Life’s A Beach

Three Dog Night – one of my favorite musical groups – has it’s own Pandora station under my login. I’m listening to Shambala right now. I have no idea what the song means, or even what half the lyrics are, but I love this song. I love most of the Three Dog Night songs that play on this station. I am a child of the 80s with a soul of the 70s, the ambition of the 60s, and the style of the 50s. No seriously, I have the most Plain Jane style of my generation. (Megan G, after I lose baby weight and then some, when are you coming to help me shop?)

It’s the music of my parents, who listened to the music of their parents, and makes me wonder what Haley (and Cletus-the-she-fetus) will find classic comfort tunes when they recall the music of their parents. Will it be Three Dog Night? New Kids On The Block? Third Day? (Or to Brent’s chagrin, John Michael Montgomery? Don Williams? George Jones?) I don’t know. I just hope to shout it isn’t the Dora the Explorer theme song…heaven help us I cannot stand so many of today’s kids shows. Dora, Diego, Caillou, Yo Gabba Gabba – these are awful.

I’m brain dumping now because there are a few things on my mind that I don’t want to deal with. Ever have those? I had to take a mental health break this afternoon, catch a long nap, and revel in the rays of sunshine the day provided. It’s still winter outside (even though the first day of spring supposedly was six days ago), so to see the sun shining and creating puddles of water where snow used to be is certainly refreshing. Instead of working out my struggles through words, I’m going to tell a story that makes me laugh. You probably won’t find it funny because you weren’t there, but every time I think about it or tell it, it cracks me up. I’m also just going to apologize to my sister right now.

I have seasonal allergies. I’ve had them most my life. Put me anywhere with pollens, plants, dusts, (or most dogs) and my sinuses go absolutely haywire. I would venture a majority of the population suffers from the same. Thankfully, however, this is my only allergic suffering. Granted, I’m allergic to penicillin and ceftin-drugs, but you only need to retain that factoid in the event you are with me in a medical emergency. My sister, however, has some bizarre allergies. She is allergic to cold. If she has any skin exposed in frigid temperatures, she will break out in hives. Hives. From the cold. She is also allergic to Zuma Beach sand. I’m laughing already.

It was 1998, I think. Sometime close to it anyway. We had gone to California to visit family, and I have no idea if it was for a special reason, or just a vacation. We drove from Wyoming, to southern California, up to Oregon, and back to Wyoming. It was a long trip. Long.

When Veronica and I were growing up, we lived six blocks from the beach. We could see the ocean from our kitchen window. Mom sometimes took us to the pier before school. We were valley girls. Beach bums. There was one place I always wanted to be, and it was the beach. (Well, really Taco Bell, but the beach was a very close second.) We grew up with the sand. We grew up with the waves. We grew up with the salty air and the fog. It was in our blood. Literally, because the salty air gave me nosebleeds all the time. I digress.

We left SoCal and headed north to Santa Maria to see Dad’s old work stomping grounds, his old boss, and our second family. Before we got too far, though, we stopped at Zuma Beach. It was quiet, it was peaceful, and it was the one thing we wanted to do while we were in California: spend time on the beach.

I was having “womanly issues” at the time, of course, because every time I have the opportunity to have fun in water, I end up with crippling cramps and the inability to enjoy anything. I rolled up my jean pant legs and walked in the wet sand and even dug up a few sand crabs, but mostly sat and wriggled sand between my toes while laughing hysterically at my sister. She, in her 14 year old youth, was trying to learn to body surf. Dad was trying to teach her. Most of his time, however, was spent telling her to stand up as she continually found herself underneath the waves. She bobbed up spitting and hacking and was ready to go again. It was hilarious. Mom had stayed back, but if she were next to me she would have told me to stop laughing. I think Veronica even yelled at me to stop laughing at her a time or two. I couldn’t help it. It was like she was a weeble. That kept choking on salt water. I will tell you my sister became much more graceful and athletic post-beach-visit. And she’s always been more athletic than me, so really I have no room to poke fun at her. Remember this example?

I took some pictures of myself – which if facebook had existed then, I’m sure would have made awesome profile pictures – and soaked up the California sunshine. Finally Veronica had had enough, and she came and joined me in the sand. She did the customary sand burying – covering her legs and letting it run through her hands. Since she had spent considerable time in the water (and under the water) the sand was sticking to her. Everywhere. Within no time, she began to itch. Like crazy. The look that crossed her eyes…I wouldn’t do it justice to try to describe. I could tell she was uncomfortable, and I could tell she needed immediate relief. This was serious.

Off behind the shore were some public showers. She made a beeline for them and I followed to offer moral support. (She was more athletic than me at this point too, because I was winded when I got to the shower well after she did.) “Valerie. Valerie. It itches so bad. I just want the sand off!” (My sister is the one person on the planet not allowed to call me “Val”. Something about the way she says it is like nails on a chalkboard.) As she relished in the water, we saw them start to appear. Hives. Everywhere. She had to ride up the central coast covered with hives. Hives that were brought on because she sat in some sand. On a beach. And it wasn’t even cold.

I’m not sure what made me laugh harder – watching her jump the waves (or watching them jump over her, rather) or the fact that sand, on God’s beautiful shore, had caused her such discomfort. Probably a little of both. I’m sure most of it was relief I didn’t have the same experience. I don’t believe it’s ever happened to her since, and she’s been in sand on a few beaches in the years gone by.

The good news in this is I guess I don’t have to knit her legwarmers for her next beach visit…The bad news is she can never visit the shores of the Red River in the winter time…

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