Beachy Keen


Q: How far can sand and water go?

A: All day.

We are in California enjoying a beach vacation this week. Armed with sunblock, a few snacks, and even more sand toys, we have been soaking in the California sun and breathing in the fresh salty air for 48 hours now. Ah, it’s good to be back in my natural habitat.

Andy and Kate are old enough now to brave the ocean with their cousins. The water was freezing, but they didn’t seem to care. They karate chopped the waves like Daniel Russo and collected a menagerie of sand crabs in their pails. Andy managed to drag two metric tons of seaweed to shore and lift it like Hercules holding his prized lion.

Luke and Dean were my little landlubbers. Their action figures had never been happier playing in all those pebbles. They dug and built and poured and packed until Luke’s eyes and Dean’s diaper got droopy.  Then all the kids discovered a huge hill of sand in front of the life guard tower and took the boogie boards sledding. Yukon Ho!

Some people don’t like the beach because of all the sand. They’re like the Grinch who stole Summer with, “all the sand, sand, sand, SAND!” (I think there’s a touch of Grinch in all of us.) We Grinches spend the entire day battling the sand. It’s in the food, in my bag, in the car!! But may I suggest waiving the white flag? Surrender to the sand. Embrace it. Roll in it like dogs. You can’t beat it. You can’t stop it. So join it. Don’t think of it as an unstoppable rebel force bent on scratching all you hold smooth and edible.

Think: exfoliate. (My heels have never looked better.)

Think: fiber. (We could all use more on vacation.)

When changing a diaper, think: baby powder. (I went years before learning that little trick–the sand sheets off. Amazing!)

When I was little, my father used to hook up the garden hose to a faucet inside the house and string it out to the driveway so he could hose down our sandy bodies and boogie boards with warm water after a long day at the shore. We would stay out there until the hot water ran out. It was fabulous. It never occurred to me that all that effort was just to get the blasted sand off of us before entering the house. For us kids, it was just part of a beach day. Tradition!

Maybe my kids will find a trip to the car wash every afternoon this week some kind of fun, new, kitschy summertime tradition….I’ll set them all on skateboards with goggles and send ’em right on through the curtains of sudsy felt strips pulled along behind the minivan. The sticky sand will be no match for the whirling scrub and the spot-free rinse.

A warm water spot-free rinse, of course. We wouldn’t want to break tradition.


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