By Michael Danese
“Outta my way, vermin!” Silas yelled playfully.A small group of seagulls made a path for him to pass.
He was in his element, walking on the beach in the wee hours of the morning.The Sun will be up soon and he has a full head of stream.
Silas Tweed’s legs kept pumping.He has tread on this beach for almost all of his 62 years.He is about six feet tall, and in his younger days he was a bit of a jock, you know, high school football, swimming, and then tennis at the local club.For the past several years he has gotten a bit soft, and these “power walks” are his way of getting back into shape.But, the reality is, he just plain likes it!
Silas has had a life-long love affair with the beach, relishing every aspect of it; the waves, the sand, the shells, the crowded beaches, the dolphins, even the noisy, elbow to elbow boardwalk, with the constant smell of cotton candy, French fries and pizza, and it’s symphony of crying babies, screams from roller coasters, and the clanking of the kiddie rides.Yes, he loves it all, except, perhaps for the seagulls.But, who really likes seagulls?Do you?I didn’t think so.
Ever since he was a toddler his parents, and his grandparents for that matter, took him to this little town on the coast.It is several miles south of the big resort town, which his family avoided like the plague.His town is almost a secret – mostly residential, with a minimum of motels and hotels.They always rented the same house, two blocks off of the beach, three bedrooms, one bath, an outside shower, and a cozy front porch.Silas looked forward to this two-week escape from reality all year long. While sitting in school, opening Christmas presents, even while raking leaves, his head was at the beach.
As a child he spent countless hours at the beach chasing and shooing the seagulls away.It was a bit of a hobby, a lifelong mission, you might say.
As he grew older and had a family of his own, the tradition continued.The last two weeks of July was always beach time for him, his wife Kera, his daughter, Gertie, and son, Jaxon.As the kids grew older, beach time always included a friend for each, and then soon it was boyfriends, girlfriends, and then eventually spouses and grandchildren.Gertie and her husband Tom have a son, who they named Silas.Jaxon and his wife Jo have twin girls, Ali and Gwen.
Silas loved having the whole clan at the beach.And now he has his own modest house there.It’s a little small, and a bit farther from the beach, but it is his, and they go there as much as they can.He also seemed to pass down the tradition of chasing the gulls, at least to the grandkids.The whole gull vs. Silas thing has always been somewhat of a family amusement.In fact, this past year on Father’s Day, the grandchildren got him a new beach hat with fake seagull poop on it, and it said “Damn Seagulls!” on the front.He loved it and wore it proudly, to the hilarity of the toddlers.
Silas was also a magnet for lost children on the beach.He could spot a kid that’s been separated from a parent at 500 feet. Gertie and Jaxon have retold the stories many times over about Silas finding a child, sometimes as young as two, approaching them carefully, easing their hysterics, then taking them by the hand to find the parents, who many times didn’t even know that their child was lost.Parents who don’t watch their kids on the beach have always been a pet peeve of his.Now, that feeling wasn’t as strong as his disdain for seagulls, but pretty close.
On that Father’s Day weekend he again spotted a poor crying child, a little Asian girl, probably about three years old.It turned out that the “Damn Seagulls” hat amused her right away, and she began to smile.He reunited her with her non-attention-paying mother in record time.
Silas retired two years ago, and since then Kira and Silas have spent a lot of time at the beach house.They’ve managed to stretch the season from early April through October.She enjoys the time by reading, shopping and scrapbooking.He is happy to fish and stroll the beach.
YOU ARE READING
Silas Tweed loves everything about the beach, except perhaps the seagulls. He has a life-changing event when he decides to ride out a hurricane in the evacuated town.