Tag Archives: water

A beach stroll some years ago…

One of the perks of visiting my former dentist was that I got to take a walk on the nearby beach afterwards if so inclined, which somehow seemed to be every single time I had an appointment.

Thus, parking the car and walking across the road past the dune grass protecting the beach, I see the fog rolling over the hills above the city in the distance as it likes to do. Rather polite, not intruding on the East Bay today. Taking off my sandals as I reach the beach, I walk down to the water’s edge. The small rhythmic sloshing waves make for a lullaby sound. On my left several seagulls are napping on the sand, occasionally opening an eye to make sure my distance to their resting position is adequate. A few deem it necessary to increase that distance by flying up and landing a few feet further away. Just to make sure I suppose, perhaps having been privy to the occasional unwelcome encounter or being chased.

The morning sun is coming out now on this side of the bay. Very few people are out and about this morning as it is a weekday. A sandpiper hastens it’s walk as I draw near, the tiny thin legs almost a blur. The smell of sand and the salty bay are a delight to the senses. My toes and feet are happy too, unencumbered by footwear.

As I turn around to walk back I see the rhythmic waves permeated by sunlight as they roll gently onto the shore. It is mesmerizing translucent light. I stop to watch. It reminds me of the time I was on an island off the coast of Venezuela, where my son Patrick and I walked on pure white sand and saw thousands upon thousand of seashells with a turquoise equatorial sea as the backdrop.

As if on cue, a brown pelican approaches, gliding effortlessly about a foot above the water right past me to snap me back to reality. What a humorous creation. God had fun with that one, although the fish may have a different opinion on that.




I’m in Old Oakland at the Farmers Market. Several fruit stands already have cherries — quite to my surprise at this time of year. It’s always fun to stroll through this lively atmosphere. I take a small detour from the market, to find some lunch, and stop at a place that advertises Cajun and Southern food. I’m not one for spicy food, but I find an item on the menu posted in the window, that looks very appetizing: “Shrimp & Grits”. My friend Patrick once told me that this is a Southern specialty, and I have always been curious to taste it. Although it is a bit windy, I decide on the lone outside table, after glancing over at a very loud TV inside the restaurant. The proprietor seems a bit grouchy, but I opt to stay anyway, and order the specialty. Asking for some water, I am pointed to a cooler that has water bottles in it. Interestingly enough, they are old milk bottles with re-closable tops from Normandy that now serve as water bottles. Its fun to decipher the old label with my rudimentary French. I’m guessing the bottles from this family farm are at least 50 years old. The chef/proprietor brings me my bowl — it seems this is a one-man operation. I ask him for some napkins and am asked: “You gonna spill it”? Must take me for a messy eater. He goes inside and reappears with a batch of napkins, most of which I return unused later on. A sign on the sidewalk advertises that this establishment was voted “Best of” by a magazine in 2012. Let’s see, I’m guessing perhaps for the food, most likely not for the hospitality. The food is indeed very good: shrimp and grits, with bacon bits, green onions, surrounded by gravy.

I had paid a visit to a street vendor before lunch contemplating a purchase, and now return after my “Shrimp & Grits”, getting some change by buying a bag of fresh almonds from a nut seller. As the item from the street vendor in question will be a present for one of my sons — who I think read this blog once in a while — I have to keep it a secret as to what it is. A hint: it is of a culinary nature, as I taught both of them to cook. The vendor jokes with me, that the item in question is free, but that I have to pay for the plastic bag. The most expensive plastic bag I have ever seen! I pet his friendly dog, as we complete our transaction.

At the other end of the market, I buy some blue cornflowers — summer is on its way — they whisper.

Thank you for our daily bread, in the form of “Shrimp & Grits” today.