July finalists tell best vacation memories
Regal Jewelers July essay contest
To see all of the July entries, click here.
To see short story on winner, click here.
To enter our current essay contest, click here.
The following five essays were finalists in our July contest, "Best Summer Vacation memory."
Winner (as voted by readers):
Port Aransas dreams
It was a fine June evening when I stepped out of the car, barefoot, and began walking toward the water. The fine Port Aransas sand under my feet was warm to the touch, the wind was blowing at just the perfect speed.
This, I thought to myself is the life, for there is nowhere anyone can relax like the beach.
The sound of the waves against the shore were soothing, and combined with the rest of the sounds, I had the perfect 30 minutes of relaxation I needed, but we were at the beach, there was fun to be had.
Well, I said to myself, "first things first, let's build sand castles." I called for my brothers and we started working.
My youngest brother dug the moat and made the bridge while my other brother and I worked on the sand castle itself. By the time we were done, it was truly a masterpiece, with turret walls, a moat, a bridge and finally, seashell decorations.
After we took a picture behind it my brothers and I saw the perfect opportunity to play a prank.
Our sister was napping and there was a Frito chip on the floor. We picked up the chip and put it on our sister, then wham, three seagulls landed on her and started to fight over the chip. She woke up and we had the laugh of our lives.
That was the best summer vacation ever.
Submitted by: Joaquim Richmond
Celebration of life
There were two sisters, one mission, one city, and one celebration of life.
In 2006, my sister, Virginia Spicer, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She is my only sibling and we are not just sisters, she's my best friend.
She had to undergo chemo and radiation and it was the darkest of times for us until we heard she was cancer free. We told each other that when all of this was over that we would take a summer vacation. We called it our "Trip of a Celebration of Life."
In July 2008, we chose Savannah, Ga. for our trip. We both love the south, southern cooking, and all the history of Savannah. This was such a "hoot" of a trip.
We went on ghost tours, riverboat rides, restaurant tours, a candy factory tour and ate more fried chicken than anyone should. We have tons of pictures and beautiful memories etched in our minds and hearts forever. We had never taken a sister trip before, and to have been able to take this to celebrate, will always be so special to us.
I would just love to win this contest so that Virginia and I could share another sweet memory. To have been with my sister, and to celebrate such a beautiful occasion, this was the best summer vacation ever.
Submitted by: Shirley J. Smiga
Yosemite/Sequoia National Park, Northern California
The redwood giants. Living and growing over 2,000 years. Alive during the fall of the Roman Empire.
I was a young girl then, about 10 years old. As I gaze upward at these magnificent trees, I ponder these thoughts.
The California redwoods are one of those gems of the U.S. Our family loved to go camping, so off we went for a weeklong vacation to the redwoods and the Kings River in Northern California.
We found a wonderful campsite that laid low alongside the river; that was shallow as well. Down we floated on the shared raft until we came to the bend in the river. Off we jumped and walked back to the starting point. Up and down we rode all day.
Finally, mom calls us to come for dinner. We can smell the smoke of the fire and hear the Coleman cooking stove on the picnic table. After sitting around the campfire telling monster stories to each other, it's time for bed. We unroll our sleeping bags as mom and dad put up the food and secure the campsite from critters, but especially bears. We drift off to sleep listening to the river just beyond our reach.
I have had many great summer vacations but the most memorable will always be the giant redwoods. I can still smell them. So quiet. So close to the One who created them. If only they could talk. What would they say?
I take a deep breath.
Submitted by: Mrs. James Bridgewater
Sweet 70th birthday
My best summer vacation was when I celebrated my 70th birthday in Oahu, Hawaii with my family. When we arrived at Oahu we were welcome with lei made from fresh flowers and the aroma was heavenly. Then we were taken to the hotel that was right on the beach.
Can you believe it?
We saw tropical penguins.
We went to see the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor which was sad knowing that so many died. Then we went on the Missouri Ship that produced the movie the Battleship. We climb to the top of a dormant volcanic crater. My family swam with the sharks you couldn't get me in the water. They fed the sharks in the morning and later in the day you go into an open cage in the water. The boys thought that was awesome.
On Memorial Day they send luminaries out on the water to remember anyone who served in the service who was deceased.
That is a heart filling moment. It was a beautiful sight to see hundreds of luminaries.
We tried a lot of the Hawaii food including the pineapple pizza. That was yummy.
At the luau on the beach with over 375 people to sing Happy Birthday was a sight to behold. It is something that you will always remember.
It was a beautiful, grateful and rewarding time to spend with the family. Also the trip was fun, educational and relaxing.
Submitted by: G. Bradley
A trip to remember
In June 2012, we took three grandchildren on a vacation. We had two 12 year olds and an 8 year old. First stop was the Grand Canyon. The kids were in awe of all the colors in the rock and the splendor of nature.
Toward Zion National Park in Utah, we stopped at roadside vendors in Arizona where Indian women were selling their handmade jewelry. The women told the kids the meanings of each stone and Indian culture.
Zion was a great adventure, even grander than the Grand Canyon. The kids walked through cold mountain streams, collected rocks, and walked through a tunnel underneath the road.
In Yellowstone National Park, buffalo were everywhere and held up traffic as they walked down the road beside the cars. The kids got to play in the snow on top of a mountain, shocked at how cold it was. Old Faithful going off showed us all the power of Mother Nature.
In Cody, Wyo. there was a gunfight between Wild Bill Cody and some outlaws. In South Dakota was Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park with more buffalo than Yellowstone and burrows that walked up to the cars sticking their head in the window.
In Colorado we walked across the Royal Gorge bridge between two mountains and then rode a tram to the bottom.
After showing our grandchildren the splendor and beauty of our United States, they hope to repeat this trip after graduation. This was the best summer vacation.
Submitted by: Cathy Dornak