It’s interesting to see what people bring home from a vacation, whether they find it free along a beach or tax their credit card buying it.
During last month’s family excursion, my 17-year-old daughter, Anna, enjoyed buying new items of clothing for herself at one of the countless stores in Gulf Shores, Ala. When she took my wife, Nancy, and I back to shop some more, the landmark we were told to look for was a large shark outside the store.
While the items of clothing Anna bought for herself, Nancy and I did agree to buy our daughter a remembrance. And despite the fact she already has multiple pairs of sunglasses, that is what she wanted.
It must be noted that while I’ve set no speed records when it came to picking out a pair of sunglasses, I am faster than my youngest daughter.
“Which pair do you think I look best in?” asked Anna.
It’s a trick question that females love asking males because invariably whichever one the guy chooses invariably goes to the end of her preference line.
“I think they all look great on you,” I replied in an attempt to show it was not my first “what looks good on me” rodeo.
Ultimately, Anna chose a pair of sunglasses with reflective lenses and bright yellow wire frames.
Normally Nancy’s souvenir is a T-shirt promoting wherever we went on vacation. That’s why you may see her in T-shirts that promote South Carolina in general and Myrtle Beach in particular.
This year, however, she didn’t buy a single Gulf Shores shirt. Instead, Nancy and her sister, Gloria, found an outlet mall with a shop that had items featuring the color, style and fabric that Nancy likes.
“See my ‘souvenirs,’” said my bride with a smile as she presented an impromptu fashion show.
All the items she purchased can be worn for work. And considering Nancy is not big on clothes shopping anyway, for her to find a handful of items she liked is noteworthy. Thank you Gloria.
As for me, I typically follow Nancy’s lead and get a local, grossly overpriced T-shirt. I came close to doing the same thing again.
While Anna sorted through sunglasses and Nancy inspected necklaces at the “shark” store, I wandered through the aisles until I found the T-shirts. Aside from a T-shirt that promoted the “saltwater mafia,” the other shirt I was drawn to featured the silhouette of a black dog holding a red bikini top in its mouth. Below the picture were the words “Good boy!” and “Gulf Shores, Ala.”
Page 2 of 2 - Anna thought the shirt was hilarious and encouraged me to buy it. Even Nancy, the voice of conservatism in the Henley household, thought it was “cute” and gave no indication of using her veto power if I wanted to purchase it.
Ultimately, however, I walked out of the store without the T-shirt. Why? Because I perceive what people wear on their shirts as being a reflection of their personality. And while I liked the shirt, deep down inside I don’t think it would have really conveyed the person I am.
When we climbed in our dirty, gray Buick for the long trip north at the end of our vacation, I didn’t have a souvenir for which I’d paid anything. But that doesn’t mean I came home from Alabama empty-handed.
My souvenirs consisted of a lot of great memories from my in-laws 60th anniversary celebration and of walking hand in hand on the beach with Nancy, a few extra pounds following a week of wonderful food, a hundred or more mosquito bites secured while on an early-evening photo shoot with my son, Jacob, a sunburned nose and enough photos to bore people with for weeks.