Short Stories. South of the Border Magic by Jean M Cogdell

Short Stories. South of the Border Magic by Jean M Cogdell

Short Stories. South of the Border Magic by Jean M Cogdell

Cancun beach (Mexico), August 2006

Cancun beach (Mexico), August 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, enjoy South of the Border Magic by Jean M Cogdell. An uplifting story about how to spend vacations and how to enjoy our free time.

South of the Border Magic

I shivered, pulled my sweater tighter and with the mail clutched to my chest, I scurried up the steps, shutting out the cold wind as I closed the door. I made quick work of the stack tossing the junk mail in the trash as I walked through the house. One thick white envelope brought a smile to my face as I read a familiar name. From the size of this letter, I’d need something stronger than coffee to wade through the highlights of her year.

I glanced at the clock, still early but, I’m sure somewhere in the world, it’s five o’clock. Nice and toasty by the fireplace, and fortified with a glass of Merlot, I opened Martha Jane’s holiday letter. I’d never understood how the practice of sending holiday letters rather than cards ever started in the first place. I couldn’t seem to get the knack of them myself.

Pictures of Martha Jane’s grandchildren fell to my lap. Poor things they’re both the spitting image her son. What a surprise, other than these pictures her letter didn’t mention the children nor did she start with long bragging paragraphs about their questionable accomplishments. Instead, she wrote about an amazing, fabulous trip with her loving husband Charles and all the marvelous places that they saw on this extraordinary vacation. Martha Jane has been my best friend for more years than I’d care to admit, but dear Lord the woman is long-winded and exhausting even in print. Before long, the rest of her four-page letter lay unread in my lap. Her sightseeing descriptions more like a laundry list from Wikipedia than a holiday letter and by page two I’d lost interest.

I hope half of what she wrote is true, and for a brief moment in time Martha Jane found a little magic in her vacation. Everyone should have at least one enchanted vacation in life. I did, and I’m not talking about Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Mine happened at a tiny secluded beach hotel in Mexico. The staff welcomed us with drinks, food, and smiles putting us at ease until we entered our room and found it contained nothing but a bed and shower, no telephones, television, radio, or cell service. Jake and I both began having immediate withdrawal symptoms. With no ball games, police shows, evening news, or old reruns, we had no idea how we would fill the hours. Plus, for the first time since becoming parents, we couldn’t pick up a phone and call our kids, okay they’re all grownup, but still we worried. Some of our misgivings began to fade with the setting sun when we opened the sliding glass doors and stepped onto the hot white sands of Cancun. In that moment, we decided the breathtaking view might just make up for the missing conveniences.

To say we both had trouble adjusting to the isolated hotel and slow pace of Mexico is a bit of an understatement. I needed to call someone, check on something, clean, cook, type, or do anything. So, as with most vacations, I filled the first few days sightseeing. A better way to describe those first days would be jam-packed. I had us trekking over half of the peninsula determined we would not become bored. At last exhausted, I ticked off the list of things, to see and do. Been there, saw that, we’d done it all, all we could afford, anyway.

The magic happened when we least expected, and weren’t watching. I don’t remember sightseeing the Mayan ruins, or any of the other places we toured sitting crowded together on an ancient city bus as we bounced over narrow dusty roads. If not for the pictures, there’d be no proof we were there.

But, each moment of the long unhurried days and the siestas that bled into night remain seared in my heart. Walks on the beach cocktails in hand, dodging waves, toes in the sand, acting like kids and finding seashells. Curled together; reading books in a hammock. Slow sweet kisses, love making in the afternoon, enjoying late night dinners in tucked away cantinas and listening to colorful Mariachi bands. Laughter and whispered conversations over tall, salt rimmed glasses. Finding time for each other and time for love, those memories never faded. We learned to relax, enjoy life, and each other south of the border way.

In those last few days, we re-discovered the art of just being; we let the warm blue waters of the Caribbean soothe away the stress at a time in our life when we needed to live, and let go. In Cancun, we emerged from hibernation, shaking off years of cold, awaking refreshed, remembering the days of our youth, and stumbling through the fun of a real holiday.

Inspiration awakened me from my musings and refolding my friend’s unread letter I made my way down the hall. In our room, I rummaged through an old box hunting for the brochures. Excitement warmed my heart like the greeting of an old friend as I found the faded pamphlet with a tiny pink hotel on the front. We may never recapture magic like that again, an enchanted moment in time, but we should never stop trying.

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View Comments (8)
  • a beautiful story whisking us all away – south of the border!

  • Pingback: South of the Border Magic | jean's writing()

  • Isabel del Rio

    Well written and a lesson to learn. We’re living in a materialistic world but maybe we’re not so materialistic girls

  • martincid

    Great story, Jean. Congratulations! We are so so so so happy you publish with us. Many many thanks! I would like to be in Cancun someday!

  • Well done, Sis. I’ve never been to Cancun, but your descriptions sure make me want to go, especially now with all I have going on. the story is delightful.

  • Well done!

  • Love this story

  • Pingback: Yareah Magazine Issue 32. On Vacation - Yareah Magazine | Yareah Magazine()


A writer of literary fiction, Ms. Cogdell’s short stories are available in various publications, including, WTD Magazine, Once Upon a Time Anthology, YAREAH Magazine, Flash Fiction World, Squawk Back, and Angie’s Diary Online Writing. She resides in Texas where she is currently completing her first novel, you can visit Jean's Writing blog at

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