If you have been following my column, you have heard me speak of “Sillyville.” The quaint little town inside my head is the crossroad between The Villages and The Twilight Zone. A place where things are oddly perfect, like in an “Alice in Wonderland” kind of way.
Today, Joe and I are at the beach with our grandson, Jeremy. As usual, he’s fussing that he has no one to play with, not counting his grandfather and me, who have been trying our best to occupy his time. He wants a friend. Another child to play with. Just then, a young couple with two boys Jeremy’s age walked over toward us. They set up their stuff in the sand adjacent to where we were.
Immediately, Jeremy wanted to go over and introduce himself and asked if they wanted to play. I was a bit hesitant. They hadn’t even sat down yet, and he was already preparing to invade their space. Unfortunately, before I could even say, “Give them a minute,” he had already grabbed his bucket of sand toys and ran over toward them. “Do you want to play with me?” He asked the older boy as his mother sprayed him and his brother with sunscreen.
My child has no boundaries whatsoever. His primary mission in life is to make new friends and have fun. He’s the only child, and he’s living with Grandma and Grandpa. Enough said.
So, at first, it appeared like they were ignoring him. No one replied or made eye contact until Jeremy literally dumped his oversized tub of toys right in front of them and started to dig. As soon as he did, the older boy looked up at his mother and asked, “Podemos jugar?” (Can we play? In Spanish)
She answered, “Si’, por supuesto.” (Yes. Of course.)
That was that between the kids. They seemed to connect immediately, and although Jonah and Jacob seemed really quiet the entire playdate, Jeremy didn’t seem to mind. He talked enough for everybody.
It turned out such a peaceful day. Jeremy and his “tourists” for the day had a blast. They collected hundreds of sand crabs, built a castle that put Cinderella’s to shame, and swam at least 5 miles. They even managed to persuade the boys’ parents into buying a colossal turtle raft from the gift shop so that they could all play on it. Because somehow, our three rafts, two noodles, and a boogie board weren’t nearly enough.
Joe and I had a great time too. We got to float around holding hands on our rafts. We strolled down the beach alone. We sat quietly for a good long minute on our lounge chairs, listening to a perfectly prepared playlist of music uninterrupted by children’s requests. It was delightful. Then we all shared lunch from each other’s coolers— a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Before you know it, we had a feast fit for kings. Strangers, yet somehow we felt like long-lost pals.
Five hours we all shared together. However, it wasn’t until we started to pack up our stuff, Joe and I finally realized that Joshua and his family did not speak English! I don’t mean they did not speak well. I mean, they only spoke Spanish. The boys obviously knew some phrases in English, “please and thank you,” but that was all.
I’m sure Jeremy was trying to carry on a conversation with them throughout the day, but chances are they did not have a clue what he was saying. They just kept smiling and gesturing as though everything was great. Why? Because they were having fun, and words are not needed to have fun in the sun.
So, as we are packing up, Joshua walks over to me and hands me his mother’s cell phone. As I grab it, he taps the screen. His mother had written me a message that she translated into English on her phone. It read:
May I please have your telephone number so we may contact you again in the future to play if we come to this beach again?
I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I started to giggle as I turned toward her and smiled. Then Joshua directed me to respond to the phone while he and his brother high-fived Jeremy several times as they kept repeating, “Adios amigos.”
Then I reached into my purse, grabbed one of my handy business cards with my name and number printed on it, and handed it to Joshua along with his mother’s phone. After a few more heartfelt goodbyes, in both Spanish and English and any other language Joe knew, we all walked away in our own directions. When we got back into the truck, I said to Joe, “Good thing I carry those business cards with me. That is the third one this week I have given to the parent of one of Jeremy’s new friends.”
“Good thing you have them BUSINESS CARDS then, right? Maybe you should make some up for Jeremy. It seems he has ample opportunity to use them.”
Laugh on. Peace out.
Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com