Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The gift

We have a basket of shells on our bookshelf that we've had for over twenty years. I remember the day we found these shells as if it were yesterday.

Usually, when we go to the beach, we'll find a few decent shells. Most of them are as small as thimbles. Every now and again, we found ones that were a little bigger.

Our friends Kaye and Ron had just bought a new house at Blue Mountain Beach, near Seaside, Florida. We'd gone down a few days after Christmas that year with plans of bringing in the New Year on the beach. On New Year's Eve, a storm came in from the south. Lightning jabbed at the empty beach. The lights in their new house flickered like candles. Thunder rattled the champagne glasses on the table.

Sometime after midnight, the storm moved off to the north leaving a sky full of diamonds.

The next morning, it was warm for January. I wore a thin sweater with shorts. When we started walking, I saw a shell in the surf and scrambled to get it between waves. Then I saw another one a little deeper. Rolling my shorts up even higher, I waded in after the shell. Jilda squealed and snagged another one. Soon all four of us were picking up more shells than we could carry.

Kaye, who was an experienced beachcomber, had thought to put a net bag in her pocket. We found more shells that morning than we've ever found before.

Through the years, we've given some of the bigger shells to friends and family but we still have baskets.

The shells remind us of the gift that day gave us.


  1. As a kid I had a shell collection, mostly shells my grandparents brought from Florida. Occasionally I might find an interesting shell, but our beaches have mostly clam shells and broken bits of who knows. I did visit a Florida beach on the gulf once and shell finding of all sorts was amazing.

  2. And what a precious gift it was.

  3. Anonymous2:21 AM

    I have a container of shells, too, (from when we used to own a beach house) but they're much smaller!!

  4. The shells are beautiful and how nice to have such good memories. I've never seen such colorful ones.

  5. My favorite familiar objects are those which have memories attached to them.

  6. Not just a basket of shells but a basket of memories. I have a jar of sand dollars we have found on the beach. Your shells are beautiful!

  7. The colorful shells are exquisite.


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