Surfin’ USA

Here’s a story I wrote a few years ago that was published in the MB Herald. It’s also in my book, Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim, which will be available this fall.

Oswald West by Paul HamiltonFred and I sat contented on the beach and listened to the surf. We gazed at the ships on the horizon and watched kids and dogs—and surfers riding the waves.

“Doesn’t that make you want to get a board and go surfing?” he asked.

Neither of us had surfed before. When we were first married over thirty years ago, we used to scuba dive, so I know how much work it is to get into and out of a wetsuit. Then I considered the energy it would take to paddle through the surf, energy I wanted to save for cycling.

We had come to Oregon to cycle 250 miles of the coast with my siblings. A month before our vacation, both of us caught colds that dragged on for weeks and put us behind in our training. I was concerned that we might not have the stamina for it. Fred still had the occasional cough.

All this whooshed through my mind in less than ten seconds before I spit out a solitary “No” to his question. Fred said no more about it.

A few days later, we were on the beach again. We leaned against driftwood, and watched the surfers. Fred said, “You know, you can rent a wetsuit and surfboard for twenty-four hours for only forty dollars.” Then it hit me. Whenever Fred asks me if I’d like to do something, like he did a few days earlier, he really means he’d like to do it.

We checked out the surf shop in Manzanita with the advertised deal. They had plenty of boards and a suit in his size. On our bike ride back to the campground, I made one final appeal. “At least talk to somebody who knows what they’re doing and find out what you’re in for.” Once again Fred was silent.

The next day was sunny and hot. I biked to Oswald West State Park while Fred drove to the surf shop. We agreed to meet at the parking lot that led to Falcon Beach, a Mecca for surfers.

Half way up a long hill, when my calves were begging me to get off and walk, our black Mazda passed by with a surfboard lashed to the roof. Fred waved through the open sunroof window.

From the parking lot, we carried the surfboard down the kilometre long trail to the beach. “It’s heavier than I thought it would be,” he said, and we put it down periodically to catch our breath.

Surfer Fred croppedOn the beach I huddled in the shade while Fred put on the wet suit, complete with mitts and a hood. He posed for some photos; then off he went. But he was back again ten minutes later. “The current’s taking me too far south,” he said. “I’m going farther up the beach.”

I watched him paddle out, duck the waves, and paddle some more. At one point I lost track of him. When I caught sight of him again, he was standing up. I threw my arms in the air and as soon as I let out a “Woo-hoo!” I realized it wasn’t Fred at all but another man with the same color surfboard.

Precisely one hour after he started, Fred announced, “I’m done,” and plopped down on the sand.

The next morning at breakfast, Fred said, “I still can’t believe I went surfing.”

I wondered if lying on and falling off a surfboard a number of times qualified as surfing, but I kept that thought to myself. “I’m just glad you didn’t injure yourself,” I said.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you. Some guy saw the surfboard on our car and asked me how the surfing was. I told him I didn’t know. It was the first time I ever tried it. ‘Oh, then,’ the man says. ‘The correct answer is: It was the best day surfing I ever had in my life.’”

And I could see by the smile on Fred’s face that it was.

the loving couple and Harry

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
— Psalm 118:24 (NRSV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love by Dustin Gaffke

 Love Mischief for the World

Fred and our grandson watched “The Story of Stuff” together.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

One more thing: I will be speaking at a women’s retreat in Nanaimo, B.C.
September 11-13. Details on “Events” page.

Credits and references:
“Oswald West” photos by Paul Hamilton. Used with permission.
“Surfer Fred” by Esther Hizsa.
Photo of Fred and me (and my goofy brother Harry) on our Oregon bike trip by Ron Frehner. Used with permission.
“Love” by Dustin Gaffke. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2015.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Humour, Stories, Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Surfin’ USA

  1. lianeinaugust says:

    Loved this, Esther! So happy to hear you will soon be published! Maybe when I get home I’ll get a copy!

    Blessings as they fly off the shelves! Liane On Aug 7, 2015 4:05 PM, “An Everyday Pilgrim” wrote:

    > Esther Hizsa posted: “Here’s a story I wrote a while ago that > was published in the MB Herald. It’s also in my book, Stories of an > Everyday Pilgrim, which will be available this fall. Fred and I sat > contented on the beach and listened to the surf. We gazed at the ships on > th”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave Small says:

    Great story Esther. I sympathize with Fred. Surfing is a lot of work. I should clarify: I’m not sure if surfing is a lot of work because I never got that far — but trying to surf quite is demanding.

    Liked by 1 person

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