Having grown up in a seaside town the beach was always just there. You could smell the ocean in the breeze. Life just seemed to naturally revolve around it. When I was little I spent day after day with my siblings, our mom and friends in the sun, running up and down the beach, searching tidal pools for crabs, jumping from stone to stone along the breakwater and, after an unfortunate encounter which ended with me soaking a very swollen foot in a bucket of saltwater, hunting down jelly fish along the shore and burying them in the sand. In the evenings, after dad had returned from work we would go for ice cream and then (back in the days of gas that cost less than a dollar per gallon) we’d go for a drive. We always either started or ended with a tour of the beach.
When I was old enough to venture off on my own by bike and then, terrifyingly to my parents, in a car our nights always ended at the beach. No matter where we had gone it always ended on the same wall, feet dangling over the sand 6 feet below while the tide rolled in and out. There is one spot on the beach that is “Our” beach. Unlike the rest of the beaches in town, this one was covered in pebbles. People who were walking barefoot along the beach avoided it and it was not a place to put down a towel to catch some sun so it was always empty regardless of the time of day we arrived. It had a very special attribute though, because of the pebbles, it had a very distinct sound. The waves were gentle since it was tucked in behind a point and when each wave receded the pebbles rolled against each other. It sounded like thousands of marbles rolling against each other. I can still hear it in my head though erosion has all but destroyed that beach now.
Because of all that, it is shocking to me that I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve taken Monkey to the beach! We live 4 miles from the ocean but that’s 4 city miles which translates to at least 30 minutes of driving. Well, sitting in traffic, sitting at stoplights, trying not to run over suicidal pedestrians and a little bit of driving. Going to the beach is a CHORE.
Duhdee lamented, the time before last, that all Monkey wanted to do was throw rocks in the water. It does get tedious after more than a few minutes. Monkey didn’t care if another kid ran in front of him or not, he was all about throwing that rock so we had to stay on high alert and keep him from hurting anyone by mistake.
At the beginning of August, when we went again, Monkey spent much more time running around and playing and much less time throwing rocks. He was most enamored of a large hole someone had dug along the waterline as the tide had receded. He splashed in the puddle for a very long time. We would pursuade him to venture down the beach a ways but he still kept returning to the hole to splash.
On Friday we made the trek to the beach once again and it was, by far, the best time we’ve had so far at the beach. Monkey played in the water with Duhdee (he went out to his WAIST!), dug in the sand, stomped on the sand towers we built for him, splashed a bit in the puddle we made for him and even ventured down to the surf line alone to squat in the water and let the waves roll across his knees. When we told him we were going to take a walk we pointed out some tire tracks from one of the maintenance vehicles and he raced along switching from one track to the next. He made us run along on them too and steered us back if we wandered off. He was giggling and really enjoying himself. We found a hermit crab and Monkey was interested but then moved on. When we turned around he raced back along the tire tracks but moved away from them when we told him it was time to go back to our towels.
The only fly in the ointment was that, at some point, he cut his foot on something. It is a beach in the city so you do have to be careful of broken bottles. The cut is right on his heel and is a decent size. He never let on that he was hurt so we have no idea when it happened or what was responsible. The lifeguards had a first aid kit so we were able to clean it up and bandage it but it did not last long. By the time we got home it needed to be cleaned again and re-bandaged. That bandage survived the night but was removed in the morning. We keep cleaning it and bandaging it but he will NOT keep the Bandaids on. Earlier he had two Bandaids on, one on his hand because he asked for it and one on his foot because he needed it. Can you guess which one he left on for hours and which one he took off within minutes? The goober. This cut cannot heal (ha!) fast enough.
One of our neighbors tipped us off to another beach just a bit further down the road from the one we went to that is a bit cleaner. I think we’ll try that one next time and hope to avoid a repeat of this incident. See that? NEXT TIME. We’re looking forward to the next time already.
You know what else we’re going to try again? A fair…that’s tomorrow. I’m hoping that this time will be a good warm up for the big fair I want to go to next month. Let’s hope the cows are as interesting as last year and, just maybe, he’ll be able to at least walk through the midway? If not tomorrow then next month and if not next month then next year or the year after that…