The chatter among a group of siblings and their spouses who were carefully spaced on a grassy patch of East Beach Thursday (June 4) included memories of childhood days spent running across the shoreline rocks towards the water.
By the end of summer, it didn’t hurt to make the barefoot dash, thanks to calluses built up from the repeated trek, they recalled.
Mike Smith remembered sending his sister Jan out into the seaweed to help him and his brothers round up crabs to sell to a business across the street.
“I still don’t like seaweed,” Jan laughed.
Four of the five who sat to enjoy the company, the fresh air, the sun and lunch from Moby Dick’s shared the same last name: siblings Mike, Jan and Garry Smith, as well as Garry’s wife Brenda.
Jan and her husband Ray Bula travelled from Burnaby for the visit, which was the first the group had enjoyed in about six weeks. Mike Smith drove from New Westminster, while Garry and Brenda Smith had a shorter journey to partake, travelling from within Surrey.
Pre-pandemic, the good-humoured group would meet about once a month, but “not too often, we can’t tolerate one another,” Garry Smith quipped.
Thursday’s visit was organized following word of the City of White Rock’s reopening earlier in the week of some 50 pay-parking spaces in East Beach.
“As soon as we heard it was open, we said we have to come down,” Jan Smith said.
Supporting local businesses was also part of the motivation, Mike Smith added.
“They’ve had a rough deal,” he said, referring to impacts that began with the December 2018 storm that devastated the city’s pier.