Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Home, part IV

Finally! Here is part IV. If you haven't caught any of the Home Series, read Home, part I, Home, part II, and Home, part III. I hope you're enjoying our adventures! Please let me know what you think!

We sat and relaxed for a short time, about 5 minutes, before SmallBoy and PC decided it was time to build a sand castle. The little girl who had come down and set up camp while her friends went in the lake was still sitting by herself, keeping watch. PC thought that perhaps this might be an opportune moment to work on social skills with SmallBoy by having him invite her to come and join them. He and I discussed it and decided that would be a great idea. PC asked SmallBoy if it would be alright if the girl joined in the construction of the castle, and SmallBoy agreed; she came down to the beach with boys so she can’t have TOO MANY cooties. Next step: get SmallBoy to go ask her to join the fun.

“Hey, SmallBoy. How about going over and asking that little girl to come and play with us?”


“SmallBoy, why don’t you walk over, introduce yourself, and see if she would like to help?”


SmallBoy was fully engrossed in the idea of the sand castle and, although he was not averse to having someone new join in the fun, he was not about to stop what he was doing in order to take the necessary steps to have that happen. Instead, PC, being the true gentleman that he is, walked over to her, introduced himself, SmallBoy, and me. She said her name was G. He asked her if she had a cottage in the park or if she was just visiting, she was visiting. Her mother was painting a mural inside a friend’s newly purchased cottage, and the kids had come along for the vacation. WOW! She was one luck girl! She said one of the boys in the water was her brother, E, and the other, M, was the son of the woman who owned the cottage where her mother was painting. PC asked G if she would like to come and help. She declined. I couldn’t tell if it was a decline because she wanted to stay put in spectator mode or if it was that she was told by her mom not to do anything until she arrived on the beach.

PC and SmallBoy returned to their building. The first part of their construction was to dig deep enough in the sand to reach water and create a pool for the castle. They set this part in the wettest sand, closest to the breaking waves. The concept was to have the pool fill as the waves crashed in. Brilliant idea, we thought. The hole was dug about a foot and a half across and probably about 6 inches deep. Next they began to line the inside of the pool with medium-sized beach rocks to fortify the inside walls….it was all about the strength of the pool and how it would stand strong against the attacks from the water. The next step was the fortification of the pool’s exterior. Large rocks were chosen for stabilizing the gate walls of their castle. In comparison to the interior rocks, these were boulders. By no stretch of the imagination were these rocks really boulders, or even the size of bricks, but when side-by-side with the rocks holding up the inside walls, they were enormous, and considerably heavier. Each rock was chosen on its weight, its shape, and its “coolness”, because you know a man’s castle must be cool, and therefore, his pool cannot be anything less.

Once the pool’s gates had been strengthened, it was time to begin decorating/fortifying the outer walls – they said fortify, I said decorate. PC began by making drizzle castles along the upper rim of the pool, the part that was level with the beach. All along the perimeter of the pool stood individual drizzle castles. For those of you have not had the joy of making a drizzle castle, the process is a simple one: Fill your hands with wet sand and drizzle it into a pyramid-ish shape. As the castle forms, it takes on the effect of those drip candles – you know, in college, the ones we all used to stick in the chianti bottles and melt (and then burn another one in a different color) – each layer dripping down onto the one beneath, until the “castle” has formed a steeple-like peak. I thought they looked like a forest of pine trees that had been caught up in a sudden sand storm. With the forest of castles firmly in place, or as firm as sand can be anyway, PC and SmallBoy decided it was time to add the pebbles to decorate/fortify the outer walls of the pool. For strength, they scooped up handfuls of rocks and pebbles of many sizes, shapes, and colors, and packed them into the side walls. This took quite a while, considering the size of our castle pool.

PC and SmallBoy were busily tending to their magnificent creation, when one of the boys came in from the water and asked if he could help. He introduced himself as E. He told us that the girl on spectator duty, whom we had already met, was his sister G. E immediately set about helping to gather pebbles and add them to the walls; and just in time, too! The next thing we knew, the waves had a sudden surge and were crashing even harder on the beach. It seemed that our mighty fortress was under attack! It was quite a sight watching two boys and a grown man rushing with an intense urgency to protect and save their creation. G. saw the urgency with which the guys were rushing up and down the beach and finally came over and asked if she could join in the fun. OF COURSE!

