They sat around the table talking desultorily, shuffling and dealing the cards. The wind rattled the windows with small hailstones. With a shiver Dora rose and drew the curtains closed.
The house sat high on the side of the hill overlooking a bay; drowsing in the mid-summer sun, tranquil in the tender caress of air, the clink of bellbird song.
In the early dawn of the first morning they spread the maps and local information on the carpet. The town and surrounding area abounded with sites of historical interest. There were so many places to see, things to do. And of course, there were the beaches. Why would you go to the seaside unless to explore the beaches?
An hour they spent on hands and knees, grandmother and two small boys, while grandfather assembled hats and lotion, made sandwiches and packed the picnic basket.
During the next three days they traveled a thousand miles on foot and tire. They played beach cricket, built sandcastles, collected shells and explored the rocky headlands. They visited the lighthouse and spent a rapt morning in the whaling museum absorbing facts and the stories of the sea and the men who sailed the boats. They discovered the sites around the bay, learning the histories of the men and women who had built and died there.
Evenings were spent reviewing their activities and reading the Word of God. There was no TV, no radio. They had no time to be bored. ‘Gameboy’ lay neglected in a corner. The only contact with an un-holiday world were the daily calls to Mum and Dad, and even these served mainly to recount today’s activities and tomorrow’s plans.
Then the storm arrived, blustering it’s way across the hillsides, blotting out the view of town and bay. Plans were disoriented. Breakfast was disconsolate. Dora pulled a pack of cards from her suitcase. “I brought these just in case…”
They played ‘Sevens’, and they played ‘Please and Thank You.’ They laughed a lot, especially when eight-year-old Joey advised with a wicked twinkle, “You are allowed to cheat, Gran.” They nibbled peanuts and slices of oranges and apples. In between they played ‘Charades’ and exercising games. But time, so fast to speed on other days, dragged by on tired feet.
Making lunch, Dora reviewed the grocery cupboard and refrigerator in dismay. Two little boys took a lot of filling up – what about their evening meal? The cupboard was nearly bare.
After lunch Grandfather taught the boys to play ‘Snap,’ a rowdy, satisfying game. Especially for Joey, who played very physically, jumping from his chair in excitement, sweeping all before him as he ‘snapped’ his card on the matching one, bellowing his victory.
The afternoon drew in. Grandfather timed the boys in a head-standing contest while Dora tidied the cards and straightened the furniture. She sat down opposite Grandfather and smiled at him. “I think,” they began together, laughed, and finished in unison, “we’ll go to the restaurant for dinner.”
“Snap!” shouted an upside-down Joey. Two pairs of feet thudded to the carpet. Two voices shouted as one, “Can we have fish and chips, please, please, pretty please?” “Snap!” The grandparents nodded in agreement. Grandfather added, “You certainly may.”
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