You can skip the story and go for the moral: Wear sunscreen and use your noodle

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A visual aid for my little story. The yellow and green things in this picture are called “noodles,” for obvious reasons. They are not the only kind of noodles, apparently. Always ask when someone asks you to fetch noodles.

This is an absolutely nothing story and if you want to move on with your life, that’s OK by me.

It is just that I need to put it down on paper to see if it all really happened the way I think it did.

It started on Sunday with a pool party down the road, next to Coco Loco’s Beach Bar. The party was actually a continuation of a birthday party from the day before which included a glorious day aboard the No Rush catamaran with snorkeling and good food, plenty of rum punch, great friendship and a brilliant sun over head.

I’m pretty sure it was the last one that did me in. Rookie mistake, going the whole day without sunscreen. My face looked like a two-tone bowling ball: Pale white where the bandana sat and an awful shade of burgundy from my forehead south. (Right now it looks like a badly peeling bowling ball … .)

Visual aid No. 2: This is Moppit. She had much more hair on Sunday, although that is not relevant to this story. This is her after a prissy spa day on Tuesday at the appropriately named Pampered Paws.

No so much the rum punch, as some might have suspected.

But then, I lost count early in the day.

At any rate, I was already feeling underwater when the time for the pool party neared. I was thinking maybe I should sit this one out. It is not that I’m not a fan of back-to-back good times. I am. If I had the constitution for it I would go on three- and four-day back-to-back good-time binges. It would be easy to do on a tropical island like Ambergris Caye.

It seems like somebody is always coming up with something fun to do. Here for the taking. And intaking. Ain’t nothing on this island that doesn’t involve rum and beer, it seems.

But I don’t have the constitution.

Not anymore.

No need to get into reasons, but one day of lapping up rum while floating just behind the barrier reef can take me well into the next month on the Good Times Quotient.

I feel like a country song sometimes: “I’ve been thinkin’ about my drinkin’/ And it just ain’t what it used to be.”

Now Rose. There is a constitution. It probably has to do with exercise and pacing, but she can outlast me in the stretch most any week of the year. And with the pool party looming she was in the kitchen baking yet another incredible bundt cake — this one infused with cream cheese and pineapple. I could see bagging the pool party was no option.

Rose took off before me, with her cake, and I promised to walk over with Moppit shortly after.

Then the texting started:

“Where r u?”

“On my way.” I fudged it a bit.

“Bring nndles.”

Me: “??”


Me: “OK.”

I walked over to the fridge and saw a glass bowl filled with freshly made macaroni salad. Clearly, that is what she meant.

So I put the bowl in a nice recyclable bag from The Greenhouse, a local produce and dry-goods store. I paused briefly to admire my own cleverness:  The bag would keep the salad cool and eliminate any chance of me dropping it as we walked across the vacant lot that separates Coco Locos from our home.

All went well until I turned while walking (yes, I can do that) to make sure Moppit was following.

That is when I heard the sickening crunch. You know, the sound glass makes when shattering. Into a hundred pieces. Somehow, I’d managed to swing the bag into the only stack of concrete blocks within 10 feet of the path.

I peered into the bag. Sure enough, my assessment of the sound was spot on.  Shards of glass and macaroni seemed to have gelled into a single, twinkling, flat mass at the bottom of the bag.

Except for the whole boiled egg that floated on top. I momentarily thought of rescuing the egg. The Zen Warrior inside me was saying, “Any victory, no matter how small, is still a victory.”

Common sense ruled the day. Let the egg go, man! It won’t live to fight another day. Cut your losses.

So, Moppit and I continued the few remaining steps to the party — yes, we were so close. I spotted Rose across the pool, held up the bag with enough contriteness on my face to curry a pardon from Joe Arpaio.

I mouthed, “Sorry.”

She looked deeply into my soul, overflowing with remorsefulness, and mouthed back from across the pool, “What?”

“I crushed your glass bowl and destroyed your salad! ” I shouted. “So sorry!”

She looked deeply into my face, again. The silence ticked like hours between us. She furrowed her brow and said, “What are you talking about?”

“Your noodles! I destroyed your noodles! I’m so sorry!”

By now, all this hailing back and forth was drawing a crowd.

“I wanted the pool noodles,” she said. No longer shouting because I’d walked around the pool.

Oh. Those colorful, floating, foam tubes. Yeah, we have a bunch of those.

Those colorful, floating, foam tubes. Yeah, we have a bunch of those. In a closet, I think.

Somebody helpfully pointed out that there were already two macaroni salads for the party.

Somehow, I lost my footing and couldn’t get it back. I walked up to Village Market and got Rose a bottle of Pinot Grigio and myself a large Snickers bar, only because in the Snickers font is said “Scatterbrained” on the back side of the wrapper. Seemed reasonable.

I drank a beer but it didn’t go down well. Talked with old friends and some nice folks from Houston, stranded here because of the hurricane.

Moppit and I checked out early, with an Irish farewell. I trudged toward home, carrying a bag of glass and macaroni. Rose promised to fix me a plate to eat later. It included at least one of the macaroni salads. It tasted pretty good.

Well, that’s it.

I’d like to say there is more to the story, like a moral or something, but the closest thing I can come up with is this: Wear sunscreen and use your noodle.

Maybe that’s enough.

But I think I owe you one.

Since you stayed with me this long … this is an image I just received of my oldest son, Brendan, and grandson Brody, tearing up the BMX track he built around his mountainside house in Northern California. My daughter-in-law Cami took the photo. It really does look like that up in the hills. I’m excited because we get to see them all in about a week, as well as a new grandson!






3 thoughts on “You can skip the story and go for the moral: Wear sunscreen and use your noodle said:
    August 30, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I personally loved that story! LOLIt made me smile after a very long work day back here. Cheers!


    Rob Chodowski said:
    August 30, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    “A Day in the Life of”….on Ambergris Caye


    Newell said:
    August 31, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    One of your best articles written! Thanks for representing all of us!


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