Down the Shore, the post-game report

Was that nuts or what? Memorial Day 2011 will surely go down in the books as the most sudden dive into the deep end of summer in memory. Three solid days of beach weather and crowds. And warm water! Crazy. Over at Steve & Cookies in Margate, they were serving upwards of 600 meals a night. Everything from scallops (sold out by Memorial Day night) to Meatloaf (the better to warm up after a day of ocean swimming, or maybe just a desire to cling to one more winter meal). Some years, Memorial Day itself is an afterthought, with the big morning exodus back to Philly. But this year, as in the picture, people lingered on the beach till 7 p.m. and even later on Monday, traisping back to reality as the sun set over the long weekend. This year, as ever, there was inventory to be taken as the shore filled back in with its summer residents. One new grandson on the block, one new chocolate lab puppy, one person feeling better, another one looking at the arrival of an extended family summer with some new urgency and worry. The little local boys and girls who loved the beach as kids, rejected it a bit during some tween years, now embrace it with the gusto of Jersey shore local teenagers raised on a diet of Snooki and Jerseylicious. Seriously, kids, take it back online, will you? This is a family beach. Panicky merchants grabbed the first able body to walk in inquiring about counter help and offered an apron and an immediate shift. On Friday, as my daughter and I sat in a line of cars near the Margate bridge after running an innocuous little errand, I said to her, "This is beach traffic we're in." "I love it," she said. Well, alright then.