Beach Day

On Sunday, we went to the beach with two of Cadillac’s cousins and some of their children and Cadillac’s dad and our children, so with (doing some math…[i.e. counting on my fingers]) 12 people. The cousins live in other cities, so we don’t see them that much; and some of them live in Colorado, so we really don’t them that much. 

The water was only 67 degrees, which is pretty darn cold to me, almost the same temp as the air (when you counted wind). Cadillac and his dad supervised the kids in the water while I wandered around with Eldest looking at the dogs, at Dog Beach, the next one over.

Eldest and I watched the dogs for a bit. Dogs at the beach quick form packs,but how there’s always some outcast dog who can’t read doggy language. There was a Pomeranian missing an eye (sadly, no pirate patch)who attached itself to a medium-sized grey dog that looked like a hyena. The hyena-dog got more and more distressed at the Pomeranian wanting to be its new BFF until the hyena dog’s owner picked it up and slung it over his shoulder. The hyena-dog was shouting, “Daddy, that Pomeranian won’t leave me alone!”

Then the pirate Pomeranian attached itself to a tan chihuahua and its buddies, which pissed off the chihuahua, which started humping the Pomeranian. Then the Pomeranian tried to hump the chihuahua, at which point the chihuahua owner intervened. The Pom owner never appeared. I’d assume they’re the same kind of people who pretend that they don’t see their human child pushing another kid off the slide at the park.

A big mastiff ran through the dogs in a zigzag, over and over, back and forth, trying to get other dogs’ tennis balls and being so hyper that the other dogs wouldn’t let it play. A German Shepherd nipped and barked at it until the mastiff left. Then the mastiff played with two black and tan chihuahuas, which looked fine until the mastiff realized these dogs were snacks and totally tried to eat them. The chihuahua owners picked up their dogs and the mastiff jumped up and tried to get the little dog out of the woman’s arms. The mastiff owner never surfaced, either. 

Then we went back and sat on the towel.Grandpa came in from the water to rest and we sat around looking at the water.

I looked out and saw Little Girl splashing in the shallow waves, Cadillac nearby. Then I looked out for Boy. 

I didn’t see him immediately, but I did see a lifeguard on one of those big boards talking to someone, and reaching out his hand, whom I recognized as my son. 

“Is that lifeguard towing in my son?” I asked.

“AGAIN?” Grandpa said.

File under: Words which do not quell fear.

Son waved off the lifeguard and I scurried down to the water to my husband. “Did he just get towed in?”

“No,” Cadillac said, “he’s fine. He made it in on his own. But I did have to go get him once.”

There was a rip current, apparently, which you can see sort of when the waves don’t have that foamy stuff on them. And the tide keeps pulling you toward it.

Also, my father-in-law said there’s a sand jetty out there that you can actually stand on, so Son was never really in danger, and that the lifeguard was just earning his keep on a slow day. 

I asked Son what happened, and he said, “Oh, the lifeguard was just notifying me about the rip current.” 

Which I guess isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Back in the day, my parents would only take us to North Island for the beach, which is scarcely populated, had no lifeguard, and a terrible riptide which I would always get caught in with my boogie board. I’d try to paddle parallel, but mostly I’d try to go against it, but obviously something I did worked because I am still here.

Also once, my friends and I walked too far down the beach looking for shells, and ended up on a clay shooting range (I think it was the kind where there are those disks that fly up and you shoot them) past signs that said DO NOT ENTER SHOOTING RANGE and STOP YOU ARE ENTERING A SHOOTING RANGE; and almost got shot (which is what happens if you have a bunch of nearsighted girls who remove their glasses at the beach– you can’t see any warning signs) and got yelled at by some military guy who asked for ID and if we were “civilians” and we were worried that we’d be prosecuted as 12-year-old spies, and then he drove us out to the road in a Jeep and had to walk back to the beach the long way on hot asphalt with bare feet. THOSE were the days. 

I ALWAYS paid attention to signs after that.


Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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