Glenn and Lynn shot down the beach
and reached the lump on the sand ahead of everyone. “It’s Grover!” Lynn
shouted. “A wave spit him out!”
In an instant the rest of the family
ran toward Grover. Mother knelt down and lifted Grover’s face close to her ear.
He shivered and wrapped his arms around her neck. “He’s alive,” she said, a smile flooding her
Sand clung to Grover’s body and
clothes. It matted his hair, filled his eyes, and fell out of his ears. The
surf had torn off his shirt and shoes, but he was alive. Sally burst out
“It’s OK,” Bob said, patting her on
Glenn carried Grover to the tent.
Mother filled a pan with water and rinsed the sand from his face. Grover
whimpered but didn’t resist. Then she peeled off his sandy clothes and wrapped
him in a blanket.
Mother ran to a small tent just
down the beach. When she returned, a man walked beside her. “This is Mr. Brown.
He’s going to take us to the hospital,” Mother said. Mr. Brown gently picked
Grover up and they headed up the steps to the parking lot.
“I think an angel saved him,” Lynn
said. “Those waves are so big, and Grover is small.”
For a long time they sat silently
staring out over the ocean.
Anita got up and walked into the
tent. She returned with a bottle of orange soda for everyone. They sipped it in
silence, waiting for Mother to return.
“I’m going to go sit on the rocks
for a while,” Sally said, standing up.
“Be careful,” Glenn commanded.
“Don’t get too close to the water. A wave could reach up and grab you.”
“I’ll be careful,” Sally said,
looking at him.
A stray tear ran down his cheek
over a sprinkle of freckles before he could wipe it off.
Sally walked down the beach and
climbed up the pile of rocks that had fallen from the cliff top. They formed
pockets where ocean water collected. All kinds of creatures lived in the safety
of the tide pools. She found a smooth rock and sat down.
Lynn’s words, “God saved him,”
swirled around and around in her mind. Did God know each one of them? Did He
see Grover head into the water?
“Look at this one!” a voice shouted
above the sound of waves hitting rocks and bubbling back to the ocean.
“That’s the biggest one yet!”
another voice called out.
Sally looked down at the water. Two
boys wearing black wet suits and air tanks floated not far from her perch. One
boy dropped something into a net bag that hung in the middle of an inner tube
and disappeared beneath the surface.
The waves that splashed against the
rocks looked small. It’s low tide and safe for me to get a bit closer to the
water, Sally thought as she worked her way along the rocks at the base of the
cliff. She found a flat rock just above a large tide pool and sat down. She hoped the divers would emerge soon.
Suddenly the two boys burst from
the water and removed their masks. Sally leaned forward as far as she dared.
She just had to get a better look at the objects they held in their hands. All
at once she slipped on a strand of seaweed and fell into the pool. She wanted
to stay in the water and hide from the divers, but she started to shiver. When
she climbed out of the water, she heard laughter.
“Are you all right?” a voice called
out over the sound of waves hitting rocks. “I’m Rich, and this is my brother,
“Sorry,” Joe said. “I just couldn’t
help laughing. That giant kelp is slick stuff.”
“Do you want to see the abalone
shell?” Rich asked.
“Yes!” Sally laughed, plucking a
strand of giant kelp from her hair and smoothing out her wet shirt.
“Move back,” Rich shouted. He flung
the abalone shell up over the tumble of rocks. It landed in the tide pool.
Sally peered into the water. She
couldn’t see anything, so she knelt down and ran her hand around the bottom of
the pool, hoping a crab wouldn’t pinch her fingers. After a few minutes she
felt something smooth. She grabbed it and stood up.
“Pretty incredible, huh?” Joe
called out. Both boys stood there staring at her, waiting for her to answer.
“It looks like a rock with a slimy
glop of stuff in it,” she said.
“You didn’t take the animal out so
she could see the rainbow,” Joe said to Rich. “No wonder she thinks it’s just a rock.”
“You have to dig the animal out,”
Rich called. “Then you can see the rainbow.”
Sally wanted to see a rainbow, but
she didn’t want to touch the slimy-looking thing, and she certainly wasn’t
about to dig it out.
“It’s just a big sea slug called a
mollusk,” Joe explained. “It can’t hurt
you. I promise.”
Sally looked at the creature that
had no arms or legs or visible mouth. She frowned.
“I’ll help you,” Rich said, moving
a bit closer but staying back far enough to avoid the spot where the waves hit
the rocks. “You want to see the rainbow, don’t you. Hold the shell up with your
left hand,” he said, not waiting for her to answer.
“Now scrunch up your shoulders,
wrinkle up your nose, and close your eyes and make a face as if you just saw
“That won’t be hard,” Sally said,
following Rich’s instructions.
“Good,” he encouraged. “Now make a
claw with your right hand. Take a deep breath. Stick your fingers into the
shell and dig out the mollusk. It’s stuck to the shell.”
“Go ahead and scream,” Joe yelled.
“My sister says it makes her feel better.”
As soon as Sally’s fingers touched
the slimy mollusk, she did scream, and she did feel better. She flung the mass
of gray flesh into the tide pool and looked at the shell, running her hand over
the outer surface. The back looked just like a gray rock, but when she turned
the shell over, she gasped in surprise. A rainbow stared up at her!
“You’re right,” she said. “It’s
amazing! Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet swirls of color
danced about on the inside of the abalone. The more she twisted and turned the
shell in the sunshine, the more colors she saw.
The boys laughed. “You can keep
it,” Rich said. “We have plenty more.”
“See you later,” Joe yelled,
adjusting his mask and disappearing into the ocean. Rich waved and dropped from
“Thanks,” Sally called out.
She climbed down the rocks toward
the beach. Her wet sneakers squished and squeaked as she hurried toward the
I’ve got to find out how this
creature clings to the rocks, she thought. How does a snail make a rainbow? Why
does it have only one side, not two like a clam? She ran down the beach and
walked right into the tent, sandy shoes and all. She didn’t see her brother Bob
sitting beside the front tent flap.
“Hey, rinse your feet,” Bob said.
“You’re going to make a mess of the tent.”
Sally didn’t hear him. She clutched
the abalone tighter and headed for the stack of books beside her bed. I’m going
to solve some mysteries, she thought.