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Found treasure

January 2, 2011

Yesterday we took Squid to the beach which is as close to a New Year tradition that we’ve managed in this household. She saw the ocean for the first time exactly five years prior and was initially terrified by the waves until she worked out they were a jolly source of salty splashing. Now she gets excited and restless soon after we cross into South Melbourne when the first tang of sea and rotting seaweed hits her nostrils. But I digress.

So there we were, wading in the shallows over a sandbar near a family of three or four kids with two golden retriever puppies (Christmas presents, perhaps?). The kids were chubby in that uniquely child-like way before gravity has noticed they are alive; legs all gangly and slender but a thick belt of flesh that seems to be marchinging up, not down, their torsos. A boy of perhaps nine years charged past us back towards the shore, spotted something, and backtracked. He stuck his hand in the water and pulled out a yellowish bit of rubbish. He paused. He held it up against the sky.

“YESS!!!” he bellowed. It was a fifty dollar note. “Dad! Dad!”

We watched him skip towards his dad on the shore, clutching his treasure and ignoring that his shorts were sinking with the weight of the water. The last we saw of him was his plump, triumphant butt-crack.

When I was a kid we had a swimming pool in which my brother and I spent probably 90% of waking hours in summer. I remember once a friend of my parents went for a dip, unknowingly placing the twenty dollar note in his pocket in peril. Some hours later, we spotted fragments of banknote in the filter. Back then in the dark ages, money was made of paper, not plastic, and it did not take kindly to submersion. Upon advice that we could exchange it for an intact twenty at the bank if we found the majority of its sodden pieces, my brother and I combed the pool for sad little bits of green paper. I can’t remember whether or not we were successful but I do remember the feeling of finding such a stupendous amount of money.

Nice work, kid.

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