I was getting nowhere fast with Chopin’s Waltz in C# minor. A ride with my father sounded perfect. “Sure, where to?”
“Bob, don’t forget that you were going to go to the store,” my mom called out.
“Sure, Ruthie, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten.”
He stood in the doorway, grinning at me as I closed the sheet music and grabbed my sweater. “Can we get some little Hershey Bars and Dreyer’s Vanilla?” I whispered, conspiratorially.
“I heard that!” Ruthie called out.
Giggling, I followed him out to the drive, letting the door slam behind me.
He often took me to Dana Point in those days. Of course, now, I can’t remember exactly when those days were, but they must have been when we were living in Irvine and driving down to Dana Point was a fairly easy trip. We’d sit on the cliff overlooking the sea and he’d tell me all about the rocks. How there were certain layers of rock that he, as a geologist, could read. He'd tell me the names of the layers, how old they were approximately, and how they came to be.
“Hey!” I interrupted. “Is that a dolphin out there?” I shaded my eyes and pointed out to sea, a subtle splash had lifted up and then vanished.
“I don’t know,” my father gazed out at the choppy waters. “It certainly could have been.”
“Maybe if we watch real close, we’ll see it again?” I suggested.
“Sure,” he said, grinning over at me. “Maybe.”
And so we sat, in companionable silence, watching the sea churn and dance. “There!” I cried again, “Did you see it?”
He chuckled, shaking his head, “I don’t think so, Carol….but….” He paused for a moment. “Yeah, maybe.” He pointed down the coast, past the purple orange layered cliffs. “Is that it?”
I grinned, “Yeah, I think so.”
Another splash and then it was gone. Was it a dolphin? Maybe or maybe not. But it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that I was here, on this cliff with my father—and it was magic. Not because of any dolphin. Or stories of ancient cliffs.
But because he was here, with me, sharing his time and his knowledge and his love.
“We better get going,” he said. “I hear the Albertson’s calling.”
Giggling, I nodded, rising to gaze out to sea one last time, then turning to him. “I think dolphins are especially fond of Little Hershey bars.”
Laughing, he headed back up the path, “And Dreyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream.”
“With chocolate sauce,” I answered.
“Of course,” he grinned, opening the door to let me in the Mach I as the sea breeze flitted through my sun bleached hair.