Posted tagged ‘sand’

“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

October 12, 2017

My friends have left, and my house is ever so quiet. As always we had the best time together. On Tuesday we had a ride along the ocean, and I took them to my favorite spots. The sun was glinting off the water. It was so warm people sat on beach chairs in the sand sunning themselves. It was a summer day in fall.

We ate appetizers on the deck. The birds had found the filled feeders, and they flew back and forth from feeders to branches. Most of them were chickadees.

Peg had brought dinner, shrimp pesto. She had also brought vegetables, a cheese log dip, crackers, some fruit and dessert. The brownies had chocolate chips, and there was a thick fudge sauce to put on them adding to the chocolate overload though I would contend there is really no such thing as a chocolate overload. I am just using the term to give a vivid picture of how wonderful dessert was. Gracie was restless that night. At 1:30 she wanted food so I fed her and I had a brownie. Afterwards, we were both quite content.

Bill is a talented furniture maker and handyman. He did some repairs in the house, a few of which have been driving me crazy. Some of the fixes include the toilet upstairs which now flushes, the toilet holder downstairs again secure on the wall, my old curio cabinet repaired and my front storm shutting automatically.

Bill and Peg brought gifts. One was a wooden Red Sox peg board. Another was a framed silhouette of a boxer. There was homemade grape jelly and African coffee. The dip was in a pottery bowl and the bowl was also a gift. I can’t think there are better guests than Bill and Peg.

Last night we had dinner at Karoo’s, a South African restaurant. It is one of my favorite places. Bill and Peg had been there before and requested it for this trip. I had monkey ribs and beef samosas for appetizers. The drink I ordered, the speciality of the night, was amazingly refreshing with vodka, grapefruit juice and a simple syrup. My dinner was bobotie beef, a curried meatloaf served with turmeric rice and chutney. Bill and Peg both had West African peanut soup with pumpkin added though in Ghana it would have been groundnut soup. Peg had a falafel sandwich. All of us had come to love Lebanese food in Ghana, and we ate many felafel sandwiches, all wrapped in foil.

This morning was leisurely. Sadly, at close to eleven, Peg and Bill started loading up to go home. Gracie and I went outside to say goodbye. My house feels empty without them.

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“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”

May 10, 2016

Today is a gift. I’m thinking Mother Nature has decided to stop teasing us with winter and has embraced spring. Not a branch moves in the stillness of the morning. The sun is bright and is framed by a blue sky. The birds are singing, and I hear several different songs. My feeders are getting a lot of traffic. It is in the mid 50’s but will get warmer as the day grows older. Tonight will be in the mid 40’s. It is a Cape Cod spring day.

This is the time of year when I’d ride my bike to school. I remember speeding down the hills and feeling chilly from the wind. My jacket would fill with air. The ride was short, probably about ten minutes, all downhill going and uphill returning. It should have been the opposite.

The bike rack was old and wooden. It was under branches from the tree in a yard next to the school fence. It was painted a dark green and had layers of paint. You could see them all when the paint chipped. I never had a lock for my bike. I don’t think anyone did. The bikes weren’t fancy. They had the back pedal brakes. Most had wire baskets. The best part of riding my bike was getting home fast and having more time to play in the afternoon.

The streets all had sand from winter when the sand trucks would come by and spew their sand on the snow to give cars better traction, but this time of year it was the street cleaning trucks which would come by. They had brushes low to the ground and would sweep the sand to the  curbside. A couple of times I skidded in the sand. Sometimes we did what came to be called wheelies. Our bikes would leave circular skid marks. Braking at the right time and place was the key.

The day hasn’t started well. I had an early morning meeting and nearly fell out of bed when the alarm went off. On the way to the bathroom I stepped in cat throw up. I have to go out but not for anything fun. I have to some x-rays done of my back. I’ve decided I deserve a good lunch, my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie for dessert. I definitely earned it this morning.

“I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.”

July 2, 2013

The day is thick with an intermittent breeze. Rain is again predicted, maybe even thunder showers. The sun won’t be making an appearance until tomorrow when the weather report predicts partly cloudy. I think they could have thrown us a bone and said partly sunny instead.

I used to like to miniature golf. I admit, though, that the windmill sometimes gave me trouble even with its three openings to the hole. My ball usually hit the wall between the openings and bounced right back at me. I’d keep count, one stroke, then try again, two strokes, and hope the ball would go through and maybe even into the hole. Nope, that never happened. It usually went through but to a corner, and I’d have to move the ball a club head length away from the side so I could putt. Par was like a magic number to me. The best thing about the miniature golf course in my town was it took just a minute or two to walk to the Chinese restaurant after a strenuous 18 holes.

