The Ladies Page


| July/August 1968



Usually I don't favor continued stories, but in this particular instance I feel I left my readers not knowing what happened on our Texas hike 'way up the beach.'

We were up bright and early that morning, breakfasted at a restaurant that stayed open all night, and got to Boca Chica Beach before 7 A.M. It was beautiful out there, quiet and misty, and we were alone in the vast wonder of it. We stripped off our shoes and stockings to cross the first channel cut in by last fall's hurricane. I'm sure we both felt a bit of apprehension at what we were going to do.

It isn't quite the usual thing for two aging Wisconsin farmers to set out on a five mile hike that is five miles one way. Perhaps we were trying to prove we were 'still in the buggy,' as my Kansas pen pal puts it.

The beach birds were racing with the waves, adventuring out a short distance and then running back to what they considered the proper margin of safety. They also measured our approach with the same graceful retreats and returns. Tide was at low ebb right now and we only waded ankle depth as we set out on our adventure. At first it seemed to be fun to remain barefoot but there was broken glass and other signs of men having left their untidiness, so we put on our shoes again.

Novices that we were we brought no container to gather shells, and sand dollars. As we walked into the morning we filled our pockets. This wasn't satisfactory, especially for the fragile sand dollars. Alfred's shirt pocket worked, but not his pants pocket. When his shirt pocket was full he couldn't lean over or he would lose all we had gathered. So he resourcefully devised a sling of his white handkerchief and were we in business again. The shells was another matter. Before long I tied the sleeve ends of my sweater securely shut, slung it over my shoulders and began gathering to my heart's content.

Each mile I became heavier and heavier, and his shirt pocket filled up again. I had to do all the stooping while he looked at me with that amused smile which some husbands save for their wives. Some fisherman passed us with their jeeps while I secretly turned the thought over in my mind that they might ask us to ride back with them. They would have to get out too before high tide. We trudged on and on.