When I was a kid, my Dad used to grab my brother and I for a week of fun on the beach in Maine. We would go to Wells, sleep in the tent, play miniputt, swim in the cold, cold ocean, prepare hot-dogs on the little green Coleman stove you had to pump and drink lots of Hawaiian Punch from big cans, a treat for my brother and I. (Sugar was not a major player at our house.)
The mallet that is now resting in my wooden spoons pitcher is a souvenir from one of the last trips the three of us took together. That summer, my brother got the nastiest sunburn and looked like a wounded, peeling Klingon. By then, we were teenagers and not so into going away and leaving behind our summer flings and friends. We had upgraded: Ocean City was now our destination of choice and grandiose beachside hotels had replaced the tent. My Dad bought the mallet for me after a huge feast of crabs and corn, served on newspaper and covered with Old bay spices. It's fragile and useless, but it makes me think of family-time under the sun.