With our family's involvement and interest in turtles and tortoises, we made plans to visit the Triple T Ranch up in Arroyo Grande. S got up close and personal with this Galapagos, who came running (well, stumping along rapidly) as soon as she saw visitors near her pen. She enjoyed having her long, leathery neck scratched, so S was happy to oblige.
After we finished the tour of the Triple T Ranch, we were hot and sweaty, so we headed over to Avila Beach (very crowded) where Mom, A and I sat in chairs in the shade of the lifeguard's tower while the kids did some wave jumping. Here S encourages us to live long, and prosper!
The lifeguards kept a vigilant watch...notice the warning on their platform, however, and heed! :). Keep your nasty kelp off. Or is that a rude central CA way to tell someone to go away?
On Saturday we went on another critter exploring trip. I took my new book, which I did not get at midnight when it was released, but rather, early the next day at Walmart, where it was much cheaper than the $35 list price ($17 something). (Guess which book THAT was). Anyway, I sat in the van and slowly began to read, dreading what COULD happen, but excited at the same time. I only made it to chapter 3 before the others decided it was too hot for critters to be out. S. wanted to do something SHE liked, rather than just nasty old critter hunting, so she chose....a picnic at the beach! Surprise, surprise.
This time we chose Pismo, since we hadn't been there yet. I settled myself on a blanket, still reading the book, which starts off with a bang and a zoom and tragedy.... while A and the kids went wave jumping. After about 30 minutes A came in.
"Where's S and D?" I ask.
"S came in to get a sandwich from you!" A tells me.
"She never did." Stone-cold fear in pit of stomach, new novel forgotten.
Nervous plans made: "You stay here. I'm walking down the beach to look for her."
D was sent the opposite direction from A, down toward the pier. I'm scanning the horizon, the water, the beach, and praying I know not what.
A and D came back. No S. Assuming a calmness I most certainly did not feel, I went to the lifeguard station. "Missing girl, age 8, tall, pink swimsuit, talks to anyone (why oh why is she so friendly?), reasonably competent swimmer (did she get too tired out? STOP that thought right there)..." The lifeguard thanks me for remaining calm (if he only knew), assures me there's no undertow out there, that this happens often and the kids get disoriented because the waves push them further south (why did I not tell the kids to look for the hotel with the green roof for a landmark, stupid dolt, I know better than that!)-- hands me a pair of binoculars while he puts in a radio call for the beach truck. D. sits on the blankets, A gets in the truck, I scan the horizon, the beach, the waves.
The red truck is gone for an age, then returns. "Oceano State Beach has her. We're going to pick her up." I burst into tears.
I walk back to our blankets, drizzly. A woman calls out to me. "Did you find her??" "YES!" I sniffle. "Good!!" she smiles, also teary-eyed, I am surprised to see.
S arrives back, blanket-wrapped, with Daddy and the lifeguard in the big red truck. She had indeed gotten out of the water to get a sandwich, but noticed a seal bobbing up and down in the water. She followed the seal until she didn't know where she was, and asked two ladies for help, who took her to the ranger, and so forth. She was at the next beach further south, not even at Pismo at all!
Overwhelming relief, overwhelming self-condemnation, overwhelming thanks and praise of God's mercy and grace to foolish me.
I am through with beach excursions at this point. Not unless I have a long-range tether, based on the same design some parents use on their toddlers (think kids on a leash).
From the Archives: June 2011
5 days ago