Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Baby's Got Sand on His Face!!

One of the things I enjoy most about tourist season is watching them deal with our sand.

As a 5th generation native of northwest Florida I grew up covered in beach sand.

I come from a long line of beach lovers and as far back as I can remember, my great grandparents, my grandparents and my parents have lived on the water.

We’ve always had boats and every vacation we took was centered around the water so I have spent decades in the sand.

Needless to say my own children were introduced to the beach pretty much right after birth.

I have tons photos of them sitting under an umbrella in their baby seat right in the middle of the sand and of course once they were old enough to crawl they began to explore our beautiful beaches.

That’s when I found out that sand is poisonous.

Imagine my surprise the first time a woman came running up to me at the beach yelling “The Baby’s Got Sand on His Face!!!

She grabbed my son and began frantically trying to brush sand off the side of his face.

After recovering from the shock, I gently took him back saying “He’s ok.”

The woman looked at me like I had lost my mind and said “Sand is poisonous!” 

Laughing, I told her that while eating sand for supper may not be a healthy choice, a little sand on the body never hurt anyone. She walked off shaking her head convinced I was ignorant and allowing my son to be poisoned. 

I chalked the incident up to a single encounter with a nut - but then it happened again.

Pretty much the same thing only this time it was an elderly couple strolling along the shore.

Now I would like to clarify that I did not let my children bury their faces in the sand, I kept sand away from their eyes, and I strongly discouraged them actually eating the sand.

But they have had sand in their hair, in their ears, and covering every inch of their bodies and frankly if it didn’t bother them it didn’t bother me.

But apparently it bothered other people.

“The Baby’s Got Sand on His Face!” became a regular cry we would hear every time we were at the beach. People of all ages would rush up to me to let me know that my child had sand on some part of his body and of course since sand is poisonous it must be washed off immediately.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this happened at least a hundred times.

The whole sand is poisonous thing was an interesting phenomenon that I began to observe. I would see people step onto the beach in sandals and then stop after every other step to try and brush sand off their feet.

Since this is a completely impossible thing to do, these people never walk far before heading back to the safety of their sand free cars.

I watched a family of three carry everything but the kitchen sink down to the beach one afternoon, trying to walk very carefully so as not to get sandy, and then set up their “camp”.  After about 5 minutes of fruitlessly trying to keep sand off of themselves and their towels I heard the mom say “There is too much sand here – we’ll have to go back up to the pool” and they packed up and headed off.  

Island Girl and the Oldest Island Boy would just look at the people trying to save them like they were crazy and go back to playing.

The Youngest Island Boy, however, began to recognize the impact he had on people if he had sand on his face. He would be playing and if he saw someone walking towards him he would throw himself, face first, into the sand and then wait for the panic to begin.

I have never understood the strong dislike some people seem to have towards sand. It seems to me that if you have sand issues, the beach would be the last place you’d want to spend your vacation.

My kids are older now and spend less time actually rolling around in the sand so we don’t have people running up trying to save them anymore.

But every once in a while, just to rile folks up, my family will do this

I’m no expert on the subject but I can say with complete certainty that the sand in Northwest Florida is not poisonous and if it gets on your body - you will survive.

But I do appreciate all of the laughs I’ve gotten over the years from people who think differently. 
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