"Are you all right, sweetheart?" Rudy asked Inga the following morning.
"I'm fine," Inga replied with a yawn. Rudy knew that her words weren't necessarily true, but he also knew that she didn't want him to worry too much about her.
"Are we still going to the seashore today, Uncle Rudy?" asked Josef.
"I don't see why not," said Rudy. "The weather looks perfect."
"Hurray!" shouted Anna, jumping up and down.
"You both have to eat breakfast first," Inga reminded them.
Breakfast was quickly over with, and the family set out for the seashore.
"I love the weather here," Inga commented. "It doesn't rain as much as it does in Germany, and the winters aren't nearly as cold."
"So you don't miss the snow?" Rudy grinned.
"Well, only at Christmas...I mean..."
Rudy laughed. "Old habits die hard, don't they?"
"I only meant it was always so beautiful covering the trees and rooftops, but there's much beauty here as well. There are fig and olive trees, and wide open fields where sheep can graze."
"And seashores," Rudy pointed out.
Inga laughed. "And seashores."
Rudy parked the car under a shade tree, and the family got out and headed for the shore. Together, Rudy and Inga spread the quilt and sat the picnic basket on it.
Anna ran straight for the water, with Josef following closely behind.
"Stay where we can see you!" Inga shouted after them.
"Come on, kids, let's make a sand castle!" Rudy suggested.
Josef was content to sit shaping wet sand into fortresses, moats, and bridges with his uncle for a while, but little Anna soon became bored and began to run around in the sand.
"Let's look for pretty seashells," Inga said, taking her daughter by the hand.
"There's one!" Anna shouted excitedly, running to pick it up. Rudy and Josef soon finished their sand castle and joined them.
After awhile, they all got hungry and went back to the picnic basket. Inga took the sandwiches and drinks out, and they began to eat.
Afterwards, Anna took a nap while Rudy and Inga talked.
"She reminds me so much of you," Inga said as she watched her little daughter sleep.
"How I wish her grandparents and aunt and uncle could know her," Rudy said wistfully.
"They're watching from above," said Inga consolingly.
"Of course they are," said Rudy. "And they'll meet her when the Messiah comes."
"Will the Messiah be here in time for my birthday?" asked Josef.
"Perhaps." Rudy laughed and ruffled his nephew's hair.
"I want to meet my Daddy," Josef continued.
'You will some day," Rudy assured him.
"If the Messiah comes before my birthday, then my Daddy will be here for my birthday too," Josef observed.
"That's right." Rudy grinned.
After awhile, Anna woke up and played in the sand with her brother some more. Later it got darker and cooler and they all went home. Josef took the seashells with them and made a necklace for his mother out of them.