We used to spend the whole day at the beach, usually Sunday because Saturday was my dad’s errand and chore day. We swam, walked the beach, collected shells, ate sandy food and were never bored, not the whole day. My mother wasn’t a swimmer. She had never learned how. She used to sit on the blanket and read and keep an eye on my two sisters who never strayed far. She wasn’t worried about my brother or me as we could swim, and she could see us walking along the shore or throwing rocks into the water. I remember she’d go crazy if we stepped on the blanket with sandy feet. That meant taking everything off and shaking out the blanket. The picnic basket was always on one side to anchor the blanket and keep it from blowing. We’d eat lunch and then periodically comb the basket for a snack as the day lengthened. Usually we’d find cookies or fruit. In the late afternoon, it was time to pack everything up and trudge to the car. My dad always put a towel on the seat to keep the seat dry and the sand out of his car. He’d then have us sit on the edge of the seat while he dunked our feet in a bucket of water to get the sand off and then we’d inside the car so the next sandy feet could be cleaned. The ride home was usually a blur as I slept most of the way.

I remember lying on my pillow as I was falling asleep and feeling warm water drip out of my ear. It was the weirdest sensation.

“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.”

December 18, 2012

As I was walking downstairs this morning, I could smell the Christmas tree. I smiled. I love that smell and can’t think of no better way to greet the morning. Right away I went over and turned on the tree lights. They brightened the room and chased away the clouds and the rain.

Yesterday Gracie and I went about doing a couple of errands. She got her nails trimmed, and while I waited, I bought her a few surprises for Christmas. I also stopped at a favorite bakery to get cookies to bring to the library for this week’s Christmas open house. The bakery owner, whom I see all the time, was there and asked what I was looking for. I told him about the open house and the library. He said he loved libraries and then he gave me three packages of his cookies as a gift to the library. How kind that was! How generous! I am forever thankful for the goodness in people.

I got a call from my friend Bill who had somehow managed to track down Patrick, another volunteer with whom we had served in Bolga. I had looked for Patrick for a while but never found him. Bill found a story in an Iowan newspaper about Patrick and send an e-mail last September asking if the Patrick he’d found was our Patrick, but Bill didn’t get an answer until now when Patrick called him. Pat’s memory is a bit fuzzy. He barely remembered Ghana let alone any of us. He asked Bill if there wasn’t also a gal in Bolga. I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone say gal. Bill told him I was that gal. I had to chuckle as did Bill. I have Patrick’s phone number and am aimin’ to give that galoot a call. I’ll introduce myself as a gal he knew from way back when.

I have a story I like to tell this time of year about my first Christmas in Ghana, my very first ever away from home. I was   homesick and sad. My mother tried to help so she sent me a small tree, ornaments from our family tree, brick crepe paper so I could make a fireplace and a small stocking to hang. I decorated my house but it didn’t help much. Besides, the weather was all wrong. It was the harmattan, the driest time of the year with a hot, dusty wind which blew each day and covered every surface in my house with sand. The heels of my feet cracked from the dryness, and I had to walk on tiptoes until the skin hardened. The only redeeming parts of the harmattan were the nights. They were cold, put a wool blanket on the bed cold. I’d leave all my windows open so I could snuggle under my blanket. It felt a bit like winter.

The nights in Bolga were quiet. They were bright with stars which seemed to blanket the sky. I was in bed trying to fall asleep on a night close to Christmas when I heard a small boy singing. His voice carried though the night air. It was the only sound I could hear. He sand We Three Kings, every verse. His voice was beautiful. I don’t know where he was. I guessed he lived in a compound near my house, but that didn’t really matter. He gave me one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received. He gave Christmas.

Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.”

July 8, 2012

We’re still in a heat wave of sorts. It’s not as hellish as the south or the mid-west, but it is far too hot for us this time of year. I’m still inside where it’s cool. Later, though, I’ll have to venture out as I still need a few things for tonight.

Saturday night was drive-in movie night. We, of course, always wore our pajamas. I remember when I was around 5 or 6 and I left the car by myself to go the bathroom telling my parents I’d be fine. I found the bathroom but couldn’t find our car afterwards. I went up and down the rows getting more and more panicky. Finally I went to the concession stand. They announced me over the car speakers, and my dad came and rescued me. I was still young enough to feel relieved instead of embarrassed. My dad was an impatient man. The idea of waiting in a long line to exit the drive-in was totally unappealing so he’d get a head start on the traffic. We left before the movie was over. My father guessed at the end time, but I have no idea how close his guesses were. I just know I watched a silent movie as we left the drive-in.

