Promises to a small child

A child hold my hand and searches for the biggest wave
We stop at the entrance to the beach, a couple miles south of Salvo on Highway 12, where the sign says four-wheel drive recommended, lower tire pressure to 20 pounds or less. I pull the shift into 4WD-Lo and head out for the Jeep’s first time on a beach.

We assemble the fishing rods and tackle, and wind line onto the new reel. But the tide is wrong and the current too strong and I didn’t buy enough bobbers for two rigs so I leave my friend to practice casting for a bit and trade my fishing for swimming.

“I’m scared,” said the little girl holding my hand, no whining, just a statement of fact.

“You won’t let me drown?” One of those declarative queries that makes you actually think of the possibility something will happen and you’ll not keep your promise, and you squeeze the tiny hand just a little firmer.

A big wave breaks, and the rushing foam lifts her, then sets her back on the sandy bottom.

“It picked me up,” she said.

“That was fun,” she said, turning to face the incoming waves, looking for the next big one.

“I want to do it again.”

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