A day at the beach turned into a comical production of the struggle between brothers and sisters to co-exist. It started off innocently when a woman with two friends descended onto the beach with umbrellas, chairs, beach bags, towels, blankets and a multitude of other stuff I couldn’t even identify. Really?! Is it truly necessary to bring all of that paraphernalia for a few hours in the sun?! Apparently so. One woman had three kids in tow – a girl about 10, a boy about 8 and a younger girl around 6. The girls were skinny string-beans (as my Mother used to call me when I was young.) The boy was thin as well and wore a brand new ball cap with a huge brim that was big and flat. It looked odd sitting atop his little head. The little girls wore bright bikinis that hung on their thin frames, and the older girl wore shocking pink heart-shaped sunglasses and pranced around like a super model.
Just then a smiling, pudgy little girl of about 6 came running up from a stakeout closer to the ocean– maybe a neighbor? She was very pretty with white-blonde hair and blue eyes, although she had the few extra pounds of baby fat. She was with her mom and older brother (about 10 – a big kid). Shortly after some back and forth and hellos between the kids and the moms – IT began. Sand Wars.
The older boy had formed this odd little fort by digging deep into the sand, surrounding the hole with boogie boards and then covering them with towels to form a roof. The younger other brother joined in. The girls sashayed over to the fort to check it out and were told in no uncertain terms to go away. They stood with hands on hips refusing to budge. That’s when the younger boy with the odd ball cap took a handful of sand and hurled it at his sisters. No matter – all the girls in turn picked up handfuls of sand and tossed it back. The younger boy (the older boy had disappeared into the fort for some reason – maybe knowing better than to fight with girls) took another handful of sand and tossed it in their faces causing them to squeal sharply. The girls dug their hands deep into the sand and were just about to let it rip when mom came running over with her hands on her hips yelling at the boy. The girls had cleverly, and ever so nonchalantly, let the sand slide out of their hands before mom could see. Little angels… As the younger boy was getting reamed out by mom, the girls slipped away from the scene and began staking out a fort of their own.
Much to the boys’ chagrin, the girls’ fort was an exact replica of the boys’ fort. The boys stood seething from afar. The younger boy was especially agitated since they were using his boogie board. He finally ran over and snatched the board, caving in one side of the fort, screamed that their fort was “stinky” and ran, joining his older friend under the blankets in their fort, which must have been a stifling 100 degrees by now. The girls, seeing that their fort had collapsed, decided it was boring and instead decided to lay out on their towels and “get a tan” in the words of the older girl. They ignored the boys completely, sitting on their blanket, talking and munching on Goldfish, pretzels and an assortment of candy provided by the chubby little girl. That peaked the younger boy’s attention, since he must have become bored laying in the torrid fort with the older boy doing a lot of nothing. He watched the girls for a while until he mustered up the courage to mosey over to where they were sunning and then stood over them staring at what they were eating. He politely asked for some Goldfish crackers and the younger, chubby girl graciously handed him some. He said a courteous “thank you.” The girl smiled up at him, and he smiled back. Since the older boy still had not come out from the fort, and probably because the younger boy found the girls more interesting, he sat down on their blanket with a juice box and joined in their conversation.
I left shortly thereafter, so I’ll never be sure of what happened to the cloistered older brother who seemingly disappeared into the sand, or whether the cozy reunion of brother and sisters lasted. I do know that a major battle in the war between the siblings was diffused by simple indifference and a handful of orange, fish-shaped cheddar crackers.