Jul 9, 2008

Beach Bouncing

by Faith St. Clair

I have nothing fancy to focus on today other than our 4th of July expedition. I might call the 4th “fun”, but not fancy. It was also retrospective and cold – imagine that in July!

At the last minute, we discovered that our daughter had off from work, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we headed to the beach in Playa del Rey, CA! We got in late Thursday night after everyone had gotten off of work and stayed at our friends’ condo right on the beach. It was fun to be all snuggled in a little apartment on couches and a blow-up mattress, listening to the outside clamor of early 4th of July preparations as the sun rose on Friday morning. We didn’t have any central air, so open windows with the smell of the Pacific Ocean breezing through our sleeping quarters gave way to some calming dreams. Even the overzealous partiers, claiming their picnic spots at 5am didn’t deter our peace (well…mine, anyway).

I got up and went for a solitude walk on the beach. As I stepped into the sand and walked closer to the water, I began to drown in a tsunami of emotions, flooding from childhood memories. I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and as little tots, my Mother took us to the beach on a daily basis. The sand pushing up the arches on my feet and squeezing between my toes, the smell of the seaweed and the sound of the rushing waves took me home – I was home. We were one – the past, the present, my Mother, the beach and me.

After I felt I could part with my memories, I left the beach and went back to the condo where we tuned into the annual Hot Dog Eating contest. Imagine someone asking you what you do for a living and you say, “I’m a professional eater.” Well I often feel like that, but I must only be an amateur because nobody ever pays me for it nor do they put me on national television. It’s a good thing too, because watching me shove 64 hot dogs AND THEIR BUNS into my mouth in 10 minutes might be something they would have to air on a horror station rather than a fourth of July event!

Next came my most favorite part. We set our stuff up at the beach with umbrellas, rolled towels and a sheet to lie on, tucking the corners underneath the sand to keep it from blowing away. As the girls went on a bike ride, I laid out onto the sheet, used a towel as a pillow and nestled into a nap. That’s the best place in the whole world, sleeping on the beach listening to children’s laughter, the water tumbling and splashing, light conversations as people pass by, small aircraft advertising local wares and pelicans screeching across the sea. I could have stayed there forever – and almost did as confirmed by my Kenai Red Salmon-colored legs.

We walked the bike bath around the inlets and over by the marina and enjoyed the fireworks at the beach that night. The next day we drove up to visit more friends at Ventura beach (spreading the wealth of our company). I’m not sure if it was the breeze, or the breeze on my sunburn, but I thought it was rather cold! I’m from the east coast. We never did “cold” at the beach! Both days, the water was too cold for me to get into and for that reason, I really missed my growing-up beach in Florida.

The beach, the freedom of being able to go to the beach, fireworks, time with my family, great people, a nap at the beach and food! Sounds like a perfect vacation to me – even if it was only for two days!


  1. I grew up on the west coast and have similar memories of the beach. What vivid imagery you have given us; “…sand pushing up the arches on my feet and squeezing between my toes…" ~ "…sleeping on the beach listening to children’s laughter, the water tumbling and splashing, light conversations as people pass by, small aircraft advertising local wares and pelicans screeching across the sea…” Wow!! Just reading it ~ I was THERE!! Thanks for such a fun romp in the waves with you. Nicely done!

  2. I'm at Gulf Shores and boy you and I had the same Fourth...family, beach, you described it perfectly. Only of course it wasn't cold here and I didn't get burned. I'm just saying...

  3. Wow--I grew up in CA, on the beach, and you brought memories rushing back into my mind. My mother loved the beach and when I'm there I feel as though I'm closer to her.

  4. Loved your post, Faith. I am going to LA tonight. Doug's dad passed away while we were on our way home from the trek. I am going to try to get some walking on the beach time...sounds very therapeutic!

  5. The great Gulf Stream not only warms the east coast of America, but even keeps the ice away from the southern coast of Iceland. Amazing. The Pacific coast waters are cold, but invigorating.

    My first 4th of July memory was in Rexburg, idaho, on what was called the 'Rexburg Bench,' with flattened areas just above Ricks College, supposedly left by the banks of the ancient Bonneville Lake. A small cabin plane furnished short rides from a runway bull-dozed in the compact soil, and I got to ride with my mother, uncles, and my grandmother. Grandma Wilcox was born in Winter Quarters (Florence, Nebraska) in February, 1847, and came by covered wagon to "the Valley" in Parley P. Pratt's company, arriving in September of the same year. And she lived long enough to fly. I was a pre-schooler, but even then I sort of appreciated the historical moment.


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