My sister and I were raised by a rabid surfing gang referred to by its members as Team Squeam. Our parents were the only ones in this group of free spirited hippy surfers, to have children. Since there were only the two of us; it was easy to hand us down cliffside or piggyback us up to the lookouts over rough terrain.
We went everywhere the team went (after all we were members from birth,) always under the watchful eye of our mom.
Our god parents; T and A were the go-to adults for an extra set of hands to hold when we were out camping or horsing around. There was a lot of horsing around.
My dad taught us from an early age the proper procedure when going see Todd and Alison was to jump up and down yelling loudly;”Yahh we are get to see T and A!!!”
I was well into middle school before I realized that the phrase “T and A” normally referred to something other than our god parents. It better explained the grin on my dad’s face when my sister and I would loudly proclaim our excitement, especially in public.
The team camped down in Big Sur every couple months; taking over the group campsite with all sorts of shenanigans, surfing, spear fishing, hang gliding and more than once- ladder burning.
Todd and Alison were among the charter members of the team and always played a big role in our adventures. Todd, in his patented bright red “camo-shirt.” Alison in purple and me running after them.
As you can probably imagine, things were never dull.
After scattering my dad on top of Big Basin we decided to balance things elevation wise, with a sea scatter as well. Our only delima was how to do it in as odd a way possible. I suggested a daddy mud pie made with REAL daddy. Always willing to participate in strange adventures- T and A came along for the ride.
According to my late father; all trips north of town must start with a stop at the Swanton Berry Farm, off HWY 1.
We bought coffee (the “best” according to a certain someone,) scones (the best according to me) and fresh berries. We made sure to be as embarrassing as possible.
Like all team activities, we timed our arrival with the low tide and found a secluded part of beach for our sandcastle. We began as all good nonsense should, with coffee and booze. In equal measure.
Next, we added some dead guy to make our castle foundation. My mom and I had recently given each other hair cuts and we added some of Sara’s locks (from her first ever hair cut) to the mix.
I bet you will never guess which hairs are hers.
We added our bits and his bits to the base.
One more family sand castle.
We took turns scouring the beach for decorations.
The beach did not disappoint.
With each trip the walls grew higher and the moat deeper.
Things came together nicely. As long as you like your sandcastles eclectic and random… and we do.
We told tales of silliness and foolish exploration on the California coast. I insisted we all set our handprints at the base. All of us sharing sand one last time.
With the tide on the rise; we left.
Letting him have these last moments alone, with the ocean he loved so dear. I even left the rest of the scone and some berries while he waited for the water to take him on his next ride.
We were duty bound to have lunch at Duarte’s in Pescedero, another place my dad claimed you “had to stop” or you were “not doing it right.” We did, because it really is some of the best food around.
Good food, good company and good memories of times gone by made it a day to remember and be grateful for.
My mom and I took our leave of T and A. Continuing our journey, we headed inland from Pescadero along the backroad where my dad took my mom on their first date.
I had made a “Handy Dandy Dennis Dispenser” out of an unused oil can I found in my dad’s affects.
It was the perfect way to scatter him, at speed, as we wound through the backroad hills and valleys.
Up to Skyline.
Then back to the little mountain town where my parents chose to raise us all those years ago. A choice that made me who I am today.
I miss my dad but I am forever indebted to him and my mom for having the courage to raise us in a tribe of surfers, artist and otherwise wacky people. It was a decision that gave me my extended family of wing nuts. People who have helped me through every one of my life’s transitions.
Including this one.
As we all move forward into a future devoid of Dennis Gobets there are many places to find one last day of epic perfection.
Time to seek them out!