Rufus’ nephew Will, who lives in land-locked Calgary, Alberta, and has never seen the ocean, saw a TV show last week about San Francisco. He was just amazed that not only did his uncle and aunt live there, but that we could go and pick up shells on the beach whenever we wanted to. The fact is, we never do this (although I do pick up shells when visiting my brother & sister in Mendocino, or when I’m in Maine), but thought we’d go to the beach this weekend and see what we could find for Will.

Fortunately, it was sunny, so we walked down to Aquatic Park and looked on the beach. If Will wanted to start a collection of pieces of styrofoam or cigarette butts, this would be the place to start. Although I do go there fairly often to sit and watch the waves, I hadn’t really examined exactly what was on the beach, and I am amazed that parents let their kids run around on it barefoot. Ick. Also am even more amazed by the intrepid members of the Polar Bear Club, who not only brave the temperature of the chilly Bay year round, but also whatever happens to be floating in it.

We did find a couple of shells, but we ended up cheating by buying a couple more (authentically chipped) at one of the stores in the nearby Cannery (former fish cannery now a shopping mall). It’s kind of fun to play tourist in your own town. I don’t think we’ll tell Will we cheated, though — he’s too young to have his illusions shattered just yet.