There is nothing quite like smelling the salt air, seeing the seagulls soaring overhead, hearing the waves crashing on the beach and feeling the cool, wet sand squishing beneath your feet!! Add to that the adventure of hunting for special shells and rocks, digging holes or building castles in the sand, trying to jump through or ride on the waves…and you’ve just described a perfect beach afternoon!
When I was growing up, going to Oceanside or Moonlight Beach was about my favorite place ever. We did not get to go on many trips or vacations, but on a beautiful, summer day, it was a real treat to go to the ocean for the afternoon…and then we would usually have supper there too. Now supper at the beach was part of the experience. We would take quite a bit of wood – so we could build a large fire in the cement ring on the sand. We would wrap potatoes and corn-on-the-cob in foil and put them down in the coals of the fire. Somehow my daddy always knew just how long they needed to cook. While they were baking – we’d get out some hotdogs or hamburgers and grill them as well. Yum, what a meal…and of course, it was always sprinkled with sand that blew in from somewhere…I guess it made things taste better! Then when we’d eaten our fill, out would come the marshmallows. We’d put 2 of those big white fluffy puffs on a roasting stick and get as close to the fire as we dared and roast and toast them until they were golden brown. Now here’s a funny story…I always liked to let my marshmallows catch on fire and get pretty black before I’d eat them. Well, one time, I guess I didn’t blow on it enough – and I put the marshmallow in my mouth and it still had fire in it…I sure didn’t waste anytime spitting that out…and from then on I was much more careful about how I toasted my marshmallows!!
The other thing we would do at the beach was gather sea weed (called kelp) and put it in large silver tubs to take home to put on our garden. Kelp is slippery and looks like long ropes that have leaves on them…It also has these cool bulbs that you could step on and POP!
When the moon was full, sometimes we would go to the beach at night to hunt grunion. Grunion are tiny little silver fish that wash up onto the sand to lay their eggs. They are also good to eat. We’d have our flashlights to shine on the waves, waiting to see them coming in on the high tide. You had to be fast to grab them before they would wash back out to sea on the following waves. It was great fun!! Just being at the beach in the dark was exciting…everything sounded and looked different just by firelight.
Oh – how I enjoy the ocean…It calms and soothes me and I have many happy memories of being there!!