Missing the sound of crashing waves

G. Sam Piatt - PDT Outdoors Columnist

Amazing how the years are slipping by, isn’t it?

My favorite vacation is to the beach, where the everlasting waves of the Atlantic roll in.

But my last family vacation to the beach came seven years ago. That was at Folly Beach at Charleston, S.C.

That’s a lovely beach, but my favorite is Myrtle. We made numerous trips there as our three children were growing up, and later with grandchildren.

I can spend a week at Myrtle Beach and come home totally rested and feeling like I have truly been on vacation.

Each day falls into a pattern: Down on the elevator early each morning for a copy of The Sun; sitting on the deck looking out over the ocean with another good Anne Perry murder mystery in hand; lying on the beach until the sun drives you into the shade of an umbrella; and in the evenings out to eat.

I had crab legs so big at the seafood buffet that when you broke them in two a chunk of succulent meat the size of your index finger dropped out into the drawn butter.

Airplanes towing their huge banners urging you to eat at Joe’s Crab House or shop at Eagles; the pelican patrol cruising by just off the railing of the deck; the paragliders: power boats towing a huge parachute lifting two harnessed riders up to heights of 300 feet above the ocean.

We always tried to save enough money back for the annual family vacation, whether we could afford it or not. If it required letting an installment loan payment slide, so be it.

I recall one trip to Canada when we met with some unexpected expenses. On the way back, we ran out of money – and gas – while still 100 miles from home.

I borrowed $5 from a total stranger and we made it home with a nickel left over. I mailed the $5 back to the Good Samaritan, just as soon as I got my next paycheck. Ah, yes, in those days we lived from paycheck to paycheck.

Come to think of it, that trip to Folly was the last family vacation I’ve been on.

Now, with arthritis settling in on the lower spine, hips and legs, I’m left to wonder if there will ever be another.


But probably my favorite vacation was a week on a houseboat on glorious Dale Hollow Lake. We enjoyed more than a dozen of these over the years.

It involved a bit of work at the beginning as we loaded enough grub and gear on board for a dozen people. We tied our fishing boat to the rear and were off.

We tied off in a secluded cove for the night. From the deck on top, it seemed we could see every star in the universe.

Next morning, while the others still slept, with a hot cup of java in hand I stepped into the small boat, cast off, and started casting for one of those fighting smallmouth the 27,000-acre lake is famous for.


I’m trying to remember if my parents and my brother and sister and I ever had a real family vacation during my time from birth to leaving home for college.

My father, who started work on maintaining the tracks for the C&O Railroad in 1920 at age 14, continued to work, even though the Great Depression of 1929.

So he had paid vacation time each year, but the only vacations I recall were a week or two spent with Grandpa and Grandma Piatt in Kellen Hollow, Greenup County; or at Grandma Hannah’s hillside farm in Elliott County. These “vacations,” which I enjoyed, offered free food and lodging.

My father never owned a car, so we walked the two miles from our home in Fullerton to the Piatt farm in Kellen Hollow. We rode the passenger train to Grandma Hannah’s. We all rode on a free “pass” Dad earned by keeping the rails in line for the trains to run on.

An uncle or a cousin would meet us with a mule and wagon at the train station in Leon to take us on the final few miles to grandma’s house.

Some train trips involved taking in a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo and spending a few days with Aunt Mae while in the Queen City.

She was a cook in the Jewish Home. We enjoyed free food and lodging, of course.


A man said to the universe:

“Sir, I exist!”

“However,” replied the universe,

“The fact has not created in me

“A sense of obligation.”


G. Sam Piatt

PDT Outdoors Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or [email protected]

Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or [email protected]

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