Thursday, July 13, 2006


Daily life is generally pleasant here at the beach but once in a great while something comes along to make it far and away better. This is always a surprise, which is enjoyable in and of it’s self. Such an event came today in the person of a neighbor named Buzz—or Howard—whichever; he is always warm, genial and a pleasure to talk with on any day.

Today he came bearing gifts! It must be understood that Buzz is a man of many parts, ex-oil-field worker, pilot, world traveler, builder, all-around repairman, often seen on a rather forbidding ladder, and many more roles I am sure. He usually wears a friendly smile and so it was today, when another whole new set of skills came into view; he gardens somewhere, perhaps on a roof-top I imagine, and he prepares the champagne of soups! If gazpacho is the wine of soups then Buzz’s version is pure champagne. It increases my profound respect and gratitude to note that he hand-carried jars of this ambrosia together with the tastiest croutons I’ve ever munched, and carefully diced cucumbers for garnish. Now it appears he is a master chef; gazpacho is a cold soup from Spain and needs the freshest of vegetables, especially tomatoes and garlic, praise the Lord.

This signal kindness leaves me “filled” with truly good feelings and gratitude—did I say life can be better? It really doesn’t get much better than this, thanks and kindest regards to Buzz—or Howard.


It is entirely probable that the true harbingers of summer are children. As someone once said, this is the time of year when kids begin to slam all the doors they had left open all winter. Father’s Day having just come and gone, all the memories are rekindled anew. This was their time to celebrate and who cares, if in the process, they managed to attract strange germs that mostly their elders succumbed to or actually caught. Even now children go to the beach in droves and exhibit that old wound-up “springs in the legs” phenomenon as soon as they hit the perimeter of the shore. All the great battles of history may be staged and restaged here, even the one involving a beach-towel covered, fake wooden horse, with weapons of water and sand. Oh, to have some of that energy, and imagery, now.

In memory it seemed to me that kids were never manageable from the start: first they were far too wriggly and smart—they out-wriggled and outsmarted me. Then they outran me, and finally they became much too strong physically. I didn’t have an edge anywhere and looking back it appears that I was the one being trained—a slow learner at that; and it is probably just as well that I was the learner—I discovered that in their own way they were, and are, incredibly wise. As a case in point I was recently visited by my daughter Jenny and her two wonderful little boys, essentially my grandsons, as it were! The two Ts, Trygve and Thorsen, were glad to see the beach again, and me too, I think. Pizza had bee ordered in and after lunch we settled stomachs before a swim with a drawing contest which I may have won—ages 6 and 7 are still too young to win arguments, especially on esthetic grounds. However, though I am a poor loser they both won first prizes to avoid bitterness on all sides. But in this brief encounter I could again see my own kids around this age and was overcome with nostalgia and longing just to hold them again and lavish kisses and spanks. I can remember how beautiful and they were—and are.

For one important thing, they taught me to love. I really know how precious and miraculous they really are; gifts from God in truth and in fact—and my grandchildren are here to prove it.