A couple of summers, before my little sister was born, my mother found a program at the local YMCA, a day camp that she could afford and that would indulge me in my most beloved summer activity, floating silently away in the water.
I grew up in a beach community, was a water kid from the beginning. Didn’t matter, ocean or pool, I was in from the second we hit the sand or chlorine scented concrete and would not get out until I got the “You have 5 minutes to dry off before we have to leave” alert. At the pool I would lock my legs on the blazing hot edge, pinch my nose, arch my back and plunge my body into the water pushing back until I felt the tiles resting against my shoulders. I would do this for hours, just float there seeing how long I could hold my breath, watch…upside down the frenetic activity at the shallow end of the pool. The legs wiping wildly, the sploosh of white foam as a body jumped in, the curious faces of my pool mates as they swam past the weird girl that was hanging like an underwater bat in the deep end of the pool. I loved the way my body would rock as the water was pushed to and fro, adored the absolute quiet and craved that big chest filling breath as I came up to the surface, panted and then took the plunge again. Pool time was for peace…
Now the beach was a whole other thing. This was where I would run, swim and ride the waves until my body was wrinkled and felt like it were about to give out. I would wiggle my body to deepest part of the cove and dig into the wet sand while I slowly released the air in my chest and watched the bubbles break along the murky surface. The dark cold water, the sting of salt in my little cuts and scrapes, the slight thrill of fear before planting my feet in the sand and with all my might, propelling myself through the frothy water, the cracking of waves, the lapping of water along the shore and the seagulls slamming into my ears and filling me with a rush that, to this day, has been hard to duplicate. So the pool was for tranquility but the beach only meant two things, total exhaustion and the worst lunch ever!
The YMCA took us to the beach twice a week and twice a week my mother would pack me a lunch that, had I not been such a freak (and like made friends and junk) I would have traded just about anything for, the cheese sandwich. White bread, mayonnaise….lots and lots of mayonnaise and one inch thick slabs of Monterey Jack cheese. Now let’s forget for a moment that we are talking summer in Southern California here, that the temperatures were often in the high nineties and those lunches were just stacked in portable plastic bins without refrigeration and that by the time we were….forced in my case, to eat lunch that thick, creamy swath of mayo now looked more like petroleum jelly than a condiment. No, that wasn’t the worst part. The most gag inducing part for me was having to remove the warm, squishy, sweating cheese sandwich from the plastic baggie, my wet fingers turning the doughy bread into a sponge and feeling that disgusting crunch of sand that was there no matter how many times I wiped my hands. Fuck just typing that memory gave me a gag shiver. Warm mayo, wet bread, thick, sweaty cheese and sand…gross.
“Sam eat your sandwich!”
That was many moons ago those crunchy sandwich beach days but had I known then what I know now, well maybe I would have been a happier little salt covered prune. If I had only known there was a perfect beverage to accompany my gritty lunch…
hanna 2008 / russian river, california
With a color of brilliant honey and golden straw, this wine brings aromas of ripe Gravenstein apple, ghee, oak veneer, dried mango, sweet baked
almond and crushed pineapple. On the tongue, flavors of poached pears, Bananas Foster, ground nutmeg, first touch of warm beach sand, olive
oil and sweet lemon zest.
From a local restaurant’s wine list….um, no wonder people think we wine “professionals” are either douche nozzles or full of shit. Ugh. Useless and profoundly stupid tasting note. Now I feel like I have sand in my underpants….