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Coastal memories live on

Treasures from the Oregon Coast decorate a bedside table.
 (Cheryl-Anne Millsap / The Spokesman-Review)
Treasures from the Oregon Coast decorate a bedside table. (Cheryl-Anne Millsap / The Spokesman-Review)

I’m going to miss the sea this year.

For a lot of reasons, some more practical than others, I’m not going to the seashore any time soon.

Every summer for the past five years, I’ve taken a cottage on the Oregon Coast for a week. Two weeks when I could get away with it. Usually, the whole family manages to gather for a day or two, but for most of the vacation I am alone with my two younger daughters.

We’re good housemates, my girls and I. We like the same things. Things like long walks on the beach and afternoons spent tucked in the hammock with a good book. We play board games, watch old movies and work crossword puzzles.

Some days we explore the coastline and the shops in the little towns that dot the coast.

We always take at least one day to go out to lunch and do a little antiquing.

But, not this year.

Fortunately, one of my daughters found a way to bring the seashore to me.

As a Christmas gift, she painted a watercolor of my favorite stretch of beach. I put it in an old frame and placed it on the table beside my bed. In front of the painting I placed a demitasse in a delicate sterling silver holder. I picked the cup out of a box of junk on one of our shopping expeditions and now I keep a votive candle in it. I scattered a few of the agates I’ve picked up out of the surf around the candle.

Just looking at it brings back the memory of a happy day. Of many happy days.

That’s the appeal of treasure hunting. We never know what we’ll find, or what that find will come to mean to us.

This summer, between summer camps, summer jobs and the general disarray of life at home, there won’t be a trip to the sea for me and my favorite travel companions.

But thanks to a few gifts: a lovingly painted work of art, a handful of jewels from the sea and the gift of a day spent combing through a dusty antique shop, I’m not disappointed.

Right now, that’s all I need.

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