Birthday At The Beach, Spindrift In July

Spindrift beach cottageThe beach is a nice lawn

An ocean’s beach has the constant ambiance of a seashell’s breath. For my son’s fifth birthday, or rather the weekend after, we’ve been marinating in a hundred and two year old seaside beach house designed by A. E. Doyle.

The beach view couchIt’s a rare opportunity to enjoy the Oregon coast as a family with friends in the midst of the optimum season.

The location and birthday make it a once in a lifetime experience.

Traffic, always trafficLombard Street has a constant traffic flow

My son has spent his life going to sleep to the sound of cars, trucks, and jeeps buzzing by his window in a constant stream.

Quiet upstairs at the beach houseFor this beach weekend he’s sleeping in near silence.

I’ve heard people get use to what they hear at night, and if noisy they struggle to sleep without that noise. So far Yuri’s been so exhausted from full beach days that he sleeps just fine.

I think our own house is precious. I also remember our apartment’s rent was about to skyrocket. We made the right choice to own.

It is a community land trust home, which means it was affordable to buy and required no money down. The catch is, if we sell we are limited to a price no greater than the original plus twenty five percent of the increase, if any, of the assessed value.

Beach front trumps major road front.

A good deal for a working class family. But the traffic outside is a constant reminder that nice as the house is, location is everything. At least for this weekend, my son gets a break from the buzz of artifice.

Kites flying, boomerangs throwing, sand castle building, jellyfish poking, giant oyster eating

Grass to stairs to duneTaking off our shoes at the steps, running across the grass, down some stairs, looking left and right, cross a street, at the beach.

A sand dune is the welcome mat. Round rocks on the left circle a pile of ash.

Creek to the beachA creek spills across the sand to the right. Children play in the fresh water, making bridges with driftwood across the sand.

Yuri feels comfortable here with the waves out of reach. I tempt him closer to the salt water with talk of treasure. He is enthralled by jellyfish washed ashore mostly intact.

Jelly, Yuri's friendHe wants to grill them along with the tuna we bought down the street. I dissuade him by suggesting they can be friends. We put the gelatinous corpses in a bucket home on the porch. Full of sea water, crab shells, and broken sand dollars, it is a slushy of beach love.

Before he starts dissecting his new friends, I distract with a kite flying suggestion.

Kites are the theme for this beach trip.

Yuri grabs a simple one that shoots up as he runs along.

Zen with stunt kite at beachI pick my stunt kite.

This is the first time I’m using it in proper wind. Sunglasses would have been a bonus. With the sun in my eyes, I have to fly by feel. I really get into the zen of the moment.

My ambition gets ahead of my ability and I crash as I stretch. I surrender my attempts after a seagull flies into my line. I take it as a sign to take a break.

Catch the dragon kite's tailI brought a long tailed kite I’ve had since a kid.

With a single line it shoots straight up and boors with its high steady altitude.

But I bring it down low and introduce my son to a dragon tail catching game.

Each capture is worth a marshmallow tonight.

A gift that’s suppose to return.

My son picked up from somewhere an interest in boomerangs, and since it’s birthday at the beach I got him one.

Yuri's boomerangI throw it, trying to pay attention to all the angles I’m supposed to. It doesn’t come back. Regardless, Yuri comes running, excited in that way that makes parents pay for toys.

He listens to my instructions and throws. I don’t understand, but he almost succeeds. The boomerang circles around and nearly returns to him. The instructions passed right through me to him.

Then he starts digging in the sand with it. “Yuri, that’s not a tool! That’s only for throwing!”

Sandcastle intensely fortifidedI’m yelling at him about how to use the gift I’ve just given him, that he has already shown more talent in using. I’d like to back off and give him space, but I brought actual tools for sand digging.

I’m stuck on him needing to use the proper tool. I’m also obsessing that he doesn’t leave it where he drops it. He keeps good track of the boomerang, which reassures me, but he looses the little gardening shovel I brought for sandscaping.

Yuri be niceThe convenience of the beach so in reach day after day, it’s like a backyard for him, which is a beautiful thing.

I just need to relax and let my other world wash away.

I’ll be back there soon enough.

A giant oyster

Our last day, we stop at what would be called a restaurant if there were a menu, a waitstaff, bathroom, plates, glasses, forks, or knives. There is a picnic bench next to a boat dock, and three items available cooked or raw:

  • Clams
  • Crabs
  • Oysters

We order three crabs cooked, a dozen oysters raw, and one jumbo oyster cooked for me.

The crab is delicious. I learn to shuck oysters as they aren’t allowed to do it for us. They also are delicious, hopefully no parasites.

Oyster beerAnd finally the mighty oyster. It is like an ocean steak. I keep the shell, big enough for a beer can to fit inside.

As we dump the rest of the shells onto the rocks below per their request to feed the seagulls, they suggest some more jumbo oysters to take home.

Having had my shellfish fill for the month, I turn them down but was interested in their suggestion to grill the jumbos. They are big enough they can just be tossed on the barbecue and cooked until they pop open. Next time.

Back in Portland thinking back

MarshmellowishesBrain still at the beach. It’s dark in the basement. There are no caramelized marshmallows here. I accept but don’t understand the particular appeal fire browned spongy sugar has when on an adventure.

Old as it is, the cottage could have been a ghostly place. But it actually was a warm and comfortable base of beach time operations.Ghostly cottage

Sandworm, I'm afraidSandworms attack

Out in the sand I did get a bit of a scare. Some kind of worm thing interrupted our sandcastle building. I threw it into the ocean, and was scared out of the water a moment after when I saw others seeming to swim towards me.

I would discount them as harmless except I saw a pair of them burrowing into the head of a shrimp, like tentacles replacing claws.

Through the driftwood windowLooking through a driftwood window

My son enjoyed himself immensely. I’m satisfied with my parenting. If he grows up to be a terrible person I can think back to this weekend with confidence that it is not my fault.

Thank you Mary Frances Isom!
Spindrift plaque

My son got to have his special day in this special place.

I hope we can come back next year, any week will do.

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