It was the seventh wave that got her. Took her down like a sandcastle, and with much less decorum. At least a sandcastle leaves hints of its former glory, upright and stalwart. There was nothing upright about mama, in those quiet seconds between an innocuous stroll and ‘woman overboard’.
They’d headed to the ocean for the morning, my man, my dog and my mama. After a week in the city she was dying to shake off her shoes, get her toes in the sand, breath in that life affirming sea air. And Iggy needed a first class romp in del Mar. Ric loves the ocean too. Loves to watch his dog flex his muscles in the surf as he endlessly searches for la pelota. It’s a spectator sport really – from the waiters and diners under the palapas, to the fervent sunbathers, to the clusters of grand scale Mexican families – everyone stops to watch a crazy dog sail over the surf and ride the waves back to shore.
It seemed just another Sunday beach day, until mama decided she wanted to get her feet wet too. With her cranky hip, she’s become a big swimmer and has no fear of water. She left her expensive runners on the beach and headed to the surfs edge, cane in one hand, hiked up skirt in the other. And this is where things get a little murky. By both accounts, as I wasn’t there to witness the heroics, it happened fast, and was over almost as quickly. Thanks to a dog who loves to retrieve and who thinks anything in the water requires ‘saving’. In this case, his instincts were stellar and we’re convinced he should be a Disney Dog.
Mama was only in a foot of the stuff, steady as she goes with her trusty cane and determination to enjoy every moment. But the ocean is a trickster – that seventh wave thing. You get lulled into a false sense of security then BAM! You’re on your knees with water above and an undertow below. The first thing she remembers is her cane being carried away, kinda like if you’ve ever tipped your canoe and watched helplessly as your paddle floats past you downstream. Another story. But she wasn’t the only one who noticed the cane. Iggy, stage left. He raced into the surf, grabbed the cane, swam into shore where Ric was sure he would play ‘toss the stick’. Instead, that dog dropped the cane to safety then raced back in to mama’s side. She grabbed his collar and, using him for ballast on one side with Ric’s adrenalin grip on the other, was unceremoniously hauled back to shore.
Sitting under the palapa several moments later, admiring the marks of adventure on her life worn knees, mama smiled at her heroes and promised, Scouts honour, that NEXT time she’d be more careful. Next time, she’d go in with a floaty.
Footnote: There are many traits I get from my mother but I am most grateful for her fearlessness, tenacity, and I-could-give-a-$%!@-what everybody-else-thinks attitude. As I find myself getting older, I realize just how important those things are 🙂