Sunday, August 7, 2016

Perfect Sand Is the Fountain of Youth

I awake to the flash of surrounding lightening like pops of fireworks on the Fourth of July. I can see it in a forever sky from a balcony overlooking the sea.

We discovered the Florida Emerald Coast after a strong recommendation from a friend, and we were immediately taken with its beauty, it's warm and clear water, and the actual emerald color of sea. Every inch of white sand has been weathered to the texture of brown sugar or if the sand is dry, to powdered sugar.

This sand is impervious to the beating heat; while the sun pauses in its highest position, the sand warms but is still walkable. I've heard it called air-conditioned sand.

In this sand, we've spent hours playing spike ball, a mini, twisted, version of volleyball. It includes a  yellow rubber ball and a round netted base that resembles the rage of the eighties, the mini-trampoline! The paddles or rackets are the palms of our hands, and in an especially deft move, the slap of a backhand. Our son-in-law first introduced us to this game in the neighbor's front yard, which had a wider space of green lawn than our two little patches. We soon realized we'd wear down their grass if we continued playing, so our early evening games moved to the park down the hill.

It was an amazing thing that two athletic, quick, twenty-year-olds would invite the fifty-year-olds to play, and sure enough, we lost game after game after game. As the playtime hours rack up, we sometimes get lucky and give the young-uns a scare--we may be tied up to the last point, but we've never conquered. Just when we think we may be getting better, son-in-law number four flashes around the net and smacks the ball at an angle we can never reach in time.

The funny thing is that we, Tony and I persist. We don't give up. It's as if Tony believes every game holds the potential for victory.

I know better.

But herein lies the victory of every game and why we keep on playing: we are getting better. The better we get, the more fun the game. Never mind that the young-uns are getting better too. I am at peace that they will always win. We could hire a coach, dedicate hours to practice, and we would still lose, because we lack the agility, the speed, the ability to throw ourselves at an angle to spat the ball and roll to safety...until we played in the sand of the Florida Emerald Coast. The deep, soft sand, had me moving like a Kerry Walsh Jennings~~or rather, imagining we have the moves of the Jenning-Ross duo.

When it came time to leave, it was hard to say good-bye. To Mom, my sister, and the Chicago babies we won't see for months. I am used to saying goodbye; it is one of the most consistent episodes in my life. I've learned there is no point in hanging on, nor wishing it wouldn't end. However, one reason existed for not wanting to pack up and get on with life--the powder sugar sand and its delusion of youth.


Oops...sometimes I ask Tony to read a piece for accuracy...this time he found a huge inaccuracy. According to Tony, we've won "Lots of times." So, I asked my daughter who said, "Maybe once or twice." Son-in-laws' memory was "You've beat us three or four times and it only seems like we've never won because we've lost hundreds of games."