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The adventures of a small girl and her dog...A day on the beach...


Since we lived on the sound, there were many long walks along the beach and so much to see there. My mother loved long walks on the beach and had five little ones in tow each with their own agendas! I remember exploring a deserted old boathouse; I vividly remember that experience even though I was only about three or possibly four years of age. One of the most vivid was the smell; it smelled of the ocean, it smelled salty, and now, it smells of wonderment.

I loved that old boathouse, and it was one of my favorite places to explore. The walls were clapboard, old and weathered darkly moist in the fog. It stood so tall and majestically and to a small child, it was as tall as the sky! I assume now in my old age, it once housed a fishing boat with its tall masts. There were huge chains hanging from the reinforced beams, large enough to lift at least a thirty-five footer from the water to scrape off barnacles and repaint for the coming fishing season. I remember the slip where the boat rested from the gales that often blew up the sound. Because the wooden walls shrunk with time, it let in muted sunshine and sunbeams surround you as you walked on the planking. Looking down into the boat slip, the water was magically changed to a brilliant emerald green and azure blue. The wavelets beckoned to you, saying, “feel me, come into my arms and feel my love. Taste me; know what living is all about.” I was fascinated as horrified by this and backed away quickly so I would not fall into the water.

We left this glorious place and followed the well-worn path to the beach. Unlike most beaches in Washington, this one was smooth and relatively boulder free. It was smooth enough you could see the clams spit their water skyward and digging for them was a joy! My mother made the best clam chowder from their succulent bodies and digging clams was fun! All five of us would dig with our little plastic and metal shovels and if we were fast enough, we would get a clam! Usually though, we got nothing because those crafty clams would burrow deeper then our arms could reach into the hole. My mom used a clam digger and it seemed like she would push her shovel into the sand and flip out two or three clams every time. Nevertheless, it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Snoopy and I would walk away from the clam digging with my mother’s permission; we were on our quest for pirate’s treasure! Snoopy would never let anything happen to me; she was better then any adult around. If I wandered too close to the surf, Snoop would drag me back by my shirttail to safety. Sometimes her concern interfered with my exploration! There was the time I spotted the real treasure, a floating glass ball with iridescent colors! I wanted that ball so much and it was only a bit away from my eager fingers, just in the deeper water over my shoes! I bent over to reach it and walk in the water just a little. My fingers touched this heavenly prize when I felt strong teeth sink their way into my posterior! I heard a soft growl behind me, and I knew it was Snoopy. I tried to brush her away so I could grasp my prize, the prize that any pirate would die to possess! It did not work! Snoopy would not let go! I watched the tide carry my treasure further and further away from me, possibly all the way back to Japan.

I remember being angry with Snoopy for the first time in my life. I called her a bad dog! She looked at me with her hanged-dog look that told me, “Hey, I was only trying to keep you safe! Let’s explore some more, maybe we will find other treasures!” I could never resist my old friend’s look and soon we were running down the beach again stopping only to examine all the sand crabs and stomping on the bulb kelp and watching them explode. That day I did not go home with a treasure, or did I?

To Be Continued…

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Reviewed by Susan Phillips 11/4/2003
How beautifully you drew me into your world. Your words have magic in them.
Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen 11/4/2003
Great story, Clay! I feel like I've been there. Wonderful descriptions/imagery.

Reviewed by Cynthia Borris 11/3/2003

Vivid! I've never seen a clam spit but now I feel I have. Wonderful images.
Reviewed by Lisa Cannons 11/2/2003
OH! Now I have to go back and read the rest, Snoopy sounds so cool!
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 11/2/2003
Wonderful continuation of this story, Claywoman; enjoyed so much!~ Thanks for sharing! :D (((HUGS))) and much love, your Texas friend, Karen Lynn.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 11/2/2003
I'd say you definitely went home with a treasure, Claywoman. And now I'm envying you. God, I would have loved living near the ocean as a child, with my faithful dog at my side. And, you are the one now making me hungry. I love clam chowder, and I can taste your mother's now! This story is getting better and better.

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