Summer means happy times and good sunshine.
It means going to the beach...
Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys
The four of us have quite wonderful memories of our camping vacations when we were children. We camped in the mountains, we camped at the state beach parks at San Clemente and Carpinteria.
We camped the old-fashioned way: we slept in tents in sleeping bags on cots or on air mattresses, mom and dad cooked on a white gas Coleman stove, and at night we had a white-gas Coleman lantern with a brightly glowing mantel to light the campsite and flashlights to guide the way to the rest rooms. If you had to “go” after the last trip, then there was a bucket in the tent.
Dad always made “campin’ cocoa” with canned milk diluted with water, sugar, and cocoa powder. And lurking in that last swallow were usually small balls of cocoa that did not dissolve.
Last Saturday the oldest brother decided he wanted to make some “campin’ cocoa” that we were going to take with us to the pier at Hermosa Beach and drink with our pinky fingers in the air. And so we did.
Something very different was happening on the other side of the pier. The Best Day Foundation also had an event. A large group of volunteers were helping children with special needs have an experience that some of them had never had before: a day at the beach.
Children who couldn’t walk were pushed to the shore line in special chairs with wide balloon tires to join those who could walk and they waited while men on large surfboards, some of them with rigid seats, helped the children on the boards and took them out to the end of the pier.
On the return trip they waited for the right wave and surfed in to the shore.
Something about this touched my heart, and I found myself crying as I took picture after picture. That afternoon I cried as I tried to tell Richard about it, and I started crying yesterday when I told my friend Judy about it at lunch.
Unfortunately, I lost all of those pictures because of a glitch on the memory card in my camera.
But the Best Day Foundation kindly let me borrow some of their photographs.