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Gone to the Dogs

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

"We need to get you a swimsuit," Gigi, my sister-in-law said to me that morning at Hilton Head Westin Hotel.

After breakfast, we were on the road in search of a bathing suit.

"There's a TJ Maxx, let's go there," I pointed to the familiar name associated with bargain name brands.

Before long, we were inside TJMaxx. I surveyed the racks. Active Wear. Petites. Ladies. Nothing resembling swimwear. I approached a salesclerk.

"Oh, we don't have swimwear yet."

Yet? It's November.

"But you can go to Belk down a little way. They would have some." On checking Google, it was only 0.4 miles by car. I was too out of it to alert my sister-in-law that perhaps we'd gone too far when we kept driving. We didn't see Belk. She consulted Siri and sure enough, we had missed it.

Belk was very close to TJ Maxx. It was fairly quiet inside.

"Good morning. Where are the swimsuits?"

"Oh, we don't have any." One of the salesclerks said.

"Yes, we have them." The other clerk said, pointing towards the back. "They're over there. Go straight and then turn left."

Nothing like the pressure to find something that fits to provoke anxiety. I took deep breaths while concentrating on the swimwear rack marked 40-70% off. Stay away from black. Get something colorful. My husband's voice came on. I saw only faint possibilities. I was swimming in mismatched swimsuits.


"Maybe just find a top and we'll get you a pair of black bike shorts," Gigi suggested.

"Okay. That's a possibility."

My brain whirred inside my head. Find a nice colorful top. Something with padding. No strapless number; I have nothing to hold them up. Preferably a one-piece.

I found a top and a two-piece. Both were colorful. My husband would approve.

Still in my reverie, Gigi handed me a one-piece that a salesclerk found. A Ralph Lauren and a high-cut number, it looked long on the hips. It had a V-neck which might be flattering for me.

"But it's black and white. Darn it! Is this on sale?" The sales tag said $128.

I rushed into the fitting room. I tried them on, one by one, and took pictures. The Ralph Lauren fit well enough and it was 70% off so I bought it.

I wiggled into the swimsuit as soon as we got back to the hotel. We walked the few steps to the beach and skipped into the cool and refreshing water. The waves had some force in them. A big one came and I was fully drenched. Playing in the water with the waves reminded me of home in my little island in the Philippines.

After a while, I gazed towards the beach. I saw a dog frolicking in the shallow part. Oh, no, am I seeing this? Little brown balls coming out of the dog's behind. For real? That lady is letting her dog crap in the water several feet from us. Okay, the party's over. This good time has gone to the dogs.

~ Nida Spalding






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