"Here's to the summer of 1991" my friends and I toasted, at Chicolino's in February 1991, after we signed a lease for a summer house on Parkside Drive. I remember wondering what the summer would bring. I remember being excited to have found a beach community so close to my favorite place, New York City.
On our first trip to the beach that summer, we chose to sit on the right side. Thus our destiny was sealed! We became "right-siders" and I still sit in the same place today...10 years later. I'm still in shock that the Fischer Family now sits on the "left side," Brian Baker sits on "second beach" with his family, and the Goldberg's are straddling "the middle" of the beach! Thank goodness the McGrath's (Chris and Jane), the Donahue's (Mark and Felicia) and the McTernan's (Mike and Julie) are still officially "right-siders," although they've moved closer to the water for the kids.
What did that toast yield? Mostly, happy times with the other "right-siders" sitting around me on that very first day at the beach, now some of my closest friends. Many of those happy times have been in Point Lookout. But many have been in other places, beyond the light. With these friends I've explored other beach communities, traveled to other parts of the world, participated in their weddings and enjoyed being part of their children's lives. Some of these friendships have faded, others have blossomed and are still growing. Still, after all this time, I'm making new friends in Point Lookout.
Every year, in February, I start to think about the summer. Should I get a share at the Point? Should I try another beach town this year? Should I travel to Europe? This February, I already know what I will do. Like many New Yorkers since 9/11, I'm seeking comfort and security from old friends and family in familiar places.
So in February, I'll be toasting the summer of 2002 (at the Fisherman's Catch, rather than the long gone Chicolino's) after signing yet another lease for a summer house in Point Lookout.
Come summer, I'll be on the beach, on the right side, spending time with the friends I made years before.
Friends for a lifetime.