It really puts things in perspective when you’re walking on the beach and realize how small and insignificant we are compared to Mother Nature. It’s quite humbling.
I love the feeling of the sand between my toes, and the tide rushing back and forth over my feet. There is something wonderful about sitting on the beach in the evening and laying back, listening to the sea and watching the stars. The sand still warm, blankets me, the salty air fills my brain with memories. The crash of the waves against the rocks and the twilight shriek of gulls with the quiet chatter of the wind, through the palm trees lining the beach is the best tranquilizer I have ever known.
Children run, covered in sand and coloured zinc, hauling buckets and spades and shells and piercing the air with their giggling laughter.
Middle aged couples lounge, oblivious to the hustle, pale skin turning red, flicking pages of sand-drenched magazines, crunching on sandy fruit, sleeping behind sunglasses. Teenaged girls lie, in groups of three or four, tanned and brown, wearing tiny bikinis, rubbing lotion on each other’s backs with an innocent eroticism, staring up through sandy lashes with flirtatious promise, and expectation of admiring glances, with silent knowledge of their beauty. They look up with contemptuous scorn at the world that passes by. I pull my hat further down over my face, as I shuffle through the sand in my poly-rayon pants and my sand shoes. My metal detector beeps loudly, and one of the middle aged couple glares at me. Yes, ma’am I do dare. I dig in the sand. Two dollars, a rusty can and a crab on the inside. Yes, my pan-handler day has begun.
Every summer for Fifty years, I have come here to this my beach. A fellow has to have something to do, in your so called golden years, I panhandle. I started when I was 13. I watched this strange dude, walk up and down this stretch of the coast and watched in fascination when he pulled money from the sand. This beach became my Eldorado. The sand literally gave up its gold for me. My best year so far was when I was seventeen. I made $300 bucks that summer. The carney came to town and these folks seemed to haemorrhage money from their pockets.
And I cashed in. It came back when I was twenty but I was so busy chasing all the girls that I forgot about the “sand money”. By the time I remembered it was September and I was off to college.
pan·han·dle (p n h n dl)
- pan·han·dled, pan·han·dling, pan·han·dles
To approach strangers and beg for money or food.
- To approach and beg from (a stranger).
- To obtain by approaching and begging from a stranger: