Volume 23, Number 133,

by Loreena M. Lee

This is a sandcastle saga, and
Woe to all those who, instead,
Had gone to the Abbotsford Air Show
Or spent all the whole day in bed.

Down at the beach in old White Rock
From the pier to the end of the land
The sea lifted up her tide’s apron
Exposing hectares of sand.

As soon as the sun had arisen
From over the hill came a sight.
For onto the beach poured great numbers
Dispersing to left and to right.

They came by the handfuls and dozens
In every shape, age group and size.
With their lunches and beer in a cooler
And dollar-sign gleams in their eyes.

Soon there were hundreds and thousands,
And still they came on, young and old
The cars were all stopped on the hilltop
The buses were fit to explode.

You see, they were giving prize money
For each category’s best try.
The teams had been practising weekly,
And this was the test do or die.

They brought with them buckets and shovels
And one wheel-barrow per team.
As soon as the starting gun sounded
They worked up a good head of steam.

And low and behold, in an hour,
There began to arise from the sand
Such castles and ogres and dragons
Ne’re seen here before in this land.

The teams plotted, shovelled and sweated
The bystanders watched, cheered them on.
They smoothed and they patted and sprinkled
‘Til the allotted time was all gone.

There were autos and giants and igloos
Tubes of toothpaste, toothbrush in hand,
Elephants, sharks and volcanoes,
All wrought from the magical sand.

Oh yes, there were other diversions:
Like trampoline shows, games of chess.
Voodoo jets from the air show roared past
A hovercraft stopped by, no less.

Then came the crucial half-hour.
The judges frowned, pulled their chins.
The onlookers patiently waited - they
Were anxious to hear all the wins.

When at last the results were all in
The mayor stood up, straight and tall.
Smiling, kindly and gracious,
He said, “Thank you, folks, one and all.”

The prizes were duly presented.
The winner, ecstatic, gave voice,
The losers, (good-naturedly) grumbled.
Some questioned the judges their choice.

But look: How quickly the ocean
Comes creeping on foamy tip-toe.
Nibbling at all of the structures
Until, alas, down they go.

As the sun brightly painted
An horizon-wide sunset in gold,
A few people lingered. They stayed on
To watch the last sandcastle fold.

Soon most everyone had departed.
To barbeques, picnics and such.
Leaving the ocean to tidy
And smooth with her rhythmic touch.

At the scene the next morning, no one could
Have guessed from the rippling sand
That so many people had been there
Creating a fantasy land.

Each year now old White Rock is hosting
A sandcastle fete that’s such fun.
So if you want great entertainment,
(Or prizes), be sure that you come.

(A tribute to the first Sandcastle Competition held in White Rock in 1981. Three years later they moved it to Harrison Hot Springs where it became an international event.)