Beach Reads

An avid reader will find any and all places to indulge. I am seldom without a book of some type. It can be light and fun summer reading such as the kind you would take to the beach, or it can be a weighty tome for times when you are off by yourself at home. For vacations, I tend to opt for lighter fare that doesn’t mind a few distractions nearby. When you are basking in the sun and enjoying the warmth of the sand at the beach, it is a great time to pick up that book you have been neglecting. No matter the screaming kids nearby. And then there is the crushingly glorious sound of crashing waves. People are scurrying about trying to get some shade and are putting up their beach umbrellas for protection.

Given that reading is not ideal with too much sun glare, I also want my own umbrella to sit under to enjoy my book in the shade. I look around and see many kinds large and small. Some are metal in construction and some basic wood. I don’t care. I want it to be easy to erect and just as easy to take down. It can’t be too heavy as I have to tote it along with my ice chest and towel. I don’t want to risk twisting my wrist in the process. They now make lightweight umbrellas if you don’t mind not having a vast amount of shade. They are big enough to cover your limbs and maybe your lunch.

I saw a mother struggling with an umbrella while two unruly kids sat by watching intently. Each child wanted to grab another end of the thing and they kept pulling it apart. There was a lot of squawking going on. Each child has his own agenda. The mother was practically in tears. The kids were being exposed to the sun and kept bemoaning the fact that they had no sunscreen. I saw no progress being made. I was sure that the umbrella wasn’t sturdy enough to withstand this onslaught and sure enough it came apart. I heard a loud disconcerting rip. Then the kids tried to poke the fabric back in place. They bent the wire spokes into all kinds of uncompromising directions. This umbrella was not long for this world.

Not long after this scene, the lifeguard came to the rescue. He seemed to appear out of nowhere. But he brandished a large yellow umbrella that he placed strategically over the mother with one deft movement of his left hand. Where did it come from? Inside his little hut? No matter. The problem was solved. The kids scrambled to get under and it was just big enough to accommodate them. The mother started to open the sacks of lunch she had brought and placed sandwiches on the towel beneath the umbrella. Thermoses of lemonade were next. She offered me a glass, knowing I had patiently witnessed this trying scene. As for me, I was firmly ensconced under my umbrella, happy as a clam.