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Rhonda Herrington Bulmer
Rhonda
Herrington
Bulmer
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July 17th, 2009
Beach Therapy
by Rhonda Herrington Bulmer

Because my Maritime childhood was filled with whole summers spent at our family cottage, I have an emotional connection to coastlines and crashing waves.
Dad built our summer residence 40 years ago on the banks of the Richibucto River, in Upper Rexton, New Brunswick. The isolated beach, with its brown sand and seagulls, became a familiar friend.
Like most rivers, inlets, and sandbars fed by the Northumberland Strait, our river had a soft bottom full of eelgrass, eels, striped bass, American oysters, minnows, periwinkles, hermit crabs, broken clam shells, and plenty of jellyfish. We used a tennis racket to scoop the purplish-red devils up and throw them on the bank. (Sound cruel? Once you get stung a few times, you’ll change your mind.)
In the fishing villages dotting the Strait, digging and selling soft shell clams was a popular past-time. On our beach, strangers stood with their shovels ankle-deep in the water, leaving sink-holes behind.
Our beach hosted family reunions, sandcastle tournaments, lobster boils, weenie and marshmallow roasts, and night-time ghost stories. My favorite part came at bedtime when I often sat next to my mother on the sofa in my pyjamas, and we watched the late summer moon rise over the shimmering water.
After my parents sold the cottage, I kept the 50-year old sofa to remind me of those quiet moments with my mom, moments which helped define my place in the world.

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