Finally, after what seemed like eons, the waves eased, the “ocean” subsided, and the fort was safe. SmallBoy and E thought that in celebration, they would take turns burying each other in the sand. The began digging a hole with their hands, like dogs – or primitive men. PC saw that if they continued digging this way, the process would take the entire weekend. He jumped right in with the boys, helped dig, and offered “digging advice” on how to maximize their project with minimal work. They became so carried away with their digging, that the hole was big enough to bury both boys…which was exactly what they did. SmallBoy and E sat facing each other, cross-legged, and PC buried them up to their shoulders. G came over and taunted her brother, all the while, the boys just laughed. To bust out of their entombment, they both used the Incredible-Hulk-Break-Out method, flexing their 8 & 9 year old muscles until the sand finally broke away.

Covered in sand, there was only one thing to do…and they got right back in the water. As I looked up from writing about the fortress building, I saw PC, SmallBoy, E, & G all back in the water. SmallBoy flopped in to get off all of the sand, E did the same, G took great joy as she splashed her brother, and PC, well, he was enjoying being a kid – a grown up kid, mind you. No one said that we ALWAYS need to act our age, right?

PC and SmallBoy took one last trek out to the sandbar. There, they met the other boys who had come down with E & G. These boys were a bit older, more like 11 & 12. For the rest of the afternoon, they surfed the waves, splashed each other, jumped, flopped, and bellyflopped over the waves. When they finally came back into shore, they were breathing heavy, their lips were back to blueberry purple, and they were shivering. Exhausted? Yes. Done for the day? Definitely. Ready for more tomorrow? OH YEAH!

As I folded up the beach chairs, gathered the cooler, the towels, and my writing, the guys made one last fortification effort for the afternoon. The waves had, once again, become stronger, which made it quite apparent that something was blowing in from the west. If our castle had any hope of surviving the impeding storm, it needed more strength. PC and SmallBoy packed in the beach rocks and pebbles as much as they could. We bid farewell to our castle, imprinted it on our memory, and headed back up to the cottage. Our hope was to come back down and have a beach fire that night with G, E, S – their mom, and the family they were staying with – to roast marshmallows, drink beer (and juice boxes), and have fun. We hoped that the weather would cooperate.

SmallBoy demonstrated, once again, his amazing memory and his growing familiarity with the park, as he led us back to the cottage down the path. I was certain that this had become his favorite route, but couldn’t decide if it was because it was shorter, because it was woodsy, or because it was just “cool.” As we walked, though, our stomachs growled in hunger. We had not brought any snacky food to the beach with us, just juice and beer. The guys worked much harder and, were therefore, much much hungrier than I. We had two choices for dinner: more hot dogs or pizza from DiMaggio’s – the world’s best pizza (outside of Chicago, that is). Gee, which would you have picked?

As the cheese formed a tightrope between our mouths and our pizza, our tummies made more noise – this time in gratitude. We talked about our plans for the evening. PC and I watched with concern as the sky darkened and the wind began to pick up. SmallBoy was so set on going to the beach fire. We were worried that this might totally throw him off. We had made it a point, as we progressed through the day, to stress to SmallBoy that even when we try to plan things, sometimes they have to change; that as early as that morning when we left, the weather forecast had predicted rain, and had made us aware that we might have to have a Plan B for the night time hours. While we sat. devouring our pizza with the ferocity of wild beasts, the rain began to fall. It was a light rain, which left us some hope that it would lift and pass before it was time to go down to the beach fire. We made our way home, changed our clothes, and relaxed on the screened in porch while we digested our dinner and formulated Plan B – all the while, we prayed we wouldn’t have to use it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can picture eveery moment...and I am so glad Smallboy had such a wonderful time...and that PC can still be a kid (HA...like I didn't know THAT!!) Meem