Our granddaughter, Clara, turns six on August 17th and as promised, I made her a treasure chest of shells in her favorite color -- teal! It's something I'm going to do for each of our grandchildren on their sixth birthday and it even comes with a guide, so Clara can identify each shell by herself.
It's been fun to collect them this past year before the red tide appeared and we have more shells than tea in China. Some of them are particularly special -- like the Scotch Bonnet. They are the third rarest shell on the Gulf Coast of Florida and I found four of them all in a row -- under seaweed -- after a storm. Scotch Bonnets are found deep in the ocean -- far from shore. And they only end up on the beach after a tropical storm, like Elsa last year. Since I had never seen one before, I had to ask a sheller next to me what type of "treasure" I had in my hands. I could tell by her expression that I had hit the mother load. I remember thinking, How odd to find four in a row. And that's when I decided I would make a treasure box of shells for each grandchild.
People ask me all the time what my favorite shell is and I'd have to say the sand dollar because they're so much fun to find and it always feels like magic. But the scallop shells are also my favorite because they're so colorful -- the zigzag scallop and also the calico scallop. You'll notice I didn't include any sand dollars in Clara's treasure chest because they're so fragile. I reserve those for Christmas when I give them as ornaments for the tree with the island I found them on and the date. Shell decorating starts in earnest in October.
The beach is calling. Until next time...