Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sandcastles & Scrapping

In 1979, we lived in a very small town on the gulf coast of Mississippi. Our town was small, yet festive. We had one gas station, a grocery store no bigger than a 7-11 and a police department that consisted of 2 men & one woman. There were no casinos, bowling allies or movie theatres, but we did have annual festivities...the Blessing of the Fleet, Mardi Gras, the Crawfish Festival & more.

These events were very important, perhaps more important there than in other larger communities where the citizens had more entertainment on a daily basis. One of these events was the Annual Sand-Sculpture Contest. It was an all day event...beginning at 8am and ending promptly at 5. I can't recall how many contestants there were, but the usually desolate beach was packed with each group assigned to a 20' x 20' section of sand.My brother, a year and a half my senior, and I were contestants.

We got to the beach when the wind was still cold and the water freezing. We lugged 5 gallon buckets, shovels, forks, picks and knives to our little plot in the sand. We worked with increasing franticness throughout the morning. At lunch time, we were able to walk around & enjoy the eye candy of everyone else's creations. It was amazing spectacle.... mermaids, ships, lobster, gnomes, houses and more... all built of sand.

After lunch, my brother felt somewhat already defeated. The other sandcastles seemed to be so detailed and grand compared to our massive mound of sand, true. But we, still had a wonderful fondation and were left only with the details that would make our castle 'pop.' So, I took to one side and he took to the other....slicing, carving, smoothing & shaping.

'Damn it!' was the first profanity I heard from the other side of our mound. I asked 'What is it?' The mumbled words held a warning for me....'Nothing! Just shut up.' Ut-oh... young teen-age boy testosterone kicking in on the other side, I shut up. A few minutes passed and I could hear more... 'Stupid peice of sh-t.' Ut-oh, he's wearing thin. I said not a word. Then I heard the caravan of every word our Mother had told us to never use... they rolled off of his tongue and into te air like a tsunami. I walked over to his side to see what the problem was. A small section of the castle kept collapsing. He warned me, 'Don't say a word, I know it sucks! We're gonna lose!'

I smiled (mistake) and said, 'It'll be ok...we can fix it!' Boom! Trigger was tripped, the levy was broke & the profanities flew. I shut up. When he seemed to calm down a bit, sitting on his upturned 5 gallon bucket, I ventured to speak again. 'Maybe some more water in the sand will help.' He looked at me and sighed in defeat, 'Yeah, maybe. I'll get it, I'm just taking a break.' Ok, cool. I ventured back to my side...packing & poking my sand.

I saw my brother walk to the water with his bucket/stool in hand. He filled it with water & came back. Another labored sigh and 'Ok, I can do this.' I let him be, not saying a word. He could do it, I just knew it. He had been stressed & just needed a little bit of peace. Hopefully, the break and the absence of my voice were his tickets to peace.

Moments later, the motherload of profanities flew through the air. A hurricane in our little section of the sand. Water flying upwards, downwards & sideways. Sand being blasted, smashed & our castle trashed. A 5 gallon bucket of water had been slung onto the face of our sculpture. I had rose to my feet just in time to have sandy water splatter into my face. I paced maybe a step or two when I saw the bucket get thrown into the remains of our melting castle. A pace later, I could see his leg & foot maliciously kicking the remains of our sculpture.

That's when it happened. The storm in me had been aroused. I jumped onto my sibling like an angry hornet attacking someone who had intruded their nest. We were rolling in the sand, fists and feet flailing. Whack! Bam! Crack! I felt it. I heard it. I did not immediately see it.

In the flurry of sand and elbows, in a rage of munts, grunts and occassional profanities the sun disappeared from my sky, the sound of the waves & the wind had ceased. Whack! Crack! Bam! echoed in my head and on my back through all of our munting & grunting & heaving of air.

Then I saw him. A little old man. Bent knees. Dark gray hair gone wild. Cane in hand, but not on the ground. 'Damn Shame!'

I froze. His cane was once again over his head & he was ready to pelt me again. He said, 'Where's your mother?! You children should be ashamed!' Once again, I said nothing. I looked around, scanning the masses for our mother. Still spitting sand out of my mouth & collapsed on top of my brother, I scanned the masses for our Mother.

I saw her. She was about 5 castles away, backside to us... walking away. I called for her. She didn't flinch. I yelled loudly for her, she kept walking away.

The old man, cane still overhead, said 'Get up you shameful little varmit!' Where's your mother.' I got up and spotted my mother, now twice as far away & gaining speed. I told him, 'I'm sorry. Your'e right. We should be ashamed & I am ashamed. I'm sorry. Would you please lower your cane?'

Humpft! 'Where's your mother.'
I got up and spotted my mother, now twice as far away, backside still to us. 'Our mother didn't come out today'


Matt said...

I recall learning the word "strangle" for the first time as a young boy.

An old man said the word and I thought, "Huh, so there's a word that specifically describes what I'm doing right now with both my hands around my sister's neck."

JR's Thumbprints said...

I had to scroll forever to get here. This sand castle competition sounds great. Awesome pics too. I thinks I'd still go to something like that, even if a few kids are fighting in the sand.

singleton said...

Jr...i'm so glad you left your thumbprints in the sand..... I followed you! Wow! That was some 5 gallon bucket of water...

The ocean is full of treasures, and every now and then, other stuff washes up! Peace to you sweet sib. Comment moderation in order! ILYSVVM!

skinnylittleblonde said...

