Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Construction Zone

Summertime in the 1980s meant one thing to me: Beach Trip!

Every August, just before school was to begin again, we would pack up the big family car and roll down the interstate towards South Carolina. For several years, we stayed in the same condo. 202C was our domain. My sister and I bounced on the twin beds in our room. We played out on the balcony, heard the crash of the ocean waves, and watched as old shrimp boats floated slowly across the horizon.

Bright and early each morning, we awoke with excitement. Sleeping in was never an option; we had some serious work to do. We bounced out of bed, donned our swimsuits, and scarfed down cereal. All in about 10 minutes flat. Then we clambered down the wooden stairs in our pink jelly shoes, skipped past the pool, and sunk our toes in the fluffy sand. By the end of the day, this sand would be so hot we would need to sprint across. But in the cool of morning, we could stop to wiggle our toes. Only for a moment, though, we had work to do!

My dad took direction well. He grabbed the largest of our plastic shovels and began to dig the foundation. My sister and I sprinted to the ocean to fill our buckets. We filled them as much as we could, the plastic handles straining from the weight. Then we followed our own footprints back up the beach to the construction site.

In a matter of minutes, the castle took shape. Trenches, moats, and curved fortress walls were only the beginning. Using handfuls of wet, dripping sand, we created magical towers and turrets. We fantasized about who lived in each tower. There was always room for everyone in our castle. Mom joined in the fun as well, collecting seashells and placing them in just the right places for added beauty.

The final creation was truly magical. My young heart filled with pride as people stopped mid-stroll to admire our work. The center moat was always large enough that I could sit in the water warmed by the afternoon sun. All the passersby knew this castle was mine. I was the queen of my sandy domain.

My family's talent is still going strong even today. We revived our annual beach vacation, upgrading to Hilton Head Island and a lovely 4-bedroom condo. We gained family members. The original sand castle queens now stroll the beach with their kings. Amelia has ascended to take the title of Mermaid Sand Princess. She doesn't help much with the construction of her estate, but claps her hands and giggles as she surpervises the effort. She splashes in the trenches and exclaims when the ocean tests the limits of the outer walls.

Now it is she who smiles with joy as people admire her castle. She is our new ruler of the sand.

Inspired by another great prompt from The Red Dress Club!

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