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My husband grew up just a couple of miles from the ocean.  His senior year high school picture shows a tanned boy smiling brightly from beneath beach blonde hair.

My high school picture is one of a Farrah wanna-be with pale freckled skin.  I was raised in the fresh country air, among trees and wide open spaces.

My husband loves the beach, and dreams of living with the salty water lapping at his back porch steps.

I do not.

I would tolerate the beach better. Were it not for the wind.  And the sand.  And the sharks.

After we were married for about a year, my husband moved us back to the town in which he grew up.  Albeit about 15 minutes inland.

Close enough for him to get his beach fix.  Far enough for me to escape during a hurricane evacuation.

I’ve never liked the beach.  My first foray with the ocean water was in Galveston as a teenager.  One trip involved my parents and a truck camper.  I remember being burned so badly they had to rent a hotel room in order to apply cold compresses to my open and oozing sores.

Other subsequent trips with our church youth group always ended with me turning a bright lobster red.  Which almost always clashed with my lime green bikini.

I’m guessing that the use of baby oil instead of sun screen could have been a catalyst.  But I could be wrong.

But my aversion to the ocean piqued in 1975 when Jaws was released.  I’m not kidding when I tell you that I’ve not waded in past the ankles since then.

Much in the same way that I’ve not gone within 10 feet of pea soup after viewing The Exorcist.  Movies.  They shaped me.

I do accompany my children to the beach on occasion.  I’ve traded in the baby oil for SPF 975.  I just thought I should disclose that.  But since I’m still on Doxcyclene, my doctor has advised me to avoid the sun in general, especially the beach.

I wasn’t all that broken up about it.

On Sunday evening, Fiddledaddy announced that we were going to pack up the van and have a picnic on the beach.  Because it was late in the day, he assumed that the  harmful affects of the sun would not be an issue for me.  And since I’m a relatively good sport, I was game.

It took all 5 of us to haul all of our beach cargo down to the waters edge.  We set up the umbrella, beach chairs, blanket, and unloaded the various buckets, goggles, and general beach paraphernalia.  About a minute later, a fellow beach goer ambled over to inform us that a few minutes earlier, while he and his daughter were in thigh high water, a sand shark crested just within a foot of where they were standing.  He estimated the dorsal fin to be about 4 feet long.

If you peeked out from behind your hands AT ALL during Jaws, you would know that would make this particular sand shark HUGE.

Check please.

I was ready to pack up and move out of state, but clearer heads prevailed and Fiddledaddy gave the stern warning for the children not to venture out past their knees.

I sat in my beach chair with my eyes firmly glued to my children.  Which was not as difficult as usual, because Jensen spent the majority of the time wrapped around Fiddledaddy’s head.

At one point, when he had successfully extricated his young son, Fiddledaddy leaned back in his chair and said, “Now, isn’t this relaxing?”

I had my eyes fixed on an older lady up to her neck in the waves, No, it’s not.  I’m expecting that old lady out there to be chomped in half, and I’m trying to figure out if I have the nerve to run out and save her.”

As if.

There were no further shark sightings, and the children, sans Jensen, all had a wonderful time.

As we were leaving, God treated me to this beautiful sight as the sun was setting.  Once you get passed the sand, and the wind, and the sharks, the beach really is very beautiful.

10 Responses to Beached

  • LOL You would love England. No sharks here. You still can get sun burnt but more often you stand in the sea because it is warmer under the water than it is standing in the air with the wind blowing .
    I remember Jaws ,the adverts on the side of buses were a very small woman swimming way above a big open mouth. I became much quicker at taking baths after seeing that film even though it would have been impossible for a shark to find its way up the plug hole.

  • I grew up far from the ocean which was always fine with me as the water up here is just COLD! But I love some foods at the beach, onion rings eaten in the salt air and breeze of the ocean taste better than onion rings eaten anyplace else. And the best fired dough is always at the beach. The good thing about the ocean up here is it’s too cold for sharks and the sun rises are amazing!

  • I love the beach. I was born in the Keys, and lived by the ocean as a toddler. I now live about 40 minutes from the beach. The best time to go is about 2 hours from sunset, the waves, breeze, smell of the ocean have such a calming, relaxing effect . The only problem is, I can hardly get anyone to go with. : {

  • I LOVE the beach, and like Fiddledaddy, my dream is living somewhere with the beach as my backyard. My husband hates the beach (what is that saying about opposites attracting?!?) Of course here in Northwest Indiana, our “beach” is the shore of Lake Michigan, and no matter how much I try to convince people it’s not a REAL beach (I grew up on the east coast) they just don’t listen. It’s a lake! A huge lake, but still a lake. I miss the beach. My favorite so far is Lighthouse Beach in Cape May, NJ.

  • Beautiful picture. I’ve been all over the US and have never seen the clouds as magnificent as they are here in Florida.

    I, too, love the beach, having grown up there. The sand in my shoes always brought me back to Florida. Even though I live two hours from where I grew up, I still consider it home. My blood courses faster in my veins when I’m “back” for a visit. The kiss of the humid sea breeze of my face, lifting my hair – it takes me back to simpler days. I would love to live there again, maybe someday.

    My brother is/was a scuba diver since high school. He would take his equipment into the pool and practice as a kid. When Jaws came out, he didn’t feel safe even in the pool!!!!

    I love the ocean, but I have always wanted to be able see the ground beneath me. My favorite spot? Alexander Springs in Ocala National Forest. Cold water – 70 degrees – but clear, clean … and you can see under your feet!

    DeeDee – thanks for a mental vacation this morning!

  • Oh Dee, I am SO jealous. I LOVE the ocean and we live about 12 hours drive from the nearest beach. Thanks for the belly laugh – loved the line about waiting for the lady to be “chomped in half.” You crack me up. God bless.

  • Could.not.do.it!! I think I’ve been in the ocean all of 2 times and I’m pretty sure my knees didn’t get wet. Did not help that my brother sang the JAWS theme the entire time but did managed to catch me before I dove onto a jelly fish.

    That lady would have been fish food before I would have gone out to save her. Bless her heart – and all the fish that enjoyed her. Amen.

  • My son is 6 1/2 years old and we haven’t made it to Galveston yet despite living in Houston. I’m not a beach person. We’ll be hitting the beach in San Diego this weekend after BlogHer but those are nicer beaches.

  • My little family just spent a few days at the beach in Ft Walton last week. I had only been to the beach once before as a pre-teen and other than a New England cape one time (for 1/2 a day) we’ve never done any beach vacations…. I am hooked. I could live on the beach. Wake up every morning for a scroll while drinking my coffee. Just sitting on the sand in the dark while the family was sand crab hunting was so relaxing. I love the wind and the sound of the waves… Now i want to go back!!!

  • So you haven’t watched Soul Surfer yet?? I still haven’t seen it or Jaws. Not sure if I’m up to watching Jaws or not, it’s such a classic but I’d like to like the beach if we ever go. I like the sunset over the ocean but am not much of a beach person. I’d rather swim in a pool. 🙂