Friday, August 8, 2008

Why we took the girls to the sea

"Never seen no mountain. Never swam in no sea."

That line by Paul Westerburg of The Replacements (from "Within Your Reach") says a lot about growing up in the Midwest. Paul Westerburg grew up in Minneapolis. I grew up, with even less to look at, in Granite City, Illinois.

I learned to consider it a backwards kind of advantage. With Westerburg's devastating line in mind, I learned to tell people it was pretty hard to feel like you knew it all, growing up in the Midwest, because you knew there were mountains and oceans, but had never seen evidence of either.

The lack of experience was nothing to brag about, obviously, but the terrible striving it left in a person with an open mind was a blessing. That obnoxious "been there, done that" vibe of the rich brat was nothing a guy like Paul Westerburg or myself could arrive at easily. I'm still not there, and I've now been to many kinds of places and done a wide assortment of things.

I'll now move away from sentences that (ridiculously) mate a songwriting genius like Paul Westerburg and myself as a compound subject, and move onto my favorite subject: my little bitty skinny kid.

Today we rented a gazz guzzler with three rows of seats through Priceline and drove down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We were a pair of trios: two dads, two moms, two little bitty skinny kids. It was all about an adventure for the girls.

You know how it is. The kid with few advantages grows up and learns to value that terrible striving, but that's the last legacy you wants to leave for your kid. My daughter is only five, and she has seen any number of mountains and oceans. She will see many more of both before she is old enough to set forth and discover others on her own.

As for "been there, done that," her temperament seems to have ruled out that tripe, fortunately for all of us. Leyla is all about, "When can we go back to that place what I like?" That place might be Lake Michigan, Shakespeare's birthplace - or Chuck E. Cheese's.

Or Myrtle Beach. We made the most of our day there. I took the girls out into the ocean, held them up over the surging tide, pitched them into the waves as they crashed and then let them scramble a bit in the surf, until I plucked them out and into safety.

Then, of course, they built imaginary universes out of sand, and saw them all swept away, as we will all be swept away one day.

In the rented gas guzzler on the way back to Fort Bragg, Leyla said, "When will I get to go back to that beach what I like?"

Been there. Want to go back and do it again. That's my girl.

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