My FAVORITE QUOTE: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Anonymous
When the boys were much younger we used to take them to Royal Palms in San Pedro, CA; affectionately referred to as “the Rocky Beach.” It is a beach located at the bottom of a paved road, but it is not your typical sandy beach. The south side of Royal Palms has tide pools, a small beach area and a small sand bar. On the North side of the beach there is a large concrete slab at the foothills where a few old weather worn concrete picnic tables sit in a strategic row with a few fire pits here and there. The area was once lined with palm trees of which several are no longer there. The area now is pretty worn and unkept, with a few palms, but it is still a big draw due to it’s proximity to the ocean. It is a very relaxing place to hang out, take a walk or explore. Occasionally the waves get pretty nice and surfers could be seen sitting out in the ocean waiting for that perfect ride. There are seagulls and pigeons a plenty, and occasionally one can see dolphins, whales, seals, sailboats, barges and an occasional cruise ship off in the distance.
I do, however, have very fond memories of hanging out at Royal Palms with my dad and brothers on the weekends as kids. We would search the tide pools for starfish, anenomies, crabs, abalone and hermit crabs. We were never allowed to bother the ocean life or take any living creature home – only an occasional rock or shell. We would walk along the rocks and talk or just sit and watch and listen to the ocean. My dad would drop pearls of wisdom on me like: “Life is not fair, get used to it” and “Rules were made to be broken.” Much of what he shared didn’t make sense until I was much older…especially about breaking the rules. 🤔 My dad was a rebel indeed. I remember asking him why he wouldn’t let us take a starfish or crab home. I could hear his words in my head: he said “Mija (daughter in Spanish) if everyone took one of these creatures home there wouldn’t be any left for your kids to see, and besides they would die in a couple of days because they would be out of their element.” Those were special moments with my dad, memories burned in my head and my heart. He sure was right! The tide pools and rocks have been stripped bare; raped by people wanting to take a bit of the ocean home with them. Now a days, it is a rare sight to see a starfish on the rocks at the tide pools. My dad was right. It’s so sad.😔
My dad and us kids. Brothers Rick (me) and Bob.
ANYWAY, Tuesday morning we got Shorty ready and loaded the fridge up with links, hot dogs and brauts to grill along with the fixin’s, some fruit, chips, guacamole, salsa, corn on the cob and some cucumber spears. We picked up the boys and headed out to Royal Palms, AKA “the Rocky Beach.” We arrived and leveled Shorty and settled in on the North side of the beach. The boys each got comfortable one in the bed in the back and the other hopped on the overhead bed each with their phones in hand and began playing a game.
Craig and I looked at each other and took a walk. “This is not why we are here” I said to Craig. I wanted to spend time and talk with them, but didn’t want to force it. When we returned from our walk one of the boys looked at us and said “let’s take a walk.” My heart lept with joy! So we locked Shorty up and began walking on the North side toward the palm trees.
The boys found a trail on the hill to explore.
The four of us walked across the rocks and the boys went closer to the ocean near a little tide pool looking for hermit crabs and other sea life.
I enjoyed watching them enjoy the ocean; it reminded me of when they were little – 8 year olds – searching the rocks for ocean life. Even though I was happy watching them, I was also saddened because they were robbed of the beauty and ocean life I was able to experience as a child. The only way they will get to experience and see a tide pool the way I did as a child, would be at an aquarium.😔
Craig stayed a little closer and snapped pictures of them as they searched the tide pools. I gave them space because, well, sometimes boys just want to talk to a man, so I kept my distance and snapped pix of the three of them.
We mosied on the rocks even further. The boys moved from one tide pool to another. I just watched them.
It started getting windy and colder so Craig went back to hang out with Shorty. I continued watching the boys for a bit and then closed my eyes and listened to the waves reminiscing about my time here as a child with my dad.
I decided to take a seat and look for shells. I didn’t see many so I decided to stack some stones and make some rock art.
The boys saw me building my masterpiece and decided to join me. Mine was complete so I helped them search for flat rocks of all sizes for their three pillar work of art.
Their rock castle had three towers complete with a little flag and some shell decorations.
Remil built another single rock tower. We left behind a total of five rock towers for future visitors to enjoy.
In the dry dirt and salty sea spray a little succulent has taken up residence and even bloomed little pink flowers. Like I always say, nature will find away.
Craig was reading when we returned. Shortly after we settled back in Craig said he was hungry; the boys chimed in that they were hungry too. Craig set the grill up and we grilled some dogs, buns and corn on the cob.
We sat in the comfort and warmth of our RV and enjoyed our meal together. We chit-chatted and laughed.
While we were grilling our food a wedding party arrived and had begun to set up for a reception down the way by the palms. A bride, groom, photographer and family members were talking and laughing heading toward the picnic tables at the north end by the palm trees. They had a 6-foot sandwich, some chicken and some coolers. Toward the end of our meal we could hear and see them leaving as they walked past us and Shorty. We could tell they had been drinking because they were loud and arguing. Seriously, some people just should NOT drink, anywhere. Ever. Anyway they all left without incident.
After we finished our meal, put the food away, and cleaned the kitchen we played our favorite card game, Phase 10. The boys had never played it, but were willing to learn. With the cellular devices down, we played cards. It was some real good, organic quality time. We laugh, teased and laughed some more. During the game one of the boys spied some fins in the ocean off in the distance. We were not sure if they were dolphins or whales; but there was definitely a pod of something out there…. we are inclined to think that they were dolphins. Occasionally we’d see a few fins rising and falling in the ocean every now and again while we played cards. It was a cool sight but they were too far to get a good pic. And, unfortunately, it was overcast so we didn’t get to see the sun set either. Well, as the game progressed I asked the boys if they would be interested in joining their grandparents on a camping trip for a couple of days. I didn’t get a clear response, so we kept playing. Well, we had to cut the game short because the beach was due to close at 8:30 p.m. and it was already 8:15. We packed up, secured everything and off we went. One of the boys suggested we stop for ice cream or smoothies on the way home; we stopped at Yogurtland.
As we said our goodbyes with hugs and kisses, they asked, “So when are we going camping?” I told them that I would look at a couple of lakes where they could fish and get back with them. They like to fish.
On the ride home I reflected on our day. It was a GOOD day with our boys and shorty; we made some memories and I had some moments that took my breath away… isn’t that what life is all about? 🥰