Having an End-of-Summer ‘Shellabration’ on LBI

By PATTY KELLY | Sep 07, 2016
Courtesy of: Patty Kelly This shell display on 23rd Street in Spray Beach is near a memorial to a fallen soldier.

You really can’t beat mimosas with a group of great girlfriends for a 7:30 a.m. breakfast celebration. Hey, if you need to be up early and have to celebrate the art of aging, why not do it in style with your best beach buddies?!

And that is exactly what we did before the Labor Day weekend took us all away to what would soon be our fall/winter destinations. Our one girlfriend was in such denial of the ever-fast-approaching unofficial end of summer that we toasted to “Memorial Day” by mistake! But as true girlfriends do, we gave her a pass on the lapse in memory, which we all wanted to have at the moment, too.

We all had gotten out of bed not so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to walk to the Blue Water Café, where the first waitress of the day kindly guided us to our inside table because Mother Nature provided us with yet another HH&H (hazy, hot and humid) day on LBI. With coffee poured and OJ on the way for our mimosas, we decided to start out healthy with a bowl of fresh fruit. Then some of us indulged in a not-so-everyday breakfast treat, mine being cinnamon bun French toast. I will not mention what some of the others had to protect the innocent and preserve the secret girlfriend pledge: What happens with the girls stays with the girls. Yeah!

While pondering what the rest of our day would bring since we were up so early, our conversation traveled to the ongoing beach replenishment that kept stirring up not only emotions about the closure of beaches during the last couple weeks of summer, but also big, white shells that were scattered on the beach as well.

One girlfriend’s significant other had taken it upon himself to gather a few and print “Happy Birthday Mary” on them as a surprise. He had set them up at the top of the beach path, where he had patiently scooped sand to clear out all the trash that had been hastily left behind. All this put the early-morning pondering into motion.

We on our street decided to create a “shellabration” garden in that same spot that would hopefully give pleasure to all those who choose to join in the fun. Little did we know that this was already trending at a couple other beach paths.

There was one on 113th Street in Haven Beach that displayed a sign “The Happiness Shell Project” and a lovely, colorfully painted shell garden where you could take a shell or leave a shell. There was another on 23rd Street in Spray Beach that is a dedication to a fallen soldier. It is a must-see and deserves our gratitude as well as prayers.

So the challenge was on for all of us to not only find the big, white shells, but also create a painting on the shell that would represent all that we enjoyed and loved about LBI and our street. The pictures on some shells were simple, giving a sense of faith, relaxation and resolution while others displayed unbelievable artistic talents. Other shells represented people who had passed before us and had paved our way to this very street with the close relationships that have bound us together for life.

Though our shell garden is in the beginning stages, we are most certain that it will build throughout the years to bring others joy and happiness as it has started to bring to all of us.

So here is to “shellabrating” what was, is and yet to be. And if you so choose, start your own “shellabration” garden on your street to bring a sense of joy, creativity and life to your beach path.

Patty Kelly lives in Blue Bell, Pa., and Beach Haven Park.


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