Monday, July 25, 2005


The nice thing about living on an island, you're real close to a beach. This morning I picked up the phone and called my folks, "You want to go to the beach today?" More than just walking down to the nearest beach, a rocky strip along the shipping lane, I decided a full on Expedition was called for, mom agreed. After working out the logistics of 3 households (my sister and niece were coming also) via multiple phone calls, we headed off to Double Bluff, a sheltered cove. When the tide is low, the sand goes out for about a mile with shallow tide pools and plenty of shells.
We packed a picnic basket and a bag full of swimsuits, spare clothes, towels, and the bare minimum of accoutrements needed by a 3 month old infant. My dad schelepped his cooler, and the baby, whilst I carried basket, bag and walked our Aussie Shephard. My mother, toted potable water and a collapsable bowl for dog drinks and walked her Dalmation. My sister carried a bag of clothes and whatnot for her daughter and walked her goofy lab mix. My niece, the Verbalist and the Muralist ran along carrying shovels, pails and generally whooping it up.
We let the dogs loose once we passed the flag of freedom, denoting the beginning of the off lead area. They tore off and genially brawled for a few minutes as dogs do, then found other dogs to wrassle before trotting back to us, "Still here? Everyone safe? good, good." Off they trotted again, tongues lolling happily.
My father stopped close to the water and said, "I am not going any farther." Incipient waffling from my mother, who always likes going "just a little further", was ended by the arguement that little legs would be Very Tired by the close of festivities. Sandals immediately shucked, off to the water we splashed.
After a while we splashed out again and tucked into sandwiches that mysteriously contained sand, even after being thoroughly encased in plastic, an warm apple juice. The tide began to creep up on us as we ate so we retreated up to the beach to where the tide would not get us. The kids were off again constructing sand castles, finding rocks and shells and splashing the dogs.
At last we packed up and began schelepping back down the beach towards the county provided port-o-lets and picnic tables and the one bare spigot for washing the sand off your feet. As I handed off the baby for safe stowing to my father, I turned to see the little legs, as tired as projected, straggling up the beach, herded by my mother and sister. It was the scene from Ben-Hur, Judah forced across burning sand by centurians- if Judah were insisting on carrying a bucket of rocks, noteworthy only to him with promises of ice cream if he just made it.
I went a picked up the Muralist who transformed into a dead weight at once and took the hand of the Verbalist. Buckled up and on the road again home, I rolled down the window and felt the cool breeze on my face.

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