I've written about what many of our family vacations were comprised of, so I thought I'd write a bit about this summer's gathering on the northwest coast. It was supposed to be a combination family reunion, anniversary and birthday celebration. The birthday portion was put on hold when my best friend Georgie ended up having surgery and stayed here in Sioux Falls.

Her souvenir/early birthday present, ended up being the t-shirt I had made for all of us to wear while we were in Long Beach, Washington. Not much of a gift for having major surgery, huh?

There has always been something magical about that place for me. It is rarely sunny and warm, quite often windy, gray, misty and foggy. It is a living, breathing mood piece for me and since I am quite often in that solemn mood, it has always suited me.

Long Beach, Washington is not a place you go to swim and frolic in the waves, unless of course you have a death wish. The rip tides and undertow are plentiful and powerful and twice during our many stays there, people have indeed drowned.

Nope, Long Beach is a walking beach, a place to gather thoughts and dreams, as well as shells and sand dollars after overnight storms. Sand castle building and kite-flying are the other two big activities, which draw tourists, most of whom are from Washington state and many who, (surprisingly) have never seen the ocean.

So our little reunion ended up including me, my sister Carolyn from Helena, Montana, my sister Carmela, my brother-in-law Jon and my nephew Anthony (Bubbi) from Pueblo, Colorado, as well as their German Shepherd, Sadie. There was a lot of laughter, some tears, and plenty of fresh doughnuts on a nearly daily basis, from what is surely one of the best bakeries on the planet. It is packed from early morning to late in the evening.

We toasted sunsets, their 30th anniversary, and being together with Asti Spumante and other assorted cocktails.

The only glitch in the proceedings was me developing a severe case of vertigo, which is refusing to make an exit from my system. Its causes and cures are equally elusive, but  dizziness, motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, disorientation, and headaches are just a few of the lovely symptoms. It made packing to leave an exercise in frustration and the long drive home more difficult than usual.

But minus that, a wonderful time was had by most and I can't wait until my next sojourn to my favorite place on the planet!