1) My Last Swim:
Without either kid, I dog-paddled a ways out into the sea and pulled a dead-man’s float. Twice. Looked out the vastness, then back at my family on the shore. Decided to return to my family.
2) Anette’s Birthday:
On June 24th, on the porch of the trailer we rented at our campground, we celebrated my sweetheart with an awesome ricotta and chocolate-chip cake. Then we set out on our bikes for a nearby beach resort town. But Anette had a blowout before we’d made it five hundred meters. She may have run over a thorn. (I didn’t know thorns were sharp enough to puncture a mountain bike tire, but I guess the roses of Sardinia grow rough and tough.) We went back and borrowed a lesser bike, and pedaled to a much nearer beach, and a mind-blowing pizzeria named La Torre. And I gave Anette a hand-woven pillow case and two potholders, embroidered with a design of red coral—a symbol of Sardinia.
3) Adinah Loses her First Tooth:
This damn thing, a lower front one, had been hanging on by the slimmest of roots for weeks. Adinah was terribly proud of it—her first “waggle zahn”—and even more proud of what it meant: she’s becoming a little woman. She lost it as she bit into an ice cream. Unfortunately, we were on the beach at the time. She insisted on running over to some friends to show them her ex-tooth, and of course, she lost it in the sand. She was nearly inconsolable, and we all got down on hands and knees and searched through the pebbles for an hour, to no avail. The awful poetry of that—kid loses her first tooth, then loses it again among a million grains of sand—was almost unbearable. I promised her french fries so she would stop crying. She felt better the next morning, especially after a visit from the Tooth Fairy, who left her a note, € 1.50, and a pack of chewing gum.
4) Talking to the Donkey with V.:
Our short daily walk to the beach skirted the edge of another campground. A donkey lived there. One afternoon, when V. was particularly post-nap grumpy, and unwilling to walk, I tried to make her laugh by starting a shouting match with the burro.
“Damn it, you Donkey!” I hollered.
“Come out and play!”
“Come out, you damn Donkey!!” I yelped, like some berserk farmer.
V. howled with glee. She loves yelling and hearing anyone else yell. Or curse. So, thus inspired, she added her own favorite phrase.
“Donkey, ich haue dich um funf! (I’ll hit you at five o’clock.)”
“Donkey, goddamn it! Shut up!” I added helpfully.
“Ut up!” V. screamed hysterically.
By this time we were both laffing like complete loony-birds. But V. couldn’t resist a parting shot.
“Donkey, don’t eat my popo (butt)!!!”
The donkey never returned our calls, BTW.
Now I know I’ll always be able to cheer V. up by A) screaming hysterically, or B) finding a donkey.
5) Naptime at our Trailer:
While V. slept, and Adinah played with the neighbor’s kid, I drank espresso and read my book (Post War by Tony Judt.) Ahh, the sounds of silence.