FOLKS, September is traditionally the time of year when we Brays return to the ocean, much to the horror of anyone watching me tear my shirt off on our annual dash into the brine.
In summer, it is far too hot to walk over the thong-searing carpark bitumen, then blistering timber slats through the dunes, before dashing over the lava-like sand on the beach.
So spring is prime time swimming season for the family von Bray. You have been warned.
Anyway, after our refreshing post-winter salt water wallow, we usually go for a stroll to dry out before heading home.
For years we would wander, chat and watch our eldest daughter draw patterns on the sand with a stick, middle daughter chase seagulls and the Littlest Princess collect sea shells and give them to me, the human wheelbarrow, to carry back to the car.
The thing is, her favourite shells were generally the most motley looking specimens on the sand.
So, a few years ago, when she palmed me an absolute wreck of a shell, I asked if she could pick up a nicer one to take home.
There were plenty of better looking shells around us.
Struth, even a clump of rotting seaweed at my feet looked better than that shell, but she simply replied, "Someone's got to like the broken shells, Dad."
Impressed, I washed the wretched shell and took it home where it is still on display.
These days, for some strange reason, our daughters prefer to stroll along the beach with their boyfriends, so last September our granddaughter joined Long Suffering Wife and I for our annual spring surf-side saunter.
We laughed when she started chasing seagulls just like her mum did, but the smiles on our dials froze when she handed me a shattered shell that would have made her aunty proud.
The mangled but treasured shell was added to our collection, and this month I fully expect another batch of busted molluscs to join it.
Still, as someone who is washing towards the barren sand dunes on life's shell-strewn beach, I am glad someone likes the broken shells.
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