When the morning started off the way my morning started off, I didn’t expect much of the day. Silly me.
The plan for the day was to cheerfully take my friend Texas Linda, her daughter Faith and granddaughter Aliyah to the beach at a small State Park nearby. If you have been a faithful reader here you know the whole story and why I am the driver of note.
My day began, as many do, with a yawn and a stretch … and a phone ringing. And ringing. And ringing.
When I picked up the phone finally, there were eleven messages. All from my friend Toozie. All from 5:30AM on. I really need to let these folks know … oh what the heck … a good friend is always there, right?
On answering the frantic messages, I discovered that she had written a beautiful poem about me, and couldn’t wait to read it to me. She is quite creative … songs … poems … whatever. So I thanked her. And excused myself to go about getting ready for the day.
I gathered some healthy snacks … fruit … for the day and got dressed and set off.
Except I forgot the fruit.
So after going back, getting the fruit, packing the car, checking the gas … I began again. As I approached the end of the road, I debated about the gas. And was looking for the most recent supermarket receipt. (They give gas points to save money … and everyone can use a gas discount, no?)
No receipt. And for that matter, no purse. Where had I put it?
While frantically looking under all the bags in the car, while sitting at the end of the road, a truck started beeping and waving as though he wanted to come in to my street. Was I blocking the road? Great.
As I went to back up, the truck driver shook his head emphatically … and pointed toward my roof.
My purse was on my roof.
I got out laughing … thanked the man … retrieved the purse … and said something that sounded like “I guess I might need that” … and got back into the car. And headed toward Linda’s house.
No purse left behind … as it were.
Everyone was on the porch ready to go. And as they all plowed in and were buckled securely, we moved all the food and whatnot around to allow for the most room.
At the bottom of the hill a small voice came from the back seat … “Grammy, why did you leave all the sand toys and floaties on the porch?”
Back to the house. Got the toys.
Okay, this is all just an aberration, right? Things can’t keep being like this, right?
As we got out everyone started laughing at the small figures attached to the antenna of the car next to us. A Spiderman and a Skeleton.
We assumed that Spidey was hitching a ride in his efforts at saving the world … and that the Skeleton liked riding at seventy miles an hour strapped to the roof of a car … he liked the fresh air.
Noticed the apparent blurriness of the picture. Note to self: return cheap camera and spring for the extra buck to get one with auto-focus.
As we gathered all the bags and towels and art supplies and purses and started down toward the blue water and sand … once more came the small voice … “Holly, you know you left your coffee on the trunk, right?”
Back to the car. Need caffeine fix. Really.
Once successfully to the sand and grass and picnic tables, we chose one with shade and unloaded all our goodies. And Linda and Aliyah set off to the water. Faith and I settled in for a chat.
Well there was a fence along the beach.
And now we knew why.
Geese? A problem? And how, you may ask, would geese be a problem.
As Linda enthusiastically pointed out the magnificent creatures, flying above. Then pointed out yet another group of the magnificent creatures flying in a V formation above. Then pointed out a whole other set of magnificent … hey … there are a heck of a lot of geese here, it seems.
And geese do what geese do. I will not elaborate.
But among other things, to the delight of all small girls in the area, there appeared to be a generous helping of “magical feathers” on the water’s surface. All of which had to be gathered … because that’s what you do when you are eight and encounter magic feathers.
Lots and lots and lots of magic feathers.
And rocks. Special rocks. Lots of special rocks. Wouldn’t want to leave any special rocks behind, right?
Can’t have too many rocks and feathers, right?
With all due thanks to the geese. And ducks. And whatever other down-bearing creatures littered the water there.
For my part, I decided to break out the old watercolors and be creative. But no inspirations struck. Perhaps a trip down to the water would inspire something.
And, confident in the knowledge that I was a thousand times large than they were, I plunged my feet into the cool water.
After a few minutes of meditation, I noticed a few brave fish peering out from under the dock and making tentative moves toward me. But none came close enough to do any pedicures or anything like I have seen in pictures.
A few minutes later I glanced back to where my feet had been dangling. And there, assembled in a nice neat semicircle, were no less than twenty-six small fish. All looking up expectantly at me. All with their little inquisitive eyes … and open mouths.
Gee, do you think folks ever throw food into the water for these guys? But alas, I had come unprepared for lunch … at least for the fish.
And yes, that blurry picture is this artists rendition in watercolors of several small sea creatures assembled in a semi-circle. Keep the day job, you say?
Heading back to the picnic table with all the cool rocks and magical feathers, I saw that several other people had arrived to enjoy the warm summer day. Not the least of which was a young woman with three-foot long dreadlocks and a very young boy in tow.
I didn’t hear what he said … although he was looking longingly at the other children in their brightly colored swimsuits. And the mother said loudly “You don’t need swim trunks. You are a boy!”
As I was creating the fish themed masterpiece above I looked up to see what she really meant. There was the very young man … in all his glory … if you catch my drift … standing ready to meet the day.
Does this stuff happen to everyone? she once more muses.
The day progressed nicely, but had yet one more gift in store for us.
As our time there came to a close, a young family approached the picnic table next to us. Nobody in the whole four hours had sat there. And there were many people and many, many other places from which to choose.
But they came there.
With their infant son. And three-year old daughter. In a cute little sundress. As Faith looked on the family scene her face held a look of shock. And she turned and quickly wrote a note to her mother, tears filling her eyes.
As Linda began to read it aloud, Faith held her hand to her lips. The note said “Do you see the little girl in the pretty sundress?”
Shaking her head yes, Faith continued. “I think she has Downs. She is beautiful.” And all three of us looked at the precious child who did indeed have Downs Syndrome. I suppose we were watching her more than seemed prudent, but we couldn’t look away from this beautiful young child.
And for those of you who may not have read here recently … the reason Faith, and her husband Donnie and daughter Aliyah are in Pennsylvania … is for the burial of their infant daughter Hope … who was born with Downs Syndrome … and a damaged heart … and died shortly after her birth from congestive heart failure.
As Faith watched the young family happily playing with their beautiful children, it was painful to see the loss etched on Faiths face. As we gathered Aliyah in preparation to leave, Linda explained the situation to the young couple who immediately opened up and shared their story.
Back in the car, Linda turned to Faith and said “When you Father was murdered, it would make my heart hurt when I saw someone on a motorcycle like he had. And then I decided to look on it as a gift.”
At a quizzical look from her daughter, she continued. “I figured it was like your Father looking down from Heaven saying hello. And that’s how you can see what happened today. It is like your daughter Hope, looking down from Heaven saying “Hi Mom””.
These words … this reframing of life events … seemed to comfort her … comfort everyone. Baby Hope was indeed in Heaven. And if she chose to use another small gift to give comfort to her mother, who am I to question?
And the day, which had started out in such a disjointed way … ended up absolutely perfectly.