My essay is called, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.” On my summer vacation, my family took me to a cottage in Michigan. Even though I was driving, I kept asking when we were going to get there. I couldn’t wait to play with my toys, especially my five-iron. They wouldn’t buy me sand toys but my grandson said he would share with me.

Our cottage was crowded. We had ten or fifteen big people coming and going and I had to share a small bed. No wonder I had nightmares that I was falling. They scared me so much I got up early to make coffee. This woke up the people sleeping in the living room and they got mad at me.

So, I rode my bike to the beach all by myself. People at the beach were staring at me, because I wore my shirt, baseball cap and socks when I went swimming. It was so hot out that, for the first time in my life I wanted Lake Michigan to be cold. But it was warm, especially where the little kids were swimming.

I began to get scared being there all alone. I was afraid the big people wouldn’t get there in time with the beer. They finally came and brought me a bucket for building sand castles. I was making these really cool towers but my grandson kept kicking them down.

Then I started fighting him for the shovel, so they gave me a time-out.

When I got to the golf course, I felt much better. I used my sand club a lot, so it was just like playing at the beach. My best hole was the one I went to after I was done playing. I drove back to the cottage to cool off but they had used the last beer to boil bratwurst. I went to the local store for more. There were real-life pirates behind the counter.

At night, I wanted to play Monopoly but the big people only liked games that used real money. One night, I finally got to be the battleship. I was having fun, until I got that card that makes you go to Boardwalk. I was so mad; they made me go to bed early, without any more bottles.

In the morning, they made me eat a bratwurst omelet. I yelled that I wanted Lucky Charms but they said, “One more tantrum and we’re taking you to the Amtrak station.” I didn’t want to leave the cottage, the beach, the cooler. So, I ate all their yucky food. They put onions in everything but my pancakes.

The last day, I was really sad. I liked looking at the trees around our cottage, instead of telephone wires. It had a swing set and sandbox. I even got to play with fire at night. I refused to get into the car.

Then they told me we were going to a magical place where the air always smells like candy: a town where there’s no bed time and plenty of playgrounds. They promised to take me to a new one that just opened on Madison Street. I didn’t care whether it had craft beers. I just hoped it had trains.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.