Magic in meeting at Lake Erie beach

Commentary

I want to share with the readership an experience that struck a chord deep into my heart. This experience, although relatively brief in time, compelled me to offer it up.

My family has enjoyed the Lake Erie beaches. We picnic, walk the beach and beach-comb for glass. Occasionally we stay until the sunsets are completed. We’ve journeyed alone, as a couple, with our young children, with their friends in tow and now with our grandchildren.

We’ve felt fulfilled by years of singular or family experiences. The beach has offered solace for walks or musing while sitting on a large tree branch. Conversely, the joyful screeches of young children frolicking in the surf with parents are memorable. How a child’s delight of being buried in the sand, then suddenly emerging like a playful monster unearthed draws laughter from all assembled.

We’ve run the gamut of experiencing a beach littered with debris not all washed ashore to hoards of assorted-sized logs scattered helter-skelter, to no sign of lifeguards to protect swimmers. We’ve been pleased to have experienced the clean beach with debris deposited neatly in barrels, driftwood generally bulldozed apart from populated areas, assorted driftwood left for beachcombers’ imaginative artistry, small rocks left for skipping games, and, yes, lifeguards perched atop their requisite tall chairs.

The beach, years ago, was a source of a winter getaway from being stuck at home. Several times we donned our winter outdoor clothes, drove to the beach and entered the beach through an open gate. Mother Nature pounded the beach with her winter fury. Left were caves formed by frozen waves in the surf and sand. We slid in the iced caverns and the children yelped with enjoyment. A well-deserved hot cocoa completed the experience. Now the gate is closed, and to repeat the experience is to test the legality surrounding trespassing. Got to factor in liability, I suppose.

One experience left for last involves other beachgoers. I, for one, rarely impose on others who are alone, as couples or families who also delight in the beach experience. Walks, however, have provided license, so to speak, to deliver a warm greeting. We certainly haven’t been the only folks enjoying beachcombing for glass. A wave of verbal greeting sometimes breaks the almost mesmerizing effect.

We recently went to the beach and timed the subset with beach-combing. Other folks were walking ahead of us. My wife and I walked at different paces. I was moving at a faster pace. I came up to a family and said hi to a young adolescent girl. She was friendly, yet a bit guarded. Understood. I looked back and saw my wife walking with the dad and his infant child. I then said hi to a younger girl. She carried a small bag. She told me of her plan to collect pretty stones for a Father’s Day project. I complimented her on her consideration. Well, we became unintended beachcombing pals. She made it clear that I was to seek and share any pretty stones I found for her bounty. Without a word, she dealt me beach glass for my bounty. This act continued down the beach. I met her mom, who demonstrated nary a problem with our transaction. This youngster was talkative the entire walk. I might add that she was bossy in a very persuasive way. At the end of our journey to the hillside, I thanked her for the fun experience. She told me to wait and gave me a stone. I had asked her name and she made sure I remembered her. How could I forget?

I walked back toward my wife and heard the girl beckon me to stop. She spread out her arms. We hugged. Her mom explained that her daughter does this in school much to her teacher’s delight. Her trust in me was a joy to my heart. At a time where children are taught not to trust adults, I was moved by the experience. This girl represents, like our grandchildren, a voice for our future. Hope they don’t get too tainted. This article is dedicated for you, dear Leah. Thank you.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

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