Last week a friend came to my house and for a hostess gift, gave me a bag of fruit that included a fresh coconut. Because I don’t have a hammer in the house, I took the coconut to some young friends who freed it from its tough shell. Now I have the inside (the milk is dried up) and I want to try to grate it and use it for something toothsome. I’ve never used fresh coconut, so I’m eager to try.
The coconut made me think of when I was five years old. My parents took me and my two younger siblings in a pickup loaded with stuff, and drove from VA to El Salvador. My mom was creative in finding ways to pass the time–I remember little bags of M&M’s and crayons. I haven’t retained many details of the trip, but general impressions like the smell of gas at the filling stations and packing and unpacking at the border, and people speaking a language I couldn’t understand. I would take naps on the floor on the passenger side, my body in the shape of an L, with my legs between the seat and the door, and my sister between me and the seat.
My grandparents, aunts, and uncle lived at a children’s home in El Salvador, and this is where the coconut memory comes in. I remember watching my uncle, a young teen, shinny up a coconut tree and cut off a furry brown ball with the machete hanging from his belt. Down on the ground, he sliced off the top of the coconut with his machete and let us drink the milk inside. I don’t remember how it tasted, only the event.
Maybe my love of the open road and the next horizon started when I was five. Maybe it’s in my genes from parents and grandparents who love globetrotting. I don’t know. I remember feeling peaceful and calm and happy, squished in that pickup, though I’m sure I was cross sometimes. I think I remember crying once because I was hot and miserable.
Sometimes my itchy feet get me into trouble because although I’m fond of comfort, I’m not satisfied with just staying and settling into endless routine. Maybe sometime I’ll grow up and be ok with dailyness, and not pine for adventure and new vistas every day. I have sandy feet too. I’ve traveled enough that I’ve been able to revisit some places, and that has its own thrill. Like traveling with my family and happening to drive past the church in Switzerland that was the live recording studio when I was with Faith Builders Chorale five years earlier.
One of my impossible dreams to have a sail boat. I know I could never actually do the work, but it’s a fun dream. A friend suggested that I name it “Sandy Feet” which is a brilliant idea. It means I’ll always come back.