Lit­tle tacker is a shell of my for­mer self

Now it’s the grand­daugh­ter who hands over the sad spec­i­mens

Warwick Daily News - - STUFF - with Greg Bray Greg Bray blogs at greg­bray­writer.word­press.com. Find him on Face­book: Greg Bray – Writer

FThe man­gled but trea­sured shell was added to our col­lec­tion, and this month I fully ex­pect an­other batch of busted mol­luscs to join it.

OLKS, Septem­ber is tra­di­tion­ally the time of year when we Brays re­turn to the ocean, much to the hor­ror of any­one watch­ing me tear my shirt off on our an­nual dash into the brine. In sum­mer, it is far too hot to walk over the thong-sear­ing carpark bi­tu­men, then blis­ter­ing tim­ber slats through the dunes, be­fore dash­ing over the lava-like sand on the beach.

So spring is prime time swim­ming sea­son for the fam­ily von Bray. You have been warned.

Any­way, after our re­fresh­ing post-win­ter salt water wal­low, we usu­ally go for a stroll to dry out be­fore head­ing home.

For years we would wan­der, chat and watch our el­dest daugh­ter draw pat­terns on the sand with a stick, mid­dle daugh­ter chase seag­ulls and the Lit­tlest Princess col­lect sea shells and give them to me, the hu­man wheel­bar­row, to carry back to the car.

The thing is, her favourite shells were gen­er­ally the most mot­ley look­ing spec­i­mens on the sand.

So, a few years ago, when she palmed me an ab­so­lute wreck of a shell, I asked if she could pick up a nicer one to take home. There were plenty of bet­ter look­ing shells around us. Struth, even a clump of rot­ting sea­weed at my feet looked bet­ter than that shell, but she sim­ply replied, “Some­one’s got to like the bro­ken shells, Dad.”

Im­pressed, I washed the wretched shell and took it home where it is still on dis­play.

Th­ese days, for some strange rea­son, our daugh­ters pre­fer to stroll along the beach with their boyfriends, so last Septem­ber our grand­daugh­ter joined Long Suf­fer­ing Wife and I for our an­nual spring surf-side saunter.

We laughed when she started chas­ing seag­ulls just like her mum did, but the smiles on our di­als froze when she handed me a shat­tered shell that would have made her aunty proud.

The man­gled but trea­sured shell was added to our col­lec­tion, and this month I fully ex­pect an­other batch of busted mol­luscs to join it.

Still, as some­one who is wash­ing to­wards the bar­ren sand dunes on life’s shell-strewn beach, I am glad some­one likes the bro­ken shells.

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