Just the other day my wife wore her heavy coat for the first time in years. You see, we live in Florida, so a cold day is rather rare. Digging her hand into a pocket, she found a bit of sand and laughed. She remembered that the sand came from the beach were a dear friend, John, kept his boat. She remembered sailing on Englewood Bay with John and his friend, Dan. The three shared many fun times together.
It got me thinking about some other sand. Oh, I could think back to the sands of State Beach, Town Beach and even South Beach – all on Martha’s Vineyard. Yeah, lots of special memories on those beaches.
No, I thought about some other sand, the sand at Alexa’s preschool. When she got to be about three, she started going to a daycare right around the corner from my office. It was very convenient; Jo Ann would drop her off in the morning and I’d pick her up after work. Of course, I couldn’t just come and go. No, Alexa always wanted me to come out to the playground and lift her and her friends up a couple times. As they were, of course, quite tiny and I’m very tall, they loved being picked up so they could see all around.
Finally, after a few lifts, we’d be off. Once we got home, the first order of business was taking her sneakers off and dumping the sand out of them. Jo Ann and I were always truly amazed, how could so much sand get in her little sneakers and her feet still be able to fit?
Jo Ann decided to try a little experiment. Every day, when we dumped out Alexa’s sneakers, we gathered the sand up and put it in a zip-loc bag. After a week, we needed another bag! Sometime later, we took the bags to the school and showed them to the owner. She was amazed, but finally understood why she needed to replenish the play area.
Today, Alexa is off at college and playing in the sand is something she does at the beach, with her boyfriend and friends, not old mom and dad.
Yet, when Jo Ann pulled that tiny bit of sand from her pocket, I couldn’t help but think, gee, I wish we’d kept even a smidge of that “sneaker sand” from long ago. I like to put it in a jar and set it on my desk. Sometimes something very simple can carry a very deep memory.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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