There is a family settled in on beach chairs not far from where Gerry and I have set up camp for the afternoon in a sheltered place out of the wind. The ocean is not angry, but perhaps a bit testy today. Gerry views the larger waves with a sparkle in his eye, eager to go out and allow himself to be tossed to and fro by them. To me a wave of any kind looks menacing. I don’t see myself venturing out very far in the water today.
But back to the family.
There are perhaps eight or ten of them, evenly divided between adults and children. The dark-haired males are taking turns, four at a time, playing a game with a ball and a circular mini-trampoline. There are good-natured fist bumps and swagger as points are scored. I glean from the gestures (I don’t understand their language) that it’s a team sport.
When they finish, a man—one of the fathers, I assume—let’s out a manly growl and assumes a victory pose. It’s all in good fun, and there is laughter all around. The trampoline-like device is put away and most of the group takes a spot on one of the lounge chairs. The victorious papa remains standing.
He bends down and kisses the top of the head of one of the children, a boy, perhaps ten. Then cups the head of another slightly older one, draws it toward him, and kisses it too.
And I think what a tragedy it is that such a simple, loving gesture on the part of a man captures my attention and imagination because of its uncommonness. And I think about how fortunate those boys are.