Ad aspera, per astra

We spent the weekend in Avalon, New Jersey, in the rental house you can see in the background of this picture. There was some speculation as to which Smith Family Infant approach to the beach Lydia would inherit: her mom’s approach (stay on the towel, daintily brush sand off the corners) or her uncle Matt’s approach (charge directly into the surf at every opportunity.)

The latter, it turns out: Lydia has to be restrained or she’ll run all the way to France, never mind how cold the water is. Actually, the water is pretty warm, and the sun was warm, and the beach is wide, flat, and uncrowded, and altogether everything was Really Damn Great. We went to the boardwalk in Ocean City (saltwater taffy! curly fries! whac-a-mole! carousel rides!) and out to dinner in Cape May (ghost tours! expensive toy stores!) and a friend of Kate’s parents worked her considerable photographer’s mojo on Lydia:
   Holy cow!
   Oh my god!
   Knees… weakening!

I got up this morning at 5:15AM, folded up the playard, stuffed my dirty clothes into my backpack, and drove back up the Atlantic City Expressway to Philadelphia, where I hopped Amtrak to get back to work (Kate, Lydia, Bob, and Barb will leave the beach midafternoon.) 30th Street Stations is one of the last bastions of the leather-lunged conductor; my favorite one was standing at the top of stairway five, announcing the Keystone train home, the opposite direction to which I’m going.

“Now boarding, stairway five, track five, Keystone train 641 to Ardmore, Paoli, Exton, Downingtown, and points west. Fresh air, good food, clean living! Stairway five, track five!”

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