I don’t often write letters to newspapers, heeding the old adage my mother taught me, “fools names and fools faces often appear in public places.”
However, after reading the latest rant concerning the recent tent ban, I cannot resist. I have been coming to the beach every summer for almost 70 years, making me one of those old folks who is supposed to need a tent.
I have never used a tent, not for my children, or grandchildren, either. We use an umbrella when necessary and when it is just too hot, we leave the beach and come back when it is cooler.
I have now moved to the beach, making it easy for me to observe beachgoers on the beach. In the past, and recently, this is what I have observed about tent erectors. It isn’t about shade, it is about territory. The tent erector runs to the beach first thing in the morning and puts up his tent. His extended family then erects theirs, as close to his as possible (I know the rules said don’t do that, but rules are for little people).
In my observation of these tent people, this is what I see. No one actually sits under the tent for more than five minutes, if at all. Chairs are arranged outside the tent, so that beachgoers may sun themselves. Meanwhile, other members of the family are playing corn hole, volleyball, football, etc., or digging to China with pails and shovels. No one seems overly concerned about sunburn. The tent actually houses the cart that carried all this stuff, a cooler, more toys and a large, loud boom box to drown out the soothing sounds of the waves breaking on the beach.
At some point, the tent people are missing; presumably in the condo eating lunch, napping, having gone to town, or whatever, but the tent remains, most often still spewing forth the loud sounds from the music from H _ _ l.
As for the argument that the town is going to make tons of money renting umbrellas and chairs to these poor folks who can’t erect a tent, they are free to bring an umbrella of their own and their own chairs. It seems to me that would require much less effort than hauling all that other paraphernalia along with the huge tent works. I am going to be entertained this summer watching them try to figure out how to hook the umbrellas together to create another monstrosity that will show they can beat the system.
If you are that person drowning, or having a heart attack on the beach this summer and rescue can get to you to save your life, please thank the courageous councilmen and women who put public safety first.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.