We met after we had both entered the ’disabled’ phase of our lives. He had once been a marathon runner. I had once been a marathon walker. Now neither one of us can do what we once could. So we go to the beach, sit in the sunshine, and watch others do the things that we were so adept at.
It’s not unhappy. On the contrary, we are greatly blessed. We have each found a companion that understands the ‘once upon a times‘. We have warm, happy hours sitting on the beach, and remembering. It is fun to tease that we have become the old people sitting on the benches. It can re-new the spirit watching the movement of strong, swift people. We don’t feel cheated. Those people are what we once were.
Last week, when the sun was warm, the sky blue, and the breeze light, we did something we hadn’t done in a very long time. We went to the beach and ignored the benches that we usually sit on. We went straight for the sand. We didn’t go far obviously, I can’t walk. But I can stand. I stood and held onto the concrete railing and pulled myself over and down into the sand. It had been a long while since I had taken my shoes off and felt the sand on the bottom of my feet. I instantly grabbed handfuls of sun warmed sand and let it sift through my fingers. Something I had once taken for granted now felt like a special gift. It was glorious!
John can walk, albeit with a cane. He and the dog did the more conventional thing and walked down to a break in the railing. I was so immersed in the joy of playing in the sand that I didn’t think to worry about the two of them. After all, they’re both adults. When I finally did look over to see what was taking them so long I was met with one of the strangest sights I have seen in awhile. The dog had never walked on sand before. It came as a total surprise to him and he wasn‘t happy! John on the other hand liked the sand just fine, but every step he took he tried to lean on his cane. The dog was tip-toeing and John was tilting to his left, nearly falling over as his cane sunk into the soft sand. The deeper the cane sunk, the more he had to bend over, and the more he pulled on the dogs leash. Both of them had scrunched up their faces as they worked to overcome their individual frustrations. My face was contorted with laughter. I laughed so hard that I could hardly breath. Have you ever seen a tip-toeing dog and a cane sinking gimp.
They both got so disgusted with my reaction that they plopped their butts down and refused to move. I had to crawl over to them. That wasn?t easy considering how hard I was laughing, but it was obvious that I was going to have to sooth some egos. The dog really punished me for laughing at him. He jumped into my lap and wouldn?t budge. It?s not easy having a 50 lb. dog sitting on your lap and legs. John got back at me in more subtle ways. He refused to talk to me! Which worked out well because with the dog sitting on me I couldn?t gulp enough air to talk to him if he had wanted me too.
The three of us sat there quietly for a bit. When I could finally speak I asked John if he was enjoying himself. He stuck up his middle finger and the dog growled. It was obvious that I had spoken too soon. So we sat in silence, except for my occasional bursts of uncontainable laughter.
The sun eventually mellowed their bad moods and they forgave me. We were once again a loving couple with their sweet dog. We were having a really nice time. Until ..... the wind started blowing. It was time for us to go. I wont go into details about how John and the dog got back up to the sidewalk. Suffice it to say that all three of us eventually got there.
John was standing on the sidewalk holding onto the dogs leash. I was sitting on the concrete rail putting my shoes back on. All of a sudden the Wind Gods saw the chance to create hilarious fun and they sent a great gust of wind right under John?s butt. It lifted him up and sent him moving. He was walking faster then I had ever seen his legs manage. I could see that he had once been a great runner. There was something that was a bit discomforting though. As the wind pushed him, and his legs took to running he was yelling, ?Hey! Hey! Stop it! Stop the damn wind! Hey, I said stop it!?
The dog was really upset. He didn?t want to run. He had had his exhausting day on the beach. He wanted to go home and take a nap.
John was yelling, ? Hey! Hey! Stop it! Damn it! Stop it!!" The dog was as vocal in his disgust as a dog can be. And Me?
I couldn?t help it. Honestly, I couldn?t! I started laughing so hard that it must have looked like I was demented. I couldn't breath I was laughing so hard.
A car pulled up to the curb and I could hear the people inside discussing whether they should try to help the cussing running man and/or the woman having a spastic reaction. The last thing I heard as they pulled away was, ?Hell no, these people are too scary!"
I had a great time. I wonder if I have to wait until John is smiling again to ask when our next beach adventure will be?