California Lifeguard Stories — It’s the Small Things

T.A. Mann
6 min readAug 12, 2021
Life surprises you, at the perfect time

I was standing in the sand in front of my lifeguard tower at Mountain Road beach; the time of day was leaning towards 6:00 pm, and the slow sigh of relief was descending on those still sticking around for a few more magical moments. I was resting against the crossbar of my tower for about 15 min in silence. The rusted red metal frame was cold to the touch and made quite the contrast to the warmth of the sand, just a beautiful quiet ending to a beautiful day when all of a sudden I feel something with the soft touch of purity curling around my knee. As I quickly looked down, a small innocent child from one of the families that would frequent my beach had come from behind the tower and quietly embraced the lifeguard with her little arm. I had never felt that kind of safety with anyone, and yet this little girl did with me as if it was perfectly normal. I held still with no reaction so as not to disturb this priceless moment. As if a hummingbird decided to rest on your shoulder before continuing on her way. This little girl with her arm around the lifeguard’s leg and her head gently nestled on the side of my thigh had the same magnificence. There we both stood, frozen in time, gazing out to sea.

I have always found it a mystery why I can remember only some events in my life while the majority are lost to time. Why that particular moment in my life? What is it that makes something so special in our memory banks that we remember them with such clarity? The experience with that little girl happened some 50 years ago, yet I can recall the entire beautiful exchange. When our life passes before our eyes at the time of death, will these be the moments that are relived? If so, then I am a very lucky guy.

Tide Pools

It was the middle of August with the late afternoon breeze so common the closer you get to 5 pm. I was guarding the Boys Club tower on the North end of Main Beach when I was approached by an elderly couple from the direction of the Beach Park and Coast Hwy. They were neatly dressed in street clothes and shoes rather than something comfortable for the beach. “Excuse me, Sir,” said the elderly gentleman with that…

T.A. Mann

T.A. Mann is new to writing. This new landscape has only begun to emerge on his horizon and he eagerly embraces this new frontier.