I woke up at dawn, lifted the shade and the view of the beach was simply captivating. I sensed it would be a gorgeous summer day. I went for a walk on the beach. The sound of the ocean reminded me of a classic symphony. The breeze caressing my face was comforting, reminding me of when my Grandma used to brush her fingers over my forehead, telling me how much she loved me. The beautiful sunrise and the charming memories converged into a lovely time that morning.
Delightful thoughts swirled in my mind while walking on the white-sanded beach of Destin, Florida. My eyes were fixed on the tracks and prints in the sand. They reminded me of ancient hieroglyphics. I wondered if I could decipher any secret message.
Imagination has wings! I mused.
Suddenly, I observed odd prints on the sand. As I followed the prints, I found out I was not alone, and I wasn’t the only one looking down on the sand. Pigeons were walking and pecking crumbs, pleased with their findings.
A playful thought flickered in my mind. What if I found something valuable in the sand?
Silly me! I shook my head, and grinned. Yet the thought brought memories of my grandfather Ulises, or Papa, as I call him. I recalled my walks with Papa when I was a little girl. Back then, I noticed he usually walked with his gaze fixed on the ground.
“Papa, why do you always look to the ground when we are walking?” I eagerly asked. Papa glanced at me. My eyes were widely open, wondering whether he was amazed at how observer a nine-year old was, or if he was rather annoyed at my scrutinizing question.
Papa raised his eyebrows and his words candidly came out with an unexpected answer.
“People always walk looking up and they miss valuable things that may be on the ground, like money or jewelry.” Papa smiled. “Some day I may find something that is worth a lot of money—a treasure.”
“Oh!” I’d never thought of hunting for valuable objects on the neighborhood streets, or in the grass at the park.
“Have you ever found something like that?” My curiosity had sparked now.
“Of course.” Papa’s voice had a tone of pride. “One day I found money, a few bills folded. Another day I found a piece of necklace with a pearl, it was a fine pearl.”
“Really?” My amazement was evident. “I’m going to do the same!” I exclaimed, grinning.
Who knows, I might be luckier than Papa and find even more valuable objects, I thought.
But weeks later I found out I wasn’t as lucky as Papa in my treasure hunt. A shinny object on the ground, turned out to be just a piece of broken glass. A small cardboard box left on the football field turned out to be simply trash.
I gave up on my treasure hunt—I didn’t want to continue looking down to the ground. Instead, I indulged in watching the kites waving on the sky during the summer, or contemplating the majestic mountains surrounding my hometown.
I walked with Papa a year ago. He now walked with a slow pace and listless gait. He still looked down while walking—or that’s what I thought. But after a keen observation, I realized that his interest was no longer in the treasure hunt from my childhood.
His thoughts and motivation were elsewhere.
They were on fond memories of Grandma, children, and grandchildren. He enjoyed talking about Grandma, and our fun family times. Twenty years have passed since Grandma met the Lord. Papa reminisced about her with enthusiasm and darling love.
Papa and I found a treasure together. Our treasured memories of Grandma.
That early morning on the beach I felt blessed with heartfelt memories of my grandparents. Upon my return to the hotel where my family and I stayed on our vacation, I reached my cell phone and dialed Papa’s phone number...
“Oh, hi sweetie. What are you doing up so early?”
“Papa, it just so happened I was thinking of you...”