We played in a thunderstorm in Ireland."

"First of all, that wasn't mini-golf," I said. "That was golf golf. Second, in Ireland, if you don't play in the rain, you don't play. Third, it was stupid."

"So can we play?"

What is it with 12-year-olds? I swear I'm talking. I hear the words coming out of my mouth. But unless I utter something along the lines of, "Why don't you blow off your homework this evening and watch TV instead," the words just seem to evaporate before reaching their ears.

"Probably not tonight," my wife, Jessica, said.


It was early evening and already dark. We blasted the defroster, which formed small clear circles at the bottom of an otherwise enfogged windshield. It was, I thought, beginning to look a lot like Christmas. After driving around checking out all the shuttered businesses, we pulled into a hotel on the beach.

We managed to open our car doors against the gale-force wind and get the luggage to our room without incident.

I joined Sam on the veranda.

"Isn't the beach great?" he said.

I glanced over at him. Was he joking? His rapt expression told me he wasn't.