LOL, JR! I was deleting that anonymous souls' propoganda as you were posting comment. Sorry about that! I don't usually delete comments but that was ridicualously long and was nothing but religious propoganda! Yes, sand sculpturing can be fun & entertaining!

Matt~ Not many siblings make it to adulthood without scrapping a time or two.

Orhan Kahn said...

You should have kicked the man in the knee and stolen his cane. I'm sorry, but it seems justified..

When you say your town had a Mardi Gras I get visions of gay people everywhere (in Sydney a Mardi Gras is something of a festival put on annually to celebrate homosexuality).. what exactly was your about?

skinnylittleblonde said...

Singleton~ I'm sorry you had to scroll through the 5 gallon comment... spammers! You were leaving comment at same time as me. ILYT

Orhan~ It's not a gay thing here, or should I say, there. It's a carnival like celebration that occurs the day before lent. It typically involves lots of elaborate floats in a wild parade in which the float-folks throw candy and necklaces out at the people watching. There is also lots of music, food, dancing and alcohol. As a kid, we just wanted to see the floats & to catch the goodies being tossed.
Lol, I was so stunned by that man's actions that I was speechless. My dear Momma was so stunned by our behavior that she tried to pretend like she didn't even know of. Of course, she thought we were too old for that behavior...and , really, it had just begun ;)

JustRun said...

What a story! Makes me want to build a sand castle and then throw some sand at my sister, just like when we were kids.

vicci said...

I have always wanted to create something in sand on the beach...something outrageous and BIG!!!!!! something beautiful!
How's my favorite little skinny blonde doing???????

singleton said...

Uh! Yeah! I seem to remember a Thanksgiving throw-down on the kitchen floor, ummmmmm, when you guys were like.....20 and 22!!!! We just kept shoveling leftover turkey down our throats and drinking beer! was over who took the iced tea glass out of the dishwasher!!!!!!!LOL and scraps are just as cherished as hugs! ILYSVVM

psycho-therapist said...

ha! girl, you crack me up- i always feel as though i am right there with you when i'm reading your amazing writing. we have GOTTA meet this summer. i'll gonna try to get in a week on the LunaSea early summer. she's going up for sale, sadly. is it evil of me to hope she doesn't sell?

mindy said...

i love reading your stories! what a crappy old man. i bet your mom would have beat him with his own cane. ;)

Mel said...

Is this where I'd have to admit that more than once I've feigned deafness with the two kiddos in my life? LOL

skinnylittleblonde said...

Just Run ~ You should take time at the beach with your sister, especially now that you two are all grown up & hopefully past that throwing sand stage!

Vicci~ Go for it! I know it'd be everything you make and do is!

Singleton~ Lol, although I don't remember that specicific episode, i am not surprised. This one was the first of among many. Luckily, as you know, we did outgrow it & somehow were able to remain the best of friends throughout it all

Psycho-therapist~ I don't think that's eveil at all! So you are gonna get at least one more trip in before she goes on the market?

Mindy~ LoL, I think my mom agreed with him, although she'd never beat our backs with a cane. We were a disgraceful spectacle & I was quite ashamed.

Mel~ Lol, my momma has always said that a smart woman knows when to play dumb! ;)

I, like the view said...

"a smart woman knows when to play dumb" that's made me smile as much as the post did, altho the post made me a little sad towards to the end

are mothers allowed to walk away like that? wow - I'm learning a good lesson here; thank you!

and as for the sand sculpture, how wonderful!!

we weren't allowed to fight or be angry in my house when I was growing up, but I did slap one of my brothers around the face once

(my kids are allowed all their emotions! and maybe one day I'll learn to walk away too. . .)

what a great post! thanks again

Behind Blue Eyes said...

I think the old man should have minded his own business too. I don't blame you for getting mad at your brother. I'm constantly sniping at my kids for picking at each other, it's so negative, but honestly I wouldn't think they were normal if they always got along.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Lol, Yes...Mother's words have proven to be both funny & true. I think she walked away in embarassment & also, with the realization that we had to work it out ourselves. ;) We were never allowed to fight either, but we just did...

BBE~ I tried being patient for a spell just because I knew he had a very short fuse. Unlike, many brother/sister relationships... my brother was my best friend growing up & still is. We never 'picked' on each other, instead we had massive blow-outs. Lol, although I never fought with my older sisters, um, I guess I did pick on them & vice versa. I could be wrong, but I think siblings help us learn about long-term relationships & today we laugh about some of the crazy things we did.

LiNaLaNi said...

interesting story ..the sand castle competition

have a good day:)

Fuzzylogic said...

This post made me smile,I don't think there can never be a sibling relationships without these interspersed meltdowns and fights.I remember once when we were at the dinner table and my brother kept poking me and I ended up throwing the bread on him and there was a food fight,he threw his and needless to say we were sent to bed without food and had to listen to an earful that night.Now I can look fondly at those memories:)The beaches and the sandcastles,childhood indeed is so sweet!

Slick said...

I'd have told the old man where he could've shoved his cane.

A little sibling rivalry isn't a bad thing as long as no blood is drawn.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Hi! Lol... they have had a show on TV this week-end about sand castle building competitions. I'm ready to build again!

Fuzzy~ Lol, food fights always end in's just a matter of time.

Slick~ True, although ocassionally blood was drawn... at least with us.

Yolanda said...

I lived in MS for 42 years of my life and I too remember the coast like it used to be. By chance is the town Biloxi?
My favorites were Ocean Springs and Bay St. Louis. I breaks my heart to think of how they look now.

Baron Ectar said...

I bet he was Moses ...