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AN ANNA MARIA ADVENTURE Our Annual Family Reunion Trip
E very year in late June, my wife, kids, and I take a trip and rent out a condo on the coast of Anna Maria island. Ever since my parents won a week-long condo rental there in a charity raffle, just months after the birth of my son Noah (who is now 15 years old), it’s been our annual summer vacation getaway. Over the years, the annual trip has evolved and changed, but it’s still consistently one of my favorite experiences of the entire year. Today, it’s become more of a family reunion than anything else. Between my in-laws joining us and my own parents coming down from Chicago, there can be anywhere from 10–25 people there, depending on who can make the trip. But as packed and hectic as that may sound, it’s really a low-key kind of deal. The island isn’t one of those classic Florida destinations packed with activities, 25-story rentals, and thousands of people ambling around. The long, sandy beach is pretty much just that — a beach — dotted with a couple of quaint little restaurants and people lounging in the sunshine. So, it gives everybody an opportunity to just hang out and talk to one another. It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect. By now, the routine is pretty familiar. We wake up when we feel like it, eat some breakfast, and then usually head down to the beach to bob in the water for an hour or two in the mid-afternoon. Then we waste away the hours just chatting and
meandering about, doing whatever we feel like. But every evening, well before the sun goes down, we drag our chairs and drinks out onto the beach to catch the invariably gorgeous sunsets as a family. Call me sentimental, but the sunsets are definitely my favorite part of the beach. It’s just a nice time, laughing and talking with some of the most important people in my life, bathed in the amber glow of the fading sunlight. Every once in a while, we’ll get together and do something a little more ambitious. Some of these excursions, like snorkeling or deep- sea fishing trips, have gone a lot better than others. Once, before we had our own boat, everyone convinced me that it was an amazing idea to rent a pontoon boat and drive everybody out near the intercoastal waterway. Problem was, I’d never driven any kind of boat in my life. So there we are, 12 people packed onto this boat, cruising slowly out toward the open ocean. I’m full of anxiety, but everyone keeps saying “you’re doing great — keep going!” Suddenly, I find myself turning the corner of the island, and these enormous waves start crashing over the boat, throwing us wildly back and forth. I turned around pretty quickly at that point. Now that I’ve got a lot more boat-hours under my belt and know what I’m doing, I can say that I would never attempt that trip now. Instead, we take our new Jet Skis, getting steadily more adventurous every time we use them.
I always return from the trip totally refreshed, feeling grateful to have such a fun, close family who actually enjoys spending time together. And though I’ll definitely miss those Jet Skis as I head back into the clinic, it’s always a welcome opportunity to get back to my wonderful patients and the work I love to do.
-Luke Kron, PT Managing Partne
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