June 24, 2015's Weekly Slap:


“Beach Slapped” is what it is because from the moment I first came to the Oregon Coast, most every moment I lived here, and even my last hours here, it was always about the beach. That wasn’t always true of my life, and perhaps that’s been my problem.

Growing up in Colorado, I was a long way from the beach. I don’t care what anyone says, lounging next to a giant lake/ civic water supply is not the beach.


BartonGroverHowe.com:Where to keep up with humor writer Barton Grover Howe. Here, you'll find all of his Beach Slapped columns from The News-Times in Lincoln County, Oregon, excerpts from his latest books and the occasional random musing that would get him fired if he published it in a family newspaper.

The whole beach and nothing but
- June 24, 2015

There’s a reason this column was called “Beach Slapped.”

Most obviously it’s because I’ve got a twisted sense of humor, as did my first publisher. My editor – as is always true with editors – was not near as much fun. Though, because she was naive, it all worked out.

“I’m OK with that name, as long as the publisher is,” my editor said, “knowing” that the publisher never would be. Of course the publisher was, and my editor has regretted it ever since. Not because she’s still my editor, but because she’s still my wife. (You know what they say about miracles.)

More, however, “Beach Slapped” is what it is because from the moment I first came here, most every moment I lived here, and even my last hours here, it has always been about the beach. That wasn’t always true of my life, and perhaps that’s been my problem.

Growing up in Colorado, I was a long way from the beach. I don’t care what anyone says, lounging next to a giant lake/ civic water supply is not the beach. I was lucky, however, as every three years or so, my family would head for the beach, usually in California.

I remember spending hours on the beach. Whether lying in the sun reading a book, splashing in the waves, trying to Boogie Board, whatever, I loved every moment there. As I got older I even had the patience to add something else to my activities: Watching.

I’ve been ADHD as long as I can remember. If I sit still for more than five minutes it’s a miracle. I get bored watching live football games. That’s why I’m the mascot: I get to DO something.

Somewhere along the way, however, I discovered that I could watch the waves. One after another as they roll in, each one of them different. It’s like the most beautiful painting in the world and yet one that never stays the same even for a second. Soothing, mesmerizing, quieting: It’s one of the few things that’s ever slowed my frantic mind.

My whole life it’s been my dream to be in place where I could go find that any time I wanted. And not just any beach: Oregon beaches. Sure, the Caribbean’s beaches are nice to lounge on, California’s good to surf, Australia’s nice to walk off of and go diving.

But only in Oregon did I find a beach where I could walk for hours, the sand unbroken. The waves pounding the rocks and shore, all mine at times, where even amidst the incessant roar I could find calm. It was a dream come true to find this place – and now it’s time to go.

The beach still means to me what it always has, but it’s not all about me anymore. I have this little girl in my life, my five-year-old daughter, Nola. She loves the beach, too, indeed in many of the ways I do. She loves to run in the freezing water, look at things she finds on the beach.

But there are other things she wants, she needs. Like me, she never stops – talking, moving, learning, anything. There are so many things she wants to do that she can’t do here. I will miss the beach, but I look forward to seeing her find her own passions even more. So the family and I have decided to head inland.

I’ll miss it, of course – terribly. Maybe that’s why I’ve taken a lot more walks on the beach by myself of late. Nola says she wants to go, but I’ve got miles to go before I sleep, or at least move to Eugene. Like her mother, she’s more about checking out every rock, stone and dead thing than she is walking and looking at waves. I tell her maybe when she’s bigger.

She wants to know if that’s a promise, that one day we can come back here and take long walks on the beach together. I tell her it is – and it always will be.

See you on the beach.

Barton Grover Howe is a humor columnist, teacher, occasional stand-up comedian and resident of the Oregon Coast who thanks you for reading for the past eight years. His writing can also be found at “BartonGroverHowe.com.”