Beach Story

I floated along the sandbar on my stomach, trolling the bottom with my fingers.

 “Mom I got one!” Caroline produced another sand dollar fragment, this one bigger than her hand but still nothing like a whole item.

“Good job, honey.” A bucket of similar selections sat on shore.

“I’m going to take it back and show Daddy.”

“I’ll come with you this time.” I turned in the water so my body faced in. We swam in to shore, where Scott buried his sunburned feet in the shallows and Sam dug an industrious hole of increasing proportions.

Scott asked, “Did you find the bed?”

“Daddy! You can’t put beds in the water!” Sam’s shovel stopped so he could study Scott. His face asked if he should laugh at this obvious joke.

Caroline said, “He means the sand dollar bed.”

“I gave up. And,” I added, “bed has many meanings, Sam.” Sam screwed up his mouth and flung the shovel at Scott for introducing another conundrum into his life.

“So you spent an hour out there and didn’t even get one?” Scott unburied one foot and tried to rinse it in the surf.

“I was too busy just looking at stuff. Are there any of those yellow tailed fish in by shore?”’

“Then, what was the point?” He looked down at the raw skin that stretched from his toes to his ankles.

“Well, I thought up a good sand dollar story.”

“That’s something. Did you even see the dolphin?” He stared out across the Gulf.

“No! Where was it?”

“Right out there near you guys! It’s still there. I’ve seen its dorsal fin a couple of times.”

“That’s nice.”

“Aren’t you going to look?” Scott crossed his arms.

“No.” I climbed into Sam’s hole. “I think I’ll just write a story.”

My husband made a finger-fist telephone. “Hello, Fancy airport. I’d like to schedule a flight for my wife.”

“Daddy!” Sam went after the shovel. “You can’t have an airplane on the beach!”


Come take an airline flight with Trifecta this week.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Beach Story — 24 Comments

  1. I’ve only just heard of sand dollars and never seen one, I hope you found a whole one. Trust you to drift off into storyland whilst on a family trip to the beach! Mind you, I’d have been knitting and drifting just to compound my crimes. 😉
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  2. I find at least one sand dollar every time I go to the beach. Last time, I found four or five whole ones and numerous pieces. They’re hard little buggers, because they blend so well with the sand when they aren’t fully dead.
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    • We found one tiny one and Sam lost it. I also found one alive. When we go to Naples, there’s a particular beach with a sand dollar bed that we love to visit. It’s fun to dig them up with your feet and let them stain your hands yellow. But we were in North Florida, sad face. Destin is too touristy. Naples is touristy, too. But the beaches are still amazing.

  3. Very lovely – I love the interactions here; the way you communicate. I love that you crawl in a hole and think about your story.

  4. I love the dialogue between the parents and the kids. So normal, but, utterly facinating. I think I miss those conversations! When dad says, “Hello, fancy airport…”, I can see a great sense of humor here. The Naples area has the best beaches for shells, silver dollars and, best of all for kids, shark’s teeth. Try Little Gasparilla Island in that same neck of the beach sometime.

    • Scott has got the best sense of humor ever. And I will someday live in Naples. I love. Love. LOVE. that area. This was North Florida. We had fun, but it wasn’t all.

  5. Wonderful again, Jessie. I don’t swim, but I felt like I was there with you, having a lazy day with the family (as lazy as it gets for Moms who care about teaching opportunities for their kids. 🙂 ) It’s hard for my gut to believe that non-writers have these kinds of moments and don’t feel like they have to write them down. 🙂
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  6. We found a huge bed of them one recent year and then mistakenly tried to bring them home on the airplane, “safely” packed to give out to school mates. Yeah – they all smashed in the luggage. Oh well – we got a bunch of those little birdies from the inside out of it!

  7. sand dollars are cool. I had some as a kid. We have this huge book about dinosaurs and evolution and my kids saw one on a page. They were SHOCKED to find out these were living creatures.
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  8. Oh no! She missed the interesting things. But I guess, the mother have already zeroed in on the more interesting thing for her – she was even inspired to write about it.

    I had to look up ‘sand dollar’ and re-read your story. 🙂


  9. Ha–this is me trying to leave a comment. 🙂 I loved this, and I really enjoyed the conversation in the comments section. Being a Florida girl, myself, I’ve gotten the sand dollars before. Back in the late 80s it was all the rage to buy painted sand dollars. Gaudy, pastel-sunset sand dollars. Yours are better.
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  10. Ha. I do usually manage to drag my attention away from stories when I’m at the beach but only because there’s wildlife. I don’t think I’ve ever found more than fragments of sand dollars; maybe you need to be in an area where they’re thicker on the ground to do that?
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