"No one is home."

"On Vacation."

If you look real close, you can see those signs in my glazed-over eyes.

Mentally, I'm on vacation.

Actually, I'm right dab smack into writing this column in Palmerton, Pennsylvania.

Mentally, I'm on a warm sandy beach, my toes in the water, reading a book as the waves lull me into bliss.

Actually, I'll be in the car soon, heading for home where I have to rush to make dinner in order to run an errand on my way to a meeting.

Mentally, I'm sitting on a hotel balcony watching a tropical sunset.

Actually, I have to do a load of laundry or I'll be wearing the bottoms of my two-piece bathing suit as underwear tomorrow.

Mentally, I'm sipping a Jamaica Me Happy wine cooler in my beach chair, watching the seagulls trying to kill each other over the Dipsy Doodles I'm throwing their way. Too much fun!

Actually, I'm right in the middle of working on our church's next fundraiser, wondering how I'm going to get everything I need to done in time, while asking myself, "Why do you keep volunteering to do this stuff?"

Mentally, I'm cracking crabs, dipping the succulent stuff in butter and sighing as I pop some more in my mouth while sitting at an outdoor restaurant overlooking a picturesque marina filled with boats.

Actually, I'm torn between stripping wallpaper or painting my basement, neither of which is floating my boat.

Mentally, I'm soaking in a hot tub with an incredible view of the ocean.

Actually, I'm soaking my bathtub in Clorox, getting high from the fumes, ready to scrub the bejesus out of it.

Mentally, I'm anywhere there's sun, surf and sand.

Actually, I'm somewhere between pulling the never-ending supply of weeds from the flower gardens I just had to have in the spring, to pulling out a never-ending supply of old, mold and untold leftovers from the refrigerator. Yuck! Why do I do that?

Are you like me, that when a friend who just came back from the seashore tells you about all the fun they had or a co-worker starts talking about their vacation plans of going to the beach, you just want to throw a jellyfish in their face?

It will be two years since the last time I did my beached whale impression ... washed up on shore by ocean waves.

I'm hearing the call of Neptune ... "Linnnnnndaaaaaa. Where are youuuuuuuu?"

I don't know when and I don't know how, but come heck or high water, I'm getting to a beach, somewhere, sometime this summer. I'm sure there is dolphin DNA in my blood, and the porpoise within is yearning to head home.

What is it about the ocean that pulls me to it? Is it that when I stand on the shore staring out across the ocean's vastness I feel anything is possible? Is it because I never feel more free than when I'm frolicking in the waves? Is it that the beauty that surrounds me fills my soul? Is it that in each and every shell I pick up I feel the wonder of God's creations? Is it that I never, ever feel peace like I do while sitting quietly watching wave after wave kiss the shore? Is it that sense of yearning for something I just can't name?

All I know is, when I'm traveling to the seashore, at the first sight of the ocean, something inside me sighs and whispers to my soul, "Ahhh, you're home."

"Vacation by the Sea" by me.

A sign on a shop's wall,

Of a house on a beach

to my soul did it reach ...

"If all my dreams came true,

Then paradise would be

a cottage by the sea."

The sign will never hang,

In my own seashore home

windswept with ocean's foam.

But it is in my view,

As I work and I scheme

for a piece of a dream.

It's called a 'few days' grace,'

Near sparkling sea and sky

where my soul is free to fly.

Vacation by the sea ...