The Crown Vic was buried up to the license plate in the front, wind blowing fine grained sand up against its rainbow design. An elderly man was alternating between digging the front wheels, and standing back scratching his head. The back of the car was fine, wheels visible on the tracks that led to the current situation. I had just unloaded the beach chair. Gids and his little friend were in the water having raced each other in to collect clay for an upcoming battle of sorts where they jump off rocks yelling “I’m Filipino!” and mid air throw carefully crafted sand clay balls at oncoming waves. Rossi was squirming to get down, her desire to crawl around and eat everything on the ground making me miss the days she wasn’t capable of holding her own head up. Nobody would have looked at me and wondered, “You with three kids why aren’t you helping?” But that terrible beast empathy reared its head. I remembered the time I got stuck there, the reason I use the back road instead of the stretch between the airport fence and ocean. There I was six months pregnant, busting into our bucket of sand toys arming myself with a shovel passing Gids a rake the both of us attempting to free the tires. It was futile. I knew that. I also knew of a study showing that people are more happy to help those already helping themselves. I figured my best shot at rescue was to look as if I wasn’t looking for it. That, or somebody would want to cross over and be forced to help remove the car that was blocking their way on the makeshift road.
I sighed. I let the beach chair drop in the sand and propped Rossi on my hip walking over to the man. “Hello there!” I called out. His name was Dave. His wife Carol had gotten out of the car and was watching whales jump farther down the beach. They were from Oregon and had found themselves stuck an hour ago after being deceived by tire tracks left by lifted four wheel trucks, not realizing how soft Kauai sand was. I asked if they had called a tow truck, he said he had been told tow trucks wouldn’t leave the main road and rescue folks by a lady who had been stuck previously. I narrowed my eyes as I have seen tow trucks show up, hauling folks to freedom in the nick of time during a rising tide at this very spot. Wondered if personal favors were called in. Perhaps workers using company property to make personal profit on the side. Maybe the lady was simply mistaken, had only called one company and receiving a no thought they all had the same policy. He tells me earlier 4 guys tried to help push the car out. Lift it even. Carry it. All to no avail. “Well, if you want I have shovel at home and wooden boards, I could go get them, it would be oh twenty minutes or so if you’re interested.” Dave was interested. He asked my name, shook my hand, and off me and Rossi went calling the boys to load up in the car. I mistakenly thought due to the cartoon they love “PAW PATROL” involving stories of rescues they would be thrilled. Gids’ friend was, I suspect that being as how I’m not his parent his fear of me played a bigger part in this obedience. Gids refused to leave the water and was presented with the sight of everyone pulling away waving goodbye to him. The delay was opportune though as Dave called out while I was buckling Gids in, a large truck with a tow line had pulled up. Dave and Carol were rescued. Driving away down the beach they yelled out “Thank you Emily!” Waving back, despite the fact I had in fact done nothing except smiled, said hello, and threatened to abandon my child at the beach, I felt pretty fantastic. Good deed of the day badge pinned on my soul.
That’s what I love about the backside of Salt Pond. It always leaves me with a warm glow. “You mean a tan.” My husband would say. No. A warm glow inside, it’s the kind of place that saves you, holds you and comforts you until you’re ready to take on the world.
There is times as a parent when you feel crazy. Crazy is something people joke about, roll their eyes to, or sigh in frustration with when it’s mentioned in connotation with kids. I don’t. I’ve spent half my life in one psychologist office or another for crazy, so when I feel it I take it seriously. When it presents, as it often does, first thing in the morning triggered by children’s little voices demanding things with whispers, screams, and whines, I run to the car. Buckle the kids in. Dash back in the house for coffee, water, and bananas or apples. Five minutes later there we are. The beach. My tires crunching bits of shell and coral under them. The backside of Salt Pond this wild free place all to ourselves, Gids running off on the reef to eat his banana and share the peel with fish, Rossi splashing the shallow waves that make it past the reef with chubby hands. I sit and drink coffee. And then my eyes are open. I’m ok! I remember small things like my name, and the fact that, “I can do this. I’ve got this. January 29, 2016 here I come.” Back in the car we go. There is floors to be swept and mopped, laundry to wash and hang, a dog to be walked, and the scheduled threat of an afternoon panic attack that will send me fleeing back to the car, driving us off to some Instagram worthy destination.
Thankyou for taking the time to read about one my favorite places on the island. I hope I get the opportunity to share more of it with you in writing !
Sincerely, The Chauffeur