Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Before taking the lighthouse tour, visitors loiter at the Interpretive Center. A family with four children waits for the 1 pm tour. In the meantime, they explore the exhibits and watch a video highlighting the history of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The title sounds like an oversell, but it’s a lovely location.
Promptly at 1, the family gathers for the tour, stands in the wind and gazes up. A tour guide in a dress and an apron steps outside to greet the afternoon group—the family with four children, a man cycling from Montana to Mexico, various couples from the Midwest, yours truly, my aunt, my sister, and my niece.
Perhaps because I am myself the fourth child, I’m smiling over the youngest from the family. She has red hair and a cascade of freckles. She listens attentively as the tour guide asks questions of the group. It’s an audience participation technique, but her siblings are quick to answer. She listens and nods at the replies that her outgoing siblings supply.
Later, the guide says there will be rules for climbing the lighthouse tower.
“No shouting,” the redhead suggests.
The guide nods, “That’s a good rule.”
The little girl beams, “You’re welcome!”
The guide asks the group, “What kind of oil do you think was used to keep the lighthouse bright?”
The redhead smiles helpfully, “You know, you should really watch the video at the visitor’s center.”
As the guide tries to explain that she has seen it before, and that she actually does know something about the lighthouse, the assembled adults burst out in laughter, and truly begin to enjoy the tour.