Adventures With My Father: “Sneak Preview, Part II”

My Father, the inspiration for Elmer Fudd

My Father, the inspiration for Elmer Fudd

Thank you to everyone who commented on what you’ve read so far. I have had SO much fun reading and hearing about YOUR dysfunctional family! It’s nice to know I’m not the Lone Ranger.

I don’t know if you saw my Face Book posting but I need your help.

I’m wrapping up the pre-production phase of publishing and I need a headline for the back cover. A “headline” is one brief (less than 8 words) sentence that sums up the contents of the story. It’s purpose obviously is to get people to pick up the book and read it.

I decided to have a bit of a contest. Read both Sneak Preview postings here and then send me your headline. The headline chosen will actually go on the back cover of the book. Hurry, I need to wrap this up ASAP.

Sneak Preview, Part II is from Chapter II “Our First Adventure”. Enjoy.

I can’t begin to tell you what it’s like for a 3 year old when he sees the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I think it was actually the smell of the ocean that I noticed first. It was unlike anything I had ever sensed before. I could almost taste the salt as I drew the dampness of the air into my little lungs. There was that inexplicable sense of calming excitement that washed over me from the inside out that only those who have been there can ever truly appreciate. I remember my mother pulling me out of the car, trying to pull off my shoes as I was using every ounce of my strength to tear away from her to reach this magnificent expanse of water. I felt for the first time something that to this day is one of the purest, most simple pleasures in life: the ocean’s breeze. The air was full of the sound of roller skates and skateboards, buoy bells and boat engines, screaming kids ordering ice creams and burgers from the drive-in across the street and that unbelievable roar of the waves crashing in front of me. I was a little more than frightened but a lot more than exhilarated by the swarms of seagulls that swooped over, swirled about and gathered around me, looking for a hand-out.

     To this day I can still clearly see my pudgy little toes peeking up at me from the warm sand. For what seemed an eternity, I scrambled across the beach to reach my brothers on the shore. I was so fascinated by the water rushing toward me and then retreating from me at the same time as I retreated from it. I was mesmerized by how my feet left perfect impressions and equally mesmerized by how the incoming waves would wash them away. Over and over and over I scooped up tiny handfuls of wet sand, crushed it in my fist and then let it slip away between my fingers. The water would then rush in immediately to put the sand back seemingly right where it belonged. I watched in awe as my big brothers jumped in to and dove over the incoming waves that seemed so strong and immense. They would disappear into the water and I would wonder where they went. My fears would disappear when I would see them explode from the below the surface of the water, kicking, spitting salt water and screaming with unbridled laughter. At that moment, I looked behind me and saw my mother in a way that I would keep and treasure with me for the rest of my life.

     She stood on a small dune covered in vines of ice plant a few yards from me. Like all little boys, she was my mom and I thought she was the most beautiful mom in the world. The wind blew her long black hair behind her. She stood holding her shoes by the straps, hand on her hip and the other hand was above her brow, shading the sun so she could see her boys. It was the first time I had seen her smile in a while. I ran to her as fast as I could. With the grace of a dancer, she pulled me up and held me close to her. I put my head on her shoulder and presented her with a perfectly scalloped shell I had found on the beach. “Honey, it’s beautiful. Can I keep it?” I shook my head and took a deep breath. The ocean mixing with her perfume, having her all to myself, the absolute perfection of that instant lulled me into a place that I could only call warmth. I would give anything to have her hold me like that again today.

     Throughout my childhood, into my rebellious teen years and even into my adult life, I would occasionally sneak into my mom’s room. In a drawer next to her bed, among the nail clippers, the latest Harlequin romance, the Parker pens and crossword puzzles, I would always find a fiber-thin faded blue Kleenex. Neatly wrapped up inside was a small perfectly scalloped shell. Inside that shell, in her distinct printing, she had written; SKIPPER, SEAL BEACH. JULY ’65.

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4 Responses to Adventures With My Father: “Sneak Preview, Part II”

  1. Leslie says:

    OML! I LOVE the piture you paint of your Mama! The details you share are sooo vivid that I too can smell the salt water and feel the ocean breeze. Well written “Skipper”!

  2. djagger says:

    Skip…
    I was a few years older than you describe the first time I saw the Pacific as a child and your description is perfect. My minds eye relived my own experience through your words in many ways.

    Well done, my friend!

    Dave J.

  3. slmasson says:

    Skip,

    As I read this, I to saw myself standing in the ocean feeling the breeze run through my hair and the sand through my toes. My 13 yr old was about 10 whem he seen the ocean with all the waves for the first time. He was amazed. He loved to feel his ” Toes in the Sand”
    Great Job Skip! WE miss you in the mornings. Please hurry back.
    Love ya, Stephanie

  4. Harleehun says:

    Goose bumps as I read the last two paragraphs. It is amazing how we never outgrow the need for our parents. I could totally envision the unwrapping of the seashell. Looking forward to reading more!

    Mickey

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