Beach Day

He had terra cotta skin with tattered straw atop his stringy blay (blonde/gray) hair. Given the boots perched beside his guitar case on the bench, the misshapen hat may or may not have been that of a rodeo cowboy in another life. In the past hour his leathery fingers have strummed an acoustic guitar in varying rhythms, yet only one key, G or C, although I’m too far away to see his finger work and tell. His voice teeters between a drunk Waylon Jennings and what I imagine Al Pacino would sound like if he sang. I think this because he also says “Whoo Ah” randomly and intermittently. Not deterred by having just broken a string, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (in one key) echoes from the beach walkover. In between songs and cordially greeting every single person making their way to the beach, he yells jokingly at one buddy or another to join him or to quit complaining and go get wet. Laughter rings out frequently, and nuisance or not, I have to smile at his contagious euphoria. Of the 30-40 souls around us on this stretch of beach, his joy appears most palpable. If pressed to choose, I’d rank it second only to that of the two 4 year-old boys whose fathers yell for them to help reel in a big fish and who end up jumping up and down, exclaiming ecstatically as the 6-8 inch catch flaps around at their feet. As they help dehook it, I see the fish tales already growing in their preschool sportsmen minds. While I’m admiring two paddle boarders drifting serenely across the horizon, a pair of dolphins surface quite near, but all too quickly for my age delayed camera phone reflexes to digitally preserve them. In my efforts to zoom in, I end up capturing some extremely lovely sections of sky. I have to laugh at myself as I also revel in gratitude. For me there is rarely ever a “bad day at the beach”, and this one, full of simple joys, has been exceptional.



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