Lost an earring, found a new beach hangout

I didn’t expect yesterday to be very exciting. Church. Lunch. Grocery store. Laundry. TV. The usual. But it didn’t quite turn out that way.

When I got home with my groceries, eager to shed my church clothes and sprawl in the sun on the deck with a good book, I discovered one of my earrings was missing. This is not the first time I’ve lost an earring. I don’t have pierced ears. I wear antique clip-on and screw-on earrings, and sometimes they fall off. I have lost and found some earrings three or four times, and I have quite a few single earrings whose mates are gone forever. I especially liked this earring, silver filigree around a shiny amethyst center.

I searched my clothes and my car, traced my steps from the garage. No earring. Dang. It was already 2:30. I had the laundry and other chores to do, and Annie needed a walk. But I wanted my earring back. I changed my clothes, put the dog in the car and we headed back to Newport. First stop, Georgie’s, where my friends and I had enjoyed our usual delicious food and ocean view. Checked the parking lot, the booth where we sat, the restroom. Nope. Next stop, church. Not in the chapel, the music room, the rest room or the sanctuary.

By now, Annie was going nuts, needing to walk. There’s a path through the woods right in the middle of town, and it’s not too far from Sacred Heart Church, so we headed there. It was sunny and smelled like flowers. We jumped over the mud puddles, glad to be out walking. The path ends at a playground and skate park. I thought we’d just go through there and walk back to the church. But Annie had other ideas. She tugged me toward the beach and a new discovery.

For years, I have heard about Jump-Off Joe, a massive rock formation that started falling apart at the turn of the 20th century and is now mostly gone. There are legends about how it got its name, but the most logical and likely explanation is that the rocks blocked the whole beach. People who wanted to get to the other side had to climb up and jump off, so they called it Jump-Off Joe. Read about it and see pictures at http://www.beachconnection.net/vtour_newp28.htm.

But I didn’t know there was an area up above the remnants of Jump-off Joe where people can park and enjoy the beach. The little parking lot off NW 11th Street leads to the concrete remnants of a building that I told myself must have been the natatorium where people came to swim in the early 20th century. But no. It’s the remains of a condo complex that fell victim to the constant erosion in the area. Now it’s a maze of graffiti-covered walls and steps at the edge of a bluff overlooking the rocks on the beach.

Annie and I both enjoyed sniffing around there and standing high above the beach. Judging by the graffiti and the abundance of beer bottles, we might not want to hang around there at night, but what a fun discovery. I know, local friends, I’m a dunce for not knowing about this, but it’s so exciting to find a new spot after almost 18 years here.

Eventually Annie and I wandered back to the car and started toward the J.C. Market. I actually drove past it, weary and thinking nobody’s going to find a tiny earring in a massive grocery store. Did I lose it while picking out potatoes, in the meat section while debating between pork chops and steak, or in the cereal aisle, where I grabbed two boxes of Red Zinger tea? At the cash register? But then I thought, no, they won’t have it, but you’ve got to ask.So I turned around.

At the service counter, I told the clerk I had misplaced an earring. She smiled. “Was it a clip-on?” Yes. I pulled the one out of my pocket and she pulled its twin from a drawer. A customer had found it in the parking lot and turned it in. Thank you, whoever you are.

God is good. I found a new place, and I got my earring back. We got home at 4:30 and took advantage of the sun still shining on the deck. The laundry could wait.

Yes, I could get pierced ears, but then look at all the fun I would miss!

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Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, and Childless by Marriage. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I teach writing workshops and offer individual editing and mentoring. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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