Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sand Between My Toes

May 29th is the 558th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, effectively ending the Byzantine Empire.  It is also the 58th anniversary of the day Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top of Mount Everest. I know these things. As do my boys. And it was traditionally celebrated with angel's food cake with chocolate icing.

This momentous confluence of anniversaries usually falls on or about Memorial Day weekend, also known as the traditional kick off to “I’m bored there’s nothing to do” season.

Any mother knows that lament. We live for it. In fact, we lie abed at night thinking up smart-ass answers to use on our kids. And I suspect our answers are all pretty similar...and have to do with “do you want me to find something for you to do?”

When they were young, the guys went to day camp for most of the summer. The purpose of day camp is to send them to the most mosquito-ridden location imaginable where they learn useful things like how to swim and less useful things like how to spit in a lake. The real purpose of day camp, however, is to run the little darlings into the ground so that when they get home, you simply hose them off, feed them, and watch them collapse in a heap. My guys loved camp. In fact, senior son loved camp so much he became a camp counselor. Junior son, on the other hand, decided he wanted be a camper for the rest of his school career, so he took up marching band...another fine activity that runs them into the ground. Let’s just say I know when and where every local parade in the State of Minnesota is held.

I did, however, manage to put my foot down on one issue: what constitutes a beach? What passes for a beach here is not what us coastal folk consider a beach. I was not going to raise pond swimmers! Only Atlantic waves for my guys! And sand between my toes for me.

Ziggy humored me...because I took the kids and the dog and left him home. Alone. Actually, I think he did the happy dance on his way home from the airport.

Taking the kids to New York was a good thing. They learned to open the combination lock on the cabana door, and they learned to boogie board...skills which continue to serve them well. They got to know their New York family, which is considerable. They improved their tennis skills at Bubbe’s office, which just happened to be a tennis club with a camp. And they got city time. As the guys got older, I was even able to send them without me, and I would do the happy dance on the way home from the airport!

If we did anything right at all as parents, it was agreeing that summer in New York was crucial. And when, on those momentous occasions Ziggy managed to join us for a bit, it was a celebration! There was nothing better than sitting on the deck with Ziggy and my dad, telling and retelling the worst jokes imaginable.

But those days are long gone. The cabana is gone. Mom retired from the tennis club and Dad from the box biz. They sold the house and moved to Flah-rida. The kids are busy being adults.
So to mark the 558th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans and the 58th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent, I went to the cemetery to put a little rock atop Ziggy’s headstone. There was no angel food cake.

The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Day
When you cannot see the big picture,
focus only on putting one foot in front of the other.


  1. >kicking at sand<
    I love a great story and that was one of 'em.


  2. I've tried twice to send email to the address posted thank you for your excellent comment in this morning's NYT. Please list a current email address (the one listed here simply bounces back to me as undeliverable). Thanks

  3. Great story. Next time make angel food cake and go get some sand between your toes!