4 Things

Sea Isle City holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. And one of the first places that comes to mind for me is Nickelby’s Bakery and Deli. I got my first summer job there when I was 14 years old. Working the register because I was too young to use the deli slicer. I spent 3 summers there before moving on to other places. 

Being down here, I’ve been understandably reflective on those years. I believe Nickelby’s is where I honed a work ethic that had already been planted by my parents. I was then, and still am now, a morning person. I arrived at Nickelby’s most mornings at 5:30 a.m. to start unloading the newspaper delivery to be ready for those diehards who would arrive by 6 a.m. for their papers. On the weekends, my father was one of them. I knew what every newspaper cost on both the weekdays and weekends. I also knew the cigarette order of all of the regulars, no matter how obscure. And I made pleasantries with all of the customers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I loved it. And I was on the beach by 3 most afternoons.

Last night, I wanted to take the dog for a walk. Henny and Casey were hard at work on our puzzle so I bribed Ryan to come with me with a trip to Nickelby’s for candy. I love making that walk. Every year. But it’s even better this year as it’s part of the regular routine. Everytime we have walked there or the ice cream place next door at night, we’ve passed an older couple who sit on their front porch, watching the people go by. I’ve waved every night. But last night, we stopped to say hello. Jim and Mary have a St. Joseph’s University sign out front. My grandfather went there so we chatted about that, as well as summers in Sea Isle City. Bunker even got to say hello.

We got to Nickelbys and I asked Ryan to go inside and pick out a candy for him and something for Casey and then to come back out to hold onto Bunker while I went in to buy them. When he came out, he said “4 things.” I asked him what 4 things was I grabbing. And he kept saying the “4 things” inside. I thought maybe because it was late, they were low on the candy selection and there were only 4 things left. So I went in and found lots and lots of candy. I said to the woman behind the counter “my son came in and said he wanted 4 things. I have no idea which 4 things I’m supposed to be picking out.” She said “they’re all right here. He put them on the counter for me and said Mom would be back in to pay.” That kid.

I loved that he feels as comfortable at Nickelby’s as I do. He knew what he wanted and what he was supposed to do to get it. He’s a newly minted 8 year old, by the way. I didn’t care which 4 things he’d picked out. I was absolutely buying them.  

Both of my kids are making their own memories of this place. And it’s exactly why we’re here.

Relaxation and Resetting

Week one has come to an end and it was wonderful. We started it out, just the four of us. And then we had some visitors. Some expected. Some unexpected. But all were welcome and great to have.  

But now it’s Monday, and for this week, it’ll just be us again and I’m really looking forward to that. The kids had a tremendous first day at surf camp (a separate blog for later in the week) and as soon as we got home, we decided it was time for some relaxation and resetting. The kids curled up on the couches with their iPads and blankets. The dog rolled up on the floor nearby and I proceeded to clean house. A day to sweep away all of the first week’s sandy feet, vacuum the hallway and bedrooms, burn through heaps of laundry and wipe away the toothpaste from various children’s inability to rinse the sink.


It’s beautifully slow moving in here. Music is playing in the background. There’s a puzzle going on the kitchen table and I’m enjoying the perfect size of this place that the owners refer to as their “cottage.” Save for the bedrooms and bathrooms, we are all in one room. We don’t always have to be talking or doing the same thing. But we are all together. And I’m loving every minute of it.


Surf camp will be my next installment. I may be loving it as much as they are.

Julie & Daniel

If you’ve seen it, you know it. It practically smacks you in the face and takes your breath away. And once you’ve seen it, every time thereafter that you think of it, you will smile. It’s impossible not to.

It’s real, honest to goodness, “my happiness is because of you,” Love. That kind you might think only exists in movies like The Notebook. But I guarantee you that it exists in real life. I’ve seen it a few times. I’m lucky enough to live it. Just in a different way now than on the day we wed. And that’s what I got to see and capture when Julie and Daniel said “I do” a few short weeks ago. I got to see it even before they actually said the words. But nothing brings it out like facing one another in front of your nearest and dearest to bind yourselves in marriage. It’s honestly so beautiful.

I spent most of my time with Julie that day, as you would expect. And not only was she truly glowing, she was so undeniably at ease and enjoying every moment of her day. She had nothing to worry about. Surrounded by her sisters, cousins and friends who are like family, she knew where the day was taking her.

And then I got to Daniel. Equally so at ease and enjoying his time with his buddies. You couldn’t make him stop smiling if you tried. And no one did.

They did a “first look” and that was so lovely to watch. They laughed and smiled and took each other in. But it paled in comparison to seeing them face one another to exchange vows and be pronounced husband and wife. I’m fairly decent with words but there is no way to describe what this looks like. So I’ll just share some photos instead. In the absence of being there, these are the only things that can come close.

Before I do, I have to point out that I saw so much other genuine love that day. Among proud and excited siblings and very specifically from an extremely happy, beaming father. I imagine there is nothing like giving your daughter away to her husband. However, it’s pretty safe to say that Jimmy was just fine with shaking Daniel’s hand and handing over Julie’s. He knows exactly how perfectly that hand and her heart will be cared for.

Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this day. Not doing weddings may have to become doing them “once in awhile.” But only when there’s love like this involved. Because then, I can’t even call it work.

Congratulations, Julie and Daniel. Can’t wait to catch up on the beach this summer!