Jacqueline loved her high place a top the dune. She was the only one who climbed up here, who had the whole expanse of the sea and the beach at which to gaze, the magnificent old home in the distance where she thought the senatorÂ might live.Â She knew he lived somewhere around here because her dad had told her, explaining why they had to be well behaved.
Below her, she could see her dad swing baby Ethan above his head. Her mother was holding Lillian, trying to encourage her to swim in the shallow canal that the tide had gouged in the beach. Eleanor, her older sister had already wandered off in the direction of the group playing ball.
Days at the beach were the best Jacqueline decided. The anticipation â€“ her mother frying chicken and making potato salad. The hard rolls her dad brought home from the bakery, the tub of sweet butter and the liverwurst in the ice box, the basket of fresh tomatoes, plums, peaches and cherries on the counter -- all waiting to be packed into the wicker basket the next morning.
The drive to the beach took hours, their black Oldsmobile sweltering hot inside though they opened the windows wide. Even with her eyes closed she knew when they got close to the beach. There was no mistaking the heavy smell of marsh and salt in the breeze that whipped the hair over their faces as they leaned out the windows for some cool.
Arriving finally, the four children tumbled outÂ of the automobile and hurried to the beach, eachÂ carrying something: the picnic things, the towels, and blankets, buckets and shovels. Then the others tore off their sundressesÂ or slacks and ranÂ toward the water in their bathing suits.Â Â Jacqueline too, only she didn't follow them. No she wanted the top of the dune, the experience of hurtling herself down and running without stop into the icy Atlantic, laughing with the sea birds careening overhead.
Â "Hello there, young lady."
Jacqueline spun around and her heart did a quick two step. Walking toward her with his favorite Irish Setter, Rudolf, was the senator himself.
Â "I bet you're going to fly down this dune, aren't you? I haven't done that in years. Give me a second to take off my shoes and I'll race you down."
Â© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2008
The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors."Â Her book The Scent of God Â was a "Notable" Book Sense selection for April 2006. She is a columnist for the Cook County News Herald and has been published in anthologies and periodicals nationwide. See Road Writer for her travel blog.