Walking down Long Sands Beach in York early on a recent morning, I overheard a group of people talking about how things were degrading in their lives. They were complaining about the price of food, how no one respected each other, how their children had little to no ambition and how services they expected to help them through their older years were simply going away. They said they missed the good old days, when things were so much better.

Some distance down the beach, I overheard another group of people, walking dogs, complaining about politics and how it was impossible to vote because the choices were all bad. They continued by describing how the entire world seemed to be going to hell in a handbasket. They also said they missed the way things used to be.

Having the annoying reputation of not minding my own business, I decided to intervene in their conversation. Of course, I had to pet their dogs first and pretend that I love the concept of pet dogs (which I do not).

Then, I asked where they were from. They told me they were all from Massachusetts and had been vacationing on the beaches of York since they were little kids. Since they looked my age, I assumed they were probably retired or at least hoping to retire soon. After all introductions, I asked one of the men how he was enjoying the beach. He told me he loved it here early in the morning – the fresh sea air, the sound of the waves hitting the beach. What he loved best were the sunrises early in the morning. Everyone in the group agreed.

I wanted to tell them they should see them during the offseason months, but I decided to leave that alone.

I was asked where I was from. I told them Flushing, New York. One of the women asked if I was vacationing in York, and I told them I’ve lived here for the past 50 years. She then asked why I didn’t consider myself being from York. I explained that the only way one is a native of York is to be born here. In fact, my obituary will state that I have lived in York most of my life but am a native of Flushing. A chuckle could be heard from everyone in the group.


I then asked about their families and if they also vacationed in York. They told me their children were all grown and with children of their own. Everyone smiled when they talked about their children. All of them also raved about their grandchildren and how they visited often and watched them grow. In fact, most of the people in our now-friendly group told me their families will be visiting soon and how they also love the beach and the lobster.

They also told me how they loved taking them to York’s Wild Kingdom to watch the animals and enjoy the shows. During early evenings, they would head down to Ellis Park on Short Sands Beach to listen to the music and just take in what a summer vacation is supposed to be. They talked about Fun-O-Rama arcades and how they always thought they had enough money to last them at least a few hours on the beach. (They did not.)

The group talked about the stores that had the strangest gifts and how their families loved the barbecues and their nightly strolls on the beach. They laughed about the many fillings (and some crowns) that were lost enjoying the best saltwater taffy on the planet, from the Goldenrod.

We even got into stories of their grandkids’ sporting activities. All of them obviously loved their time in York – more importantly, they obviously loved their lives. Since their dogs starting sniffing parts of my body that I don’t particularly like being sniffed, I bid my adieu. After a couple of steps, I turned around and suggested we all start enjoying the good days now, because they will not last forever. They all evolve into the good old days.

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