“Karen, I think I’d like to go to the beach today.”
“Sure thing, dad.” She shook the dishwater off her hands and dried them briskly with the hand towel. Her father stood hesitantly at the entrance to the dining room, dressed as he always was, yellowed button-down shirt, brown slacks with suspenders, and those raggedy penny loafers, so old they wouldn’t even hold pennies. He smiled his lopsided smile and held up the bath towel he’d draped over his forearm.
“You sure you’ve got the time to take me?”
“Of course I do, dad,” Karen answered sweetly, rounding the counter and taking him gently by the arm. “Now careful around the dining room table,” she urged as she led him through the dining room and out the sliding glass door.
The sun fell with gentle warmth, and she shielded her eyes with one hand as she looked up to count the contrails in the Ohio sky. Her father did not shield his eyes but merely shuffled along as he was led into the back yard, across the grass that needed mowing, and towards the sandbox. A late spring breeze carried the scent of fresh rain on asphalt and the neighbors’ flowering trees.
“Any pretty ladies in bikinis?”
“I’ll look, dad, now careful coming off the boardwalk.” She helped him clear the wooden edge of the sandbox, leading him patiently to the folding chair set up in the middle of the small, sandy space. Once he was situated she stepped out and hit the ‘Play’ button on a small CD player sitting on grass by the wall. Wave sounds and the cries of gulls sprang to tinny life.
“Ah,” the old man side, face turning upwards towards the sun, “We’ve made it to the beach. Now about those ladies?”
“There’s a dozen of them right down there on the beach, dad, all laying out tanning.”
He smiled, “Perfect day for it. Now you be prepared to hold me back if they start playing volleyball.”
“Sure thing, dad. Enjoy your day at the beach.”