Thursday, September 9, 2010

Make Do

We do not live near any ocean - not the Pacific, not the Atlantic, and really not the Indian. We are land locked in North America.

I was nine years old the first time I saw an ocean . . . and a beach - oh the waves, and the rocks, and the shells, and the sand of it all. Sand under my naked toes, sand wet and sand dry, sand castles (or lumps), sand holes that fill with water from below, and sand in all the crevices beneath by bathing suit when we got back to the motel.

Our trip to the ocean was really a trip to Disneyland. The beach was an afterthought to Mickey, but it may have been the more formative experience for me.

Our family was without great means when I was a child. I didn't notice much, but I'm guessing if I were to see the household income verses expenses from that period of my life it might all work out to a bottom line of "approximately destitute." Like, meat was the venison my Dad brought home from a hunt, and spending cash for my sister and I were the few dollars we brought home from peddling home made cookies through the streets in our rusted wagon.

I loved my childhood. I never felt poor. Not even when Grah and I combed through the rubbish bin looking for interesting things to play with - empty bottles of any sort, that was our real bounty - we had an apothecary of plastic shampoo bottles that kept us entertained for . . .well, our childhood.

So my Mom coming up with the money to get our family of five to Disneyland was no ordinary feat. I'm guessing she didn't do anything illegal to get the cash - she's just not like that.

I'm guessing she sacrificed a few of her own necessities - she's just like that.

When the money was ready she loaded us all in the Dreaded Dormammu - our red and silver Volkswagen Bus - and we left Cedar City for the very foreign experience of California. We got as far as a few miles past Mesquite before the Dreaded Dormammu made some dreaded sounds and puttered to a stop on the side of the desert highway.

My Dad declared the trip a resounding failure and we would have to make our way home some how.

My Mom used words she doesn't normally use and declared the trip in full swing and it was up to him to find a solution.

She won.

The story is; Dad starts walking back to Mesquite, nice couple in a Mercedes stop to pick up the Damsel in distress along with her three children. Nice couple turns around to fetch Dad. Uncle in Mesquite takes care of the Dreaded Dormammu. Nice couple picks up their second Mercedes in Glendale that they let my Dad drive. We caravan to Vegas where my grandparents lend us their car and we drive to Anaheim the next day.

Thank you nice couple with two Mercedes who let strangers drive your cars.

My nine year old heart might have broken into sad little pieces had we not made it to California. It was my life's adventure at that age.
I ached to see Disneyland.
I ached to see Los Angeles.
I ached to see the beach.

So now, when Jonah tells me he "really, really, really" wants to see the ocean, I know how he feels. He is seven. Time is ticking away for our inland selves, and he grows impatient. Mountains and canyons are nothing to scoff at. We have some of the most stunning the world has to offer, but the unknown is hopelessly beguiling.

We have tried to plan California, but babies, graduate school, and money seem bent on keeping those 682 miles as distant as say, the Arctic.

On a whim, Matt decided to offer the children the nearest beach available to us on Monday.

It is a beach not without some faults, namely that it is the shore of the Great Salt Lake - which is not as much great as it is foul smelling. But there is water and there is sand, and if you live landlocked it is actually more fun than I imagined it would be.

So until I do as my mother did when I was nine, and figure out what I can give up for long enough to pay for the trip to California, we can make do with the remains of what Jonah calls "the Ancient Lake Bonneville."


Les said...

It's far beyond a star
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

I didn't see the ocean until I was 16. I can empathize with the Ancient Jonah.

Wayne said...

I don't recall driving one of the Mercedes. I think his wife did. They were coming back from the Temple when they picked us up. Did you know he was our chiropractor in Vegas for 20 years after that? I went over to say goodbye and it was a tearful, hugging moment.
Beautiful writing, and stunning photos.

Menner said...

Amazing photos. I wish I could take a picture like you. I miss your family. I need to see you much more often.

aubtobobtolob said...

I wore the most awesome one piece cheetah print zip up short suit ever! That was one hell of a trip. I loved the Chinese food in LA, the tar pits, the ocean, the hotel swimming pool, and Swiss family's tree of wonderment! Grandpas air conditioned ride.
And ohhhh the HUGE strawberry pancakes, (where we watched the birds swoop in for treats) we just did not get to indulge like that much and it was sooo much fun. I doubt it would have meant as much to us if we had had meat a plenty sittin in the freezer at home you know?

And ditto to what Menner said. Miss your family and I need to see you much more often. hands down.