The best-laid plans of mice and men…

Tornado Boy and Big Foot

…often go awry.

Well, I’m back to blogging after 19 days away, and a little Steinbeck seemed appropriate.

My best-laid plans for a memory-making family reunion fell apart as my parents canceled at the last minute due to health concerns.ย  That kicked off a bit of rushing around and a series of phone calls, new arrangements, and a beach rental we couldn’t back out of. Revised travel plans followed and, in August we’ll all head to my parents’ hometown in Colorado for another attempt. Airfare, hotels, rental cars, and long drives will end in a whirlwind visit since many of us used our vacation time for the reunion that didn’t happen.

But all was not lost…

When best-laid plans invariably
go awry
we cancel what we can
and with nothing pressing to do

we pack up and drive west
where too late to cancel
the beach house beckons

across the dunes of marram grass and wild roses
warm sand sifts like finely ground pepper
and the waves curl in hungry white ringlets
chase and soak us in our rush to shore
springtide cold despite the sun and kite-flying winds

we build drip castles with moats and bridges
a path for goblin scooters and pit for trapping zombies
guarded by trolls magicked into stone sentries
we collect crab claws and broken shells,
brittle sand dollars and mysterious arm bones

we build a Zen garden with scavenged rocks
balanced in crooked towers on striated sand
and the wind carves gullies while overnight strangers
add to our stones and our garden grows

tea with cranberry honey and birthday cake ice cream
carousels, waffle cones, and oysters on the boardwalk
bonfires, chocolate and marshmallow sโ€™mores
board games and card games, stories
where mermaids sing of magic potions and wings
before the tide fills our holes
sand on the floor, in our beds, between our toes

and nothing pressing to do but
eat well, laugh well, and sleep well
all because
of best-laid plans
gone awry



172 thoughts on “The best-laid plans of mice and men…

  1. It wouldn’t be an adventure if everything went to plan!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Antonia says:

    These are the moments that remain in a child’s memory. You can’t plan everything in life, but you can take advantage of all the moments, if you can see what they can be. Lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Erik says:

    Darn it, Diana! Two for two this morning with the sting of tears. This beautifully captured so many of my best memories from childhood. And that picture of Tornado Boy on the carouselโ€”as well as imagining his hands in the sand, building the castles and rock towers, and how every day seems to last forever when you’re that ageโ€”certainly moved me. For all the joy the adults found along the way, I think about that little boy who knew little about catastrophes and changes of plans, who forgot even what he knew in favor of his goblin scooter, and who simply added to the canvass of his life and future self another several paint strokes of having been surrounded by family and loved.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for the beautiful comment, Erik. Tornado Boy didn’t miss a beat. Without my parents there, he was the center of attention, and a happy kid. He cried when he and I fell in the freezing water while running from waves, but by the end of the trip, it was his favorite funniest memory. I love how resilient and joyful kids are. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do hope I’m filling his little brain with great memories and the knowledge that he’s loved. โค

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bel says:

    The best moments often happen when we arenโ€™t planning for it – they just end up making something a lot more unforgettable. Based from the picture – the young man had an awesome time ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this, Diana! And even though things got monkeyed up with the sudden cancellation, at least you were able to take advantage of the time away. And Tornado Boy looks like he had a blast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once we made the adjustment we had lots of fun, Julie. I’ve been through a lot worse than being forced to spend time at the beach! Lol. Tornado Boy was in heaven and got to know some family members he hadn’t met before. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s all good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello there. Your excellent poem put me in mind of Cape Cod. My wife and I discovered the Cape 20 years ago. We were hooked early on and have gone back nearly every year since then. What grabs me more than anything there are the waters and sands. Good for contemplation!

    Take care —
    Neil S.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used to live on the east coast, Neil, and loved vacations to Cape Cod. Beach vacations are great fun and worth repeating for as many years as we can. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you get to the Cape this summer. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Diana, it sounds like heaven to me. Your grandson is absolutely adorable. Making good memories is what it is all about, he will treasure those for the rest of his life. I’m sad your parents had to revamp, but I’m glad you have some future plans with them! Welcome back to the world of blogging!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. iScriblr says:

    The photos are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Solitaire says:

    Great post! Loved the pjotos. Hope your oarents are ok!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It ended up being a fun time once we were over the disappointment. My folks are okay. They need more help than they’re getting and we’re working on it. It’s a tough time of life. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a lovely week, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s such a shame when lovely plans get swept into the wind! I went through a spate of that happening for a few years, it made me fearful to book anything in advance, truth be told. But perhaps your time in Colorado will be all the sweeter for being so hard-won. I do hope so. In the meantime, at least your blog readers get something out of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Stacey Wilk says:

    I hope your parents are doing better. Lovely poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Stacey. We had fun once we got over the disappointment. My folks canceled for August as they’re getting closer and closer to needing assisted living. Hopefully near me and my brother. Plans in the works. Happy Monday and have a wonderful week!


  12. Such a beautiful post, Diana! So evocative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Robert. ๐Ÿ™‚ There was a lot to report and I thought a poem made for a nice condensed version. Lol. I can usually find the silver lining, and in this case it was easy. Happy Monday and have a magical week, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jina Bazzar says:

    i’ve never been able to build sand castles. they were always nothing more than piles of sands atop each other. I’m sorry your parents couldn’t make it. maybe in august your reunion will be much better.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Bryan Fagan says:

    Sometimes it’s the stories you can tell of what didn’t happen that make the best stories of all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! When one adventure doesn’t work out there’s always another waiting in the wings if we just look for it. Once we “resigned” ourselves to going anyway, it was just plain fun. Have a great week!


  15. I agree, Diana, that there are some things in life we just cannot control. It is best to grab at opportunities and make the best of them even when things go awry. I love your poetic story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Robbie. I know that as a mom you probably find plenty of ways to make lemonade from lemons. And kids are always willing to have fun. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Al Lane says:

    Life always goes awry…but it doesn’t always matter! Plans be damned ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Tina Frisco says:

    You’ve transformed a frustrated holiday into a poetic recital, Diana. Beautiful… not to mention good for the soul! The photos are lovely. Hopefully all will go as planned in August โค๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Ah! I love your drip sand castle which is, indeed, built on shifting sands! Figuratively and literally. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    What a wonderful time you seem to have had. Making the best of it. Youโ€™re a beacon of positive light, my friend. ๐Ÿ’– Hope your parents are doing alright and all goes well and according to plan in August.

    P.S. Lovely zen garden!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Sarah. We did have a great time once we had our big sighs! The beach is a great place to contemplate the temporary and create without any expectation of permanence. And yet the ocean is so constant. Maybe that’s why we’re attracted to our first “home”. ๐Ÿ™‚ The zen garden was fun because when we left it, Tornado Boy got upset – thinking that someone would wreck it. When we returned in the morning, someone had added to it. A great moment of discovery. ๐Ÿ™‚


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