By this time most Sundays, my dad would have packed up the car for the beach. That meant the tartan cooler, the picnic basket, the blanket, towels and shirts for sun protection. We didn’t have any sunscreen back then except for my mother who’d make us cover up before we got too burned. My mother was fastidious about keeping the sand off the blanket. She’d let us sit down as long as our feet were stretched out across the sand. During the day she was known to move everything off the blanket a few times so she could shake the sand off it because that blanket was where my mother perched the whole day except maybe for a walk on the beach in the afternoon with my sisters who wanted to look for shells, and on really hot days when she’d sometimes tip her toes into the ocean, but that was always as far in as she dared. We were the water bugs.

My dad worked a long week and often didn’t make it home for dinner. On summer Saturday mornings, he did errands and household chores like mowing the lawn, but the rest of the weekend he spent with us. Even though I never saw the movies end, I loved going to the drive-in and nothing was better than Sunday at the beach.

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”

July 1, 2012

The line outside my Sunday breakfast spot was long. I even had to put my name on a list. The air conditioning has been on since early yesterday afternoon. Gracie pants every time she goes outside. Barely a leaf moves, just the few every now and then at the tips of the branches. This is a summer weekend!

I remember weekends at the beach when I was a kid. Nothing tasted better after swimming and playing in the sand than a cold cup of Zarex and a sandwich with a gritty crunch. The Oreos my mother always packed tasted best with an ocean view. We always went shell hunting and came home every time with a pile of them. Our house should have been filled with them, but after a while they disappeared, finally tossed by my mother when she cleaned. After a day in the sun, I don’t think I ever stayed awake on the ride home. I remember going to bed with my head on the pillow and having hot water trickle from my ears, water the result of diving in the ocean, mostly at the sandbar where the water, when the tide was out, was warm enough to enjoy.

I remember an Easter Sunday at the beach in Ghana. I don’t remember which beach, but it had clean water, a place which sold food and few people. We walked a long way on the sand and played ball with a palm tree branch bat and a coconut ball. I got the worst sunburn.

In Togo, the beach sand was so hot your feet could barely stand the walk on it. We always hurried to the small thatched cabanas here and there on the sand. They were usually empty. Very few people went to the beach. The water there was wonderful though I remember one time when I was swimming and a dead pig floated by me. I wasn’t all that grossed out-I had been in Arica over a year and was just about beyond being grossed out by anything. There was a hotel with a restaurant across from the beach, and we often stopped there to eat after an afternoon swimming and lounging under the cabana. We usually ordered bifteck and pomme frites with a coke. The restaurant wasn’t fancy, but I can still see it in my mind’s eye. It was white with a blue trim, had outside tables and a view of the beach.

Beaches fill so many of my memory drawers it is no wonder I live on the Cape.

 

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”

March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!

We welcomed spring this morning by watching the sunrise on the beach. We arrived about 6:15, and when we got out of the car, the smell of the ocean filled the air the way it does on some mornings. A bank of fog covered the houses behind us on the bay, but the ocean was clear. It was the warmest first day of spring I can remember. At first, we were the only ones on the beach. There we were, the  three of us, sitting in our beach chairs as if it were a summer day. The sea was so calm you could barely see the waves touch the sand. Behind us were squawking ducks while over the water were seagulls making all sorts of noises. I watched the birds dive into the water hunting breakfast. The sky was pink, and the pink was reflected in the water. Clare hunted shells so we could have a memento. A woman and her dog went by us down to the jetty at the end of the beach. She was throwing a tennis ball, and he was running with such joy I swear the dog was smiling.

We saw the sun start to rise when the tip first appeared, and it was glorious, all red and so bright it made us see dots before our eyes. As the sun got bigger, it seemed to get brighter and brighter. The water was so calm it reflected every bit of the light, and on it we could see the red as if a broad road led from the sun. Canada geese floated by us and several others flew right over the water toward the rising sun. We sang our welcome spring songs and took pictures of each other. It was a glorious morning which ended with our traditional first spring breakfast.

On the way home from breakfast, we couldn’t see Scargo Lake because the fog was so dense. I love foggy mornings, and I loved this morning with all its beauty, color and tradition.