Hail to the Beach

Written in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Sudden Shifts

You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.

Part I

A perfect day:
picnic lunch
followed by
a nap on a
blanket covering
sun-warmed dunes.
Toes dipped in
surf by frolicking
grandchildren on
moist shoreline sand,
while doting adults
watch in vigilance.
Waves resignedly
fail in their quest
to overtake dunlin
despite their
best lapping efforts.

 Part II

Clouds gathered,
rolling in on
gusts of frigid air,
sharp precursors of
coming attractions.
Urgent warnings
called out, squealing
kids for once take
heed, scampering for
cover beneath a
blanket anchored
by sturdy adults.
A barrage of hailstones
direct from cumulonimbus’
towers batter those
human tent stakes
for an endless minute.


Part III

As quickly as it
began the storm is spent.
Jubilant children,
no worse for the onslaught,
race back to the
foam for reunion
with the salt, and
the sun, and the sand.
Bemused grownups
examine their own
bruises, shrug
and move forward,
back to lifeguarding.
It’s what they
do best.


Greeting card photo by Brian Mollenkopf.

Peace, people!

Spending Time with a Ten Year Old Girl

My middle grandchild, McKayla, and I drove all over the Quad Cities yesterday. We picked up her new glasses in Moline, Illinois, ate lunch and painted pottery in Bettendorf, Iowa, shopped for vintage (her word) stuff in Port Byron and Rapids City, Illinois, and enjoyed ice cream in Davenport, Iowa, I think. Thank goodness for GPS!

I was so confused by the time we returned home that I needed a nap. She on the other hand was energized with the prospect of decorating the interior of the vintage dollhouse we found at Birdie Lu’s in Rapids City.

Shopping with McKayla is an adventure. At ten, she knows exactly what she wants and already has a style of her own. Everywhere we went she received compliments on her hair or her dress or her jacket. I’m 58. I’m still trying to develop a signature style beyond jeans, a t-shirt, and flip flops. And compliments are few and far between.

At the same time, she still enjoys her Barbies and doll houses and pretend play. At least we have those things in common. We also share similar tastes in music; although, she actually knows all the words to the songs playing on the radio; whereas, I am reduced to humming and mumbling the lyrics.

I don’t embarrass her yet, even though I count that as an important part of Grandparenting. No matter how hard I tried I didn’t even rate an eye roll. Maybe I’ve lost the skill.

At the end of our expedition McKayla gave me a huge hug and thanked me for giving her an amazing day. It was pretty amazing to me, as well. It isn’t often that someone as clueless as I am has the chance to hang out with pure awesomeness.

It’s the Little Things


Finding an episode of Criminal Minds that you’ve not seen before

Having fresh guacamole made to your taste right at your table

Opening up a fresh loaf of soft bread

Discovering a new author whose books speak to your soul

Listening to a song that lifts your spirits

Identifying with a character in a novel

Having that aha! moment when working on a project

Completing a less than fun task in a fun way (you should see my toilet cleaning technique)

Singing in the shower and sounding like a pop star

Clicking through the channels and finding “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” already in progress

Getting an old-fashioned letter in the mail

Snuggling with a kitten

Kayaking with my Studly on the lake behind our home

Getting surprise calls from my youngest and oldest grandchildren on the same day (thank you D and Ninibelle)

Having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on the patio with a good friend


Finding peace within myself if only for a moment

Having a good dream about loved ones I’ve lost (Mom, thanks for your “visit” last night)

Hearing the words, “I love you, Nana!”

What are your little things?

Peace, People!

What’s a Gingy?

When our son was born, my mom decided that she wanted to be called Grandmother. Not Granny or Grandma, Nana or Mimi. Grandmother. Well, that was all well and good, but our son had other ideas. Jason didn’t talk early. We began to wonder if he’d ever talk at all, but by three he had a decent vocabulary. Try as he might, though, he could not say Grandmother or Grandaddy. What emerged was something that sounded a lot like Gingy, so my parents, for better or worse, became Gingymama and Gingydaddy. And, since he was the first of the grandchildren, it stuck.

Daddy’s 81st birthday would have been yesterday, and since yesterday’s post was on the sappy side I thought I’d have my children and nieces and nephews post their memories of their Gingydaddy.

Jason texted, “Him rescuing me from the side of a mountain…teaching me to pee without unbuttoning my pants aka the utility of the zipper…first set of golf clubs…how to flirt…taught me how to use a knife to slice an apple….”

Ignoring the pee remark, I asked him what Gingy had told him about flirting

“I just learned by example….”

Sounds like some valuable lessons Gingy was passing along. He was a hopeless flirt.

Ashley texted, “Genius,” was his email password, but he could never remember how to spell it! He had to cut Christopher’s seatbelt off when the Gingys took us three oldest grand kids to California. He called one of his nurses Donut Girl. He never fully stopped at a stoplight; he always inched forward until the light turned green. How he always had to show us off when we’d go visit him at whatever grocery store he worked at. Oh, and the seatbelt! He would never buckle the damn belt, just held it right above the clicker while he drove to fool the cops. He never met a stranger.”

My niece Claire, said, “Sitting in lawn chairs in the garage with the door open just talking about life and laughing about him getting numbers from the ladies from the piggly wiggly!”

Nephew Christopher added, “Easy! Eating Oreos with iced milk.” I think he made sure all the grand kids experienced the joy of Oreos in milk.

Hanna added this to the group text, “Fishing in the little pond in red river, nm 😊”

Their memories are all so different because Gingydaddy was easygoing. He was able to live in the moment and find ways to connect with each of his grandchildren.

Gingydaddy loved taking the kids on vacation. I think the saddest thing for him about his COPD was that he could no longer make those big memory-making trips. Daddy told me once that if he’d known he was going to live into his 70’s he’d have taken a lot better care of himself. Damned cigarettes. Damned habit.

Peace and Good Memories, People!

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