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15. April  2013

I love my in-laws. Seriously. I realize that’s anathema for many of you. I know. I’ve heard the horror stories. It’s just not my story. When I married Tom, I hit the jackpot. Along with finding the love of my life, I became part of a most remarkable family.

Last month, nearly every branch of the Hamilton family tree was represented at a reunion of sorts in Destin, Fla. Since most of the clan hail from the eastern and mid-Atlantic states, a little time in the sunshine along Florida’s Gulf Coast was a welcome break from the late winter’s wrath.

Brothers, sisters, cousins and spouses converged on the resort community setting up camp in a lovely high-rise condo complex overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Emerald Coast at Destin is actually part of the famous 90-mile “miracle strip” between Pensacola and Panama City and it is stunning!

Accustomed to beautiful beaches here in San Diego, Tom and I (the “California cousins”) were nonetheless blown away by the breathtaking beauty of the Gulf Coast’s sparkling white beaches and aquamarine waters.

But as the family arrived, the mild weather and ocean views quickly took a back seat to what I call “aerobic” visiting…a fun-filled, week-long, non-stop gab fest! Fourteen of us packed into a different condo each night laughing, scratching, telling stories and just spending time together. The “women folk” prepared homemade desserts that would make Martha Stewart weep.

Thanks to Cousin Robert’s stories and Cousin Billy’s jokes there was no shortage of laughter and groans! Daytime activities included walks on the beach with Cousin Carolyn, touring with Tom’s brother, Clay, lunch with sweet Susan and movie matinees with Patsy, Donna and the rest of the gals.

Dinner out meant a trip to “Louis Louis’s” for some fabulous, fresh fish. My mouth still waters when I think about the great grouper I devoured at the eclectic local eatery. Destin is known as the world’s luckiest fishing village, so mouth-watering fresh fish is a staple at most of the coastal restaurants.

But if you don’t fancy fish, I recommend going Italian the iconic Fat Clemenza’s Brick Oven Pizzeria. The eggplant parmigiana is to die for. But that’s just the start. It would take months to sample every restaurant and eatery in the resort community. I’m still working off the extra pounds. But I assure you, it was worth every calorie!

Even for this California girl, Florida’s playground proved the perfect reunion getaway for a heaping helping of food, family and fun!
Coming from a small family, I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of Tom’s extended family. No more! I’m just grateful to have been grafted into this fun-loving, faith-filled, caring and fiercely loyal family.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.