Seashell Hunting

Writing Prompt: Write about a childhood memory of your grandparents


Groggy, I rub the sleep from my eyes. Standing in the doorway with a gentle smile and a new plastic beach bucket is my grandpa. It’s time for the morning seashell hunt. I quietly slip out of bed. I do my very best to not wake anyone else because our early morning shell hunt is our time. I do a few James Bond moves to tiptoe past my sleeping cousins and make it safely to the hallway.

As I reach the kitchen, we are greeted by my grandma. She follows us out to the patio and reminds us to be safe and hurry back for our morning cocoa before taking a seat on the patio and watching as the waves crash on the beach.

My grandpa takes me by the hand and helps me step over the rickety wooden sea wall. Safely over the wall, we quickly make our way down to the water’s edge. Grandpa rolled up the cuffs of his pants so we could get our feet wet as the waves rolled up the beach. Piles of rocks lay between areas of soft sand. The rock piles made for the best shell hunting.

We made our way to pile after pile. We sorted through interesting rocks, uninteresting rocks, sea glass, and seashells. My grandpa only smiled as I dropped rock after rock and shell after shell into the bucket he had brought for our trip. Finally, with the bucket overflowing — and far too heavy for the thin plastic handle, we made our way back over the sea wall.

My grandma had seen us coming and had our cocoa ready and waiting. It was too hot to drink right away. We plopped in some marshmallows. The rule was that once the marshmallows had completely melted it was okay to drink it. As we waited for the marshmallows to finally melt my grandma asked us how the hunt had gone. Excitedly, I poured the bucket out on the table. Sand, shells, and dirt went everywhere-but there was no reprimand. We talked about each one as we refilled the bucket together.

As we finished putting the last shell in the bucket, my grandma stirred her cocoa dissolving the last of the marshmallows. It was finally ready to drink. We sat there together with a bucket full of shells watching the waves, sipping cocoa, and everything was right in the world.