Hugs for Brenda, Maureen, Foster and the Tirrells
WALLIS SANDS BEACH, NEW HAMPSHIRE
September 24, 2013, our last day in New Hampshire, began slowly. We packed up the car, not expecting to return to that particular motel since it was time for us to move up the Maine coast.
At 10:40 a. m. we drove down route 1A to Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire. It was a road familiar to me from the days of my childhood when my grandfather, Albert Briskay, drove my sister and me, or my mother, who caught the bus, took my sister and me, to this small beach in Rye.
Determining that the tide was coming in and the sand area would disappear quickly I wrote “Goodby Wallis Sands” in the sand. I neglected to photo it.
Then Monte wandered to the southern breakwater rock wall while I shed my red pants to my bathing suit and took off down the beach.
Although the morning was crisp and cool the sun poured its energy onto the sand and warmed my uplifted face. I walked the beach’s short length, partly on the damp sand, partly in the water. Half-way across were two smartly crafted sand castles, just above the high-tide water line. They reminded me of the temporary art my older sister and I used to create when we were on the beach over fifty years ago.
At the far end I captured these birds:
Wandering deep into the water I realized I was overloaded with my towel and a small bag, so I walked to the dry sand to set them down. That’s when I noticed the couple sitting by the cement stairway wall.
The man was using a movie camera, and I realized I was probably a star in his production.
I returned to the water, camera in hand, and waded in above my knees in an attempt to photograph the waves from the back side. Unfortunately, a couple of waves were larger than I expected. I jumped in the air to avoid getting soaked. I raised the hand holding the camera high in the air just as the cold wave smacked me in the small of my back. I credit my good balance with not being under the wave and the camera remaining safe and dry. A follow-up wave required me to keep the camera aloft. The wave cycle had reached its height. Finally I was free to snap the waves.
Once done I exited the water, gathered my stuff, and spoke with the couple. They’d found the wave that smacked me entertaining, and thought I received water damage to the camera. I hadn’t.
I learned that Mr. and Mrs. Tirrell were from Lisbon, a town south of Pittsburgh—Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, that is. They traveled to Wallis Sands Beach most years, but occasionally went to Wells Beach in Maine instead.
Mr. Tirrell told me they traveled in a bus which was not yet finished, but it did had all the necessary amenities. It was this bus we saw in the parking lot. He then joked that he had considered entering the water and challenging the waves, following my example, but he was wearing suspenders and jeans and didn’t want to get them wet.
I challenged him to wade into the waves.
While we conversed two women arrived with a baby stroller, which they abandoned to carry the infant to the water’s edge. I proceeded to return to the breakwater wall where I left Monte.
As I approached the breakwater I realized the tide had risen sufficiently to have erased my message in the sand.
Monte was sitting on a blanket spread out on the sand, was reading a book. I noticed that it was wet on one corner. A wave had surprised Monte, where he originally laid it out, and soaked it.
I sat beside him and we acted like love-struck teenagers, cuddling together.
A gull watched (chaperoned?) us as the woman carrying the infant walked toward us. It appeared she was hesitant to interrupt, so I sat up and she finally continued her walk to the breakwall.
“Three and a half months.”
“I’m glad you’re teaching him beach appreciation while he’s young.”
We learned that the woman, Brenda, was from Nottingham, New Hampshire, and her son’s name was Foster.
And she had a special affinity to Wallis Sands Beach. like I do. She became engaged on this beach.
Brenda’s niece, Maureen, arrived at our blanket a few minutes later. From Grand Rapids, she was a photographer with an entry in a major competition in Michigan. Before her return home, later in the day, she was taking pictures of the surf. I quickly turned and snapped a shot of her taking pictures.
“Look,” Monte interrupted while I was talking to Brenda.. “Did you see that man down there, the one wearing suspenders?” My, what good eyesight you have, my dear. “It’s amazing. He just walked into the water and dove into a wave.”
I turned and looked as Mr. Tirrell was leaving the water, then rising I walked to where he was just about to step out of the surf onto the wet sand. He was soaking wet.
“My husband said you dove into the wave. Could you repeat it so I can get a picture???”
“It’s cold…” he said, but finally agreed to my plea and headed back into the water.
I returned to where Monte was still talking to Brenda and Maureen while baby Foster seemed to be enjoying the waves. They lingered a while before leaving. We could have spent more time on the beach but I somehow felt it was time to go. It is probably our last visit to Wallis Sands Beach since we may not travel to New England again.
(A NaBloPoMo post)