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Dennis’ Tidbits


An early epiphany

Dennis 5On Sunday, it was yet another beautiful day in the neighborhood with clear sunny skies, gentle breezes and mild temps near 70 degrees with clean little one- to three-foot waves on a fairly glassy ocean surface. I’ll bet the farm that there’s somebody in a place like Buffalo putting their house up for sale uttering “enough of this, we’re outta here!” That’s why we live here! You couldn’t pay me enough to ever leave this little slice of Paradise, ever!

On this date, November 20, 1997, local ocean temps fell to 68 degrees, thus ending an incredible run of 229 consecutive days with ocean temps at 70 or above, dating back to April 5 of that year. It’s very doubtful that record will be broken anytime soon. A mega El Niño, arguably the strongest of the 20th century, was going on, right up there with the powerful 1982-83 event. 

Those two events greatly affected climates around the globe. The reason I bring this to your attention is the fact that the past summer of 2022 saw the exact opposite when it comes to local surface ocean temps. There were very few two consecutive days that were alike, sometimes warming or cooling as much as eight to 10 degrees in just a 24-36 hour span, a product of an erratic wind shift on almost a daily basis. The wind’s velocities were abnormally strong for the summer which normally has the calmest winds during that period of time, seldom blowing more than 10 mph from any direction. My only question is, did they outlaw El Niño?

At 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon on August 3, 1952, my fifth birthday, throngs of visiting tourists were running for cover at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim as a severe thunderstorm was invading the area. Within a few short moments, the crowded Rim was totally devoid of people who suddenly sought any shelter they could find. Except for me. I was jumping up and down feverishly with glee shouting skyward “Yea, show me what you’ve got!” 

My folks, only a few feet away, were in utter amazement at my bravery, while trying to coax me into the car. Of course, I would hear none of it, replying “I’m busy watching Ma Nature in her fury!” I think at that moment they were considering putting me up for adoption.

Honestly, I wasn’t afraid in the least bit as I marveled at the chaotic conditions. Intense lightning lit up the skies every few seconds followed almost immediately by ear-piercing thunder that literally shook the steep walls of the Canyon. It was right then and there that I found my path for my life. That event made that much of an impression on me and today, 70 years later, nothing’s changed one bit. I know it sounds silly but I remember that day like it was yesterday.

My utter enthrallment with the atmosphere and the ocean has not waned one single bit, I kid you not. Just ask anybody in this town who knows me and they’ll tell you the same thing. I mean, how many folks do you know who learned how to swim and body surf at the age of 3? It’s almost like the ocean and the atmosphere singled me out while yelling “Welcome aboard!” Some folks never find their path, whatever it may be. Mine came to me like a personal gift from our Creator and as a result, I can’t thank Him enough.

See y’all next week, ALOHA!


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In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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