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Pagrovian Nature/Human Nature

Family Reunion

Ever heard the song, “Beautiful Kauai”? Well, I’m singing and humming it and inserting, “There’s a Peninsula acro-o-ss the se-e-ea, beautiful P.G., beautiful P.G.”

Asimolar Beach is the Bonneville salt flats today, exposing tide pools in which naked toddlers troll the sand with their colorful buckets. The sky is blue topaz and the clouds are white cars that leave chalky tire tracks across it. A line of pelicans soar as high as my spirit today.
It’s 80 degrees and I have just one prayer: that the pencil of fog laying over the horizon doesn’t decide to swallow the sun.

Understand, I hold no malice toward those who love fog. Many of them come from the sweltering Central Valley to Pacific Grove fog where they feel caressed by its cool, awed by the evanescence of it filtering though Monterey Pines.

I’m just not one of them. Give me sun, sun, sun! As a teen I used to lie around our swimming pool by the hour. Dad would always say, “Susan, you’re going to end up looking like a Maui prune.”
This was what he called a family friend who moved to Maui and leathered from the weather. I admit, I’m following in her footsteps.
But I digress . . . Two young women in wetsuits carry their sleek surf boards toward the tumblers that seem to be giving other water walkers a good ride. I say to them, “I admire you athletes. Your sport is so natural – just you and your board and the waves.”

The tanned blonde says, “Yeah, it’s the only athletics where the playing field keeps moving.”

I laugh and keep up my power walk, hopping salty puddles, gulping in fresh ozone and watching the antics of half a dozen dogs (unlawfully) off-leash and cavorting around with each other.

I’ve seen many things over the 33 years that I’ve resided in P.G. and walked Asilomar Beach - met many interesting people - but today takes the cake.

As I reach the tide pools, I notice a group of adults horsing around and one of them has a whip – a little one, black with a red tassel, but a whip, no less.

“What is this,” I ask the white-haired conservative looking woman who is doing the flogging, “sadomasochism?”

The group laughs and she says, “Oh, good heavens, no. We are having our yearly family reunion and we’re enacting scenes from “Two Years before the Mast.”

Apparently, every year the extended family gets together and one member picks a theme. This year’s was Monterey and it included a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to view jellyfish, a trip under the pier to view abalone farming, artichoke cooking and enacting sailors on a tall ship that was shipping hides. Apparently, the person getting the flogging hadn’t done their homework on the subject and had failed to keep the hides dry.

The whip was designed for enacting the Mast but, after talking to them, it seems they may continue to use it on the people who get wrong answers on their quizzes. Kind of a Carlos Mencia thing (deh-de-deh). (If you don’t get that, be sure to tune into Comedy Central TV for “Mind of Mencia.” The man is a comedic genius.)

At any rate, I made a suggestion for the next family reunion. “Why not choose the gumboot chiton? It’s way cool.”

Blank stares.

“They are mollusks that look like halved melons, or orange footballs, and I used to see masses of them washed ashore after a storm at sea. After their flesh disintegrates, they leave behind parts of their spine - white discs shaped like butterflies.”

“Oh, yeah, we just saw one of those,” a younger member said. “That sounds like a fun idea.”

Inspiration? This family has that and creativity times 10!

Good Views: I just re-watched “Mr. Holland’s Opus” for the umpteenth time and cried and cheered and marveled at this awe-inspiring story of triumph over difficulty, faith, inspiration and following your dreams. Richard Dreyfuss is, in my estimation, the consummate actor. He does funny as well as he does serious. But, in this film, he does passion so convincingly that you’d swear he has conducted orchestras before. Maybe he has, I must Google that . . .







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