... when we got to the beach, I couldn't believe my eyes

by Betty Rossi

On July 11th, I missed my first Stringer meeting. My daughter and grandchildren invited me to go to the beach with them. They were going to Revere Beach where the Sand Castle Artists were carving 100's of tons of Quarry Sand that had been hauled onto the beach for the annual competition. My grandchildren had appointments to take lessons "from the Masters" and I was privileged to be invited to attend.

It was a beautiful day and when we got to the beach, I couldn't believe the
sculptures. I had never seen sand sculptures before and was amazed at the magnitude and the effort that was in progress. The 100 Year Anniversary sculpture of Fenway Park was breathtaking. Five artists had been working around the clock on the sculpture so that it would be ready for the Sand Sculpture Competition to be held on Saturday. The more I looked, the more my jaw fell open. It was spectacular. They carved baseball card pictures, advertisements and even Wally the Green Monster, the Red Sox Mascot. Right next to the Fenway Park sculpture, there was a man carving heads of sand, that were so lifelike you'd swear that they could take a breath.

My grandchildren's lessons were scheduled for 3 o'clock and they were held at the base of the Fenway Park sculpture. "Sandy" gave them each a topless, bottomless pail and told them to start filling it. They planted the pails in a mound of sand and had to fill and pound the sand, fill the pail with sand and pound it down again until it reached the very top of their pails. Next, they were each given a regular beach pail, with the bottom still attached. They had to fill those pails while pounding down that sand also. The big pails were then tapped to "loosen the seal" and the "pails" were slipped off of the sand., leaving a nice, smooth, round pile. The small pails of sand were then carefully tipped onto the top of the smooth piles, making the beginnings of a sand castle. My grandchildren were then given "tools"; a plastic knife, a plastic fork that looked broken, because the middle tines were broken out, and just the side tines were left on the fork, and a short, plastic drinking straw. Some tools. With the knife, they were told to make a diagonal slash across the top pile of sand, and then a diagonal slash going in the opposite direction on the bottom pile. With the knives, they had to carefully carve away the packed sand on top of the first diagonal slash. A few cuts later, and lo and behold, there were stairs going up the sides of their castles. With the tineless fork, they were told to make a slash or two on the side of their "castles". Amazing! These, with a little digging became windows. The time was almost up, but the girls decided that they would go one step further, so they smoothed some of the sand and wrote their names and the date, and with the straw, carefully blew away some of the loose sand and you could read their names as plain as day.



What a lesson for us all. They all loved the experience and wanted to go back the next day for more lessons. A jump in the ocean, a bite at Kelley's Roast Beef, and it was time to go home. We all left with such an appreciation of the talents and hard work of the sand artists. We still haven't stopped talking about the experience.  

August 3, 2012

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