CHARLESTON, W.Va. - While typing these words, my toes are scrunching in sand. A single optimistic gull is lingering at the rail, although my crusts are long gone. A band has started warming up at the beach bar on the other side of the wall. And if Dustin Michael touches his sister's toast one more time, he's going shopping with Meemaw tomorrow instead of to the beach.
I don't know Dustin Michael or Meemaw, but apparently, it's an effective threat. There's no more screeching from the balcony above.
(And come to think of it, Meemaw probably told Dustin Michael not to touch his sister's toes, not her toast. Such is the plight of the eavesdropper.)
It's strange to think that by the time these words are in print, our time at the beach will be over. That we'll be back home in South Charleston and all I'll have to show for it are a few thousand new freckles, hair the consistency of straw, and sand in places it'll take years to get out.
And memories I wouldn't trade for a million bucks.
We thought a trip to the beach wasn't going to happen this year. Financially, it just wasn't possible. The same as last year and the year before that. But my ex-laws, Bernie and Patty Vingle, came through, offering us the use of a condo they jointly own with relatives in Myrtle Beach. We jumped at the chance.
Even with the free place to stay, finances remained tight. Still, it's possible to come up with creative entertainment methods that can be done on the cheap.
For example, it costs nothing to go down to the beach and dig a hole slightly narrower than a sand-colored beach towel. Once you have that hole, simply stretch the towel tightly across and secure, then build a large and elaborate sandcastle around the edges. Then sit back and wait for the first pack of obnoxious teenagers to charge the castle.
My favorite activity was discovered something by accident. It involves a bag of microwave popcorn and a drying-off-in-the-sun spouse who has become so deeply absorbed in his reading material that he fails to notice popcorn being scattered (I mean, accidentally spilled) all around him. Until the seagulls arrive. (He was so into his reading that he didn't notice the gulls until there were almost a dozen.)
The next was a dare. It involved one crowded swimming pool, one somewhat innocent-looking (I like to believe) woman, and two fake ponytails which had been tucked, one on each side, into the underarm area of said women's one-piece swimsuit. This allowed the phony pit locks to gather and protrude - enough, but not so much as to look too fake - the reddish-brown hair spilling luxuriously out against her contrasting swimwear.
And the final involved a little planning, although I didn't know yet what I'd do with the realistic rubber Halloween hand I tossed into my suitcase before we left home.
So many kids enjoy burying Pop in the sand. In our case, it simply looked like we failed to dig him back up.
Karin Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers.com. Her columns can be accessed easily online through her blog at thegazz.com.