Once Upon a Time by the Sea

There was a time in the dim dark ages of long ago, when a bevy of ravishingly beautiful damsels of a certain age found themselves desirous of making a journey to the sea.  They were to be accompanied by one very fortunate, albeit somewhat roguish gentleman, stalwart and clever. This gentleman would come to be known as the Games-Meister, due to the large bag of tricks he carried wherever he went.

It was planned that our ravishing damsels would travel to the sea by means of a grand chariot emblazoned with the colors of the mighty Oaks of Willamette. Three attendants were appointed to see to their every need: Dame Claudia, keeper of the sacred clipboard and guardian of the goodies; Mistress Chandra, keeper of the elfin clone, her daughter Liv, who stood ready to relieve Mistress Chandra should she be unable to perform her duties; and Mistress Janet, keeper of good cheer and leader of exercises…lots of exercises…lots and lots of exercises.

On the appointed day and at the appointed time (well, only an hour or so late), facing unknown dangers,  our brave travelers set out for the sea. All went well for the first few miles until a voice rang out, “I forgot my jammies.”  A few miles farther on another voice was raised, “I forgot my blankie.”  Next it was “I forgot my teddy bear.”  The last voice heard was the Games-Meister crying out, “I forgot my deck of cards.”

This was the last straw and the damsels began demanding that the chariot turn back. Dame Claudia and her assistants read the rune stones, checked their timepieces and noted the position of the sun, then decreed that the trip continue. Any missing items could either be replaced at the sea-side or done without for a few days.

Some grumbling was heard but the ravishing damsels settled down again, until the next round of complaints. “I need a restroom.” “I do, too.” Then there began a general clamor for a comfort stop. This brought about a hue and cry from the rest of the damsels, everyone suddenly in distress and needing immediate relief. Another quick confabulation was held. By now the chariot was nearing its destination so  the damsels were urged to grit their teeth, cross their knees and hang on for a few minutes longer.

And suddenly, there it was! A golden ray of sunshine (the only one seen that entire week) struck just as the chariot rounded the last curve on the route. There stood an enchanted castle by the sea, shining in splendor, blue water sparkling behind it!

Squealing with delight, the damsels poured off the chariot, casting shoes, stockings, canes and walkers to left and right as they flew across the sands to the shore. They were met by a huge wave that rolled in at just that moment and crashed over their heads, dampening their enthusiasm no end, not to mention several other areas of their make-up.

Their elaborate hairdos dripping with salt water and sand, our damsels were dismayed but not deterred. They frolicked in the ice cold  water for a few brief moments before realizing the sea was more fun to look at than to play in. A half-hearted attempt at erecting a sand castle to resemble their enchanted castle was begun, but the damsels were too cold and uncomfortable in their sandy clothes, with their sandy hair. They were only too happy to abandon their project for hot showers and hot drinks. The sea wasn’t that much fun after all.

A sumptuous luncheon and long naps filled their afternoon, followed by a quick look out at the sea, to make sure it was still there, which it was. Then some time was spent wondering what to do next.

Dame Claudia suggested a discussion on the creation of the sand dunes lining the sea shore. Mistress Chandra and her elfin clone, Liv, suggested dune buggy rides. Mistress Janet suggested a brisk hike up and down the dunes…each and every dune.

The Games-Meister won the day when he opened his bag of tricks and began pulling out box after box of games, marbles, dice and the deck of cards he had thought was missing. The ravishing damsels played games enthusiastically for hours, stopping only for a very happy Happy Hour and another sumptuous feast.

From time to time one of them would run over to check the view in case anything had changed, which it hadn’t. The sea, for all its motion, manages to stay pretty much in one place. Sleep that night was deep and undisturbed, lulled as everyone was by the sounds of the sea.

The rest of their stay passed in the same fashion; eating, napping, playing games, with an occasional glance out over the sands.  No one ventured back into the waves, although their three attendants kept urging new adventures on them. Our damsels were content to remain warm and dry, enjoying the games.

Various comments were heard from the damsels as they headed home. All were agreed, they loved the enchanted castle, happy that it had been totally…well, enchanting. And they loved the feasting most of all, crying “Imagine  pecan pie in this wild and distant place.” Happy Hour had been quite popular too.

As for the sea, comments were varied: “It’s so big!” “I thought it was bigger!” “It’s so noisy,” “It moves so much,” “It’s so cold and sandy,” “It tastes like salt,” “I didn’t even get a tan.”  And one last comment, “It’s so…so…so…WET!”

Several of the damsels wondered privately if the IDEA of being at the sea wasn’t more exciting than actually being there. Dreaming of the sea from the comforts of home might have been the real pleasure. Still, when the plan of a trip to the sea was next offered, our ravishing damsels rushed to repeat their adventure. And so they lived happily ever after, once again dreaming of their next trip to the sea. Maybe they’d be able to get a tan.

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