beach bummed

Yesterday morning, while Grandpa and Uncles were golfing, we took Calvin to the beach—in Florida—with his Grandma, his Aunts, nephews and niece, all gathered together for a family reunion. It had been over a year since we’d been there before. This time it was humid and hot—blazing hot.

We unloaded the car and walked a hundred yards or so on a wooden plank path loaded down with towels, umbrella, drinks and sunscreen. Although it was only about ten o’clock it had to be ninety-five degrees. We plunked our stuff down close to the mouth of the path, I spread out a towel and laid Calvin on it. Michael sunk the umbrella deep into the firm hot sand. It cast a meager shadow under which I dragged Calvin, who was wilting like a lily in the unforgiving heat. We figured he’d be happier in the surf, so taking his hand I walked him a few yards before he stubbornly collapsed, then I heaved him up onto my hip and carried him the rest of the way. When we reached the water’s edge I plopped him down and a tiny wave crested over his lap. He giggled with delight then promptly put his face in and gulped a mouthful of saltwater. It didn’t seem to faze him, nor did the fistful of melting sand he then tried to eat.

Michael strolled down to join us and we slathered ourselves, and Calvin, in warm greasy white liquid squirt from a tube, hoping to ward off the promise of a bad burn. The sticky lotion made me feel hotter and grosser than a French fried potato dipped in mayonnaise and rolled in sand. By this time poor Calvin was rubbing grit and salt into his tired eyes. We decided to abort the mission, but at least we had attempted to do what the rest of the world seems to do with such ease. I was proud for the simple fact that we weren’t total wimps—didn’t give up without even trying.

Hot and bothered, the three of us left the others behind no more than twenty minutes after we’d arrived. Once in the car Michael blasted the AC and took us, thankfully, to a nearby swimming pool. The gated oasis was nearly deserted and the refreshing water, cool and flat, immediately dissolved away all the nasty sand and salve. And like the little red stunt plane we were watching high up in the sky our furrowed scowls turned upside down into placid smiles while Calvin sat next to me in Michael’s lap, dipped his face into the water and laughed.

detail, photo by Michael Kolster

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