Tide Table

Bare toes, blue water

Minutes stretched thin across time

Watching tide’s return

Sand pipers scurry

Shy of ripples’ foamy touch

Dashing to safe shore

Footprints on the beach

Now you see them, now you don’t

Magical sunset

(Note: I’m tired of being sick and writing about being sick, so I went to the beach in my mind. The photos are all from Pinterest.)

What I Didn’t Ask

She was sitting alone on the beach under her umbrella, this pleasant looking middle-aged woman, reading her book and looking up occasionally at the brilliant blue Gulf. I watched her surreptitiously from my own chair for many minutes, imagining the scenarios that might have led to her being there.

I wondered if she, like me, has a husband who travels frequently leaving her to her own devices during the week. Perhaps she was a recent divorcΓ©e trying to find herself in the timeless rise and fall of the waves before moving on with her new single life. Maybe she was an international jewel thief, hiding out on Florida’s Forgotten Coast until she could find a place to offload her ill-gotten booty. Oh, the possibilities were endless.

Then, she spoke to me, “Come, share my umbrella.”

The temperature was 95Β°. I could hardly refuse an offer like that, even if she was an international jewel thief, so I picked up my chair and settled in beside her, instantly relieved to be out of the direct rays of the sun. I thanked her and for the next hour we chatted like old friends.

She was closer to my age than I’d thought when watching her from several yards away, and attractive in a gamine sort of way. Her name was Tammy or Tammie, maybe Tammi. I didn’t ask for a spelling, and she and her husband were spending the week camping near St. George Island. Her sister and brother-in-law were planning to join them later that day.

Tammy/Tammie/Tammi lives near Thomasville, Georgia, where they farm. They grow pecans among other crops. Her husband of 40 years had contracted skin cancer from spending many long hours working in the sun, so he stays in the camper during the day and comes to join her once the sun starts to set. It’s their routine.

She’s one of four children, three girls and one boy, and their father died when they were all very young. Her mother was a strong woman who kept their family together and raised good kids. Her husband’s family is very big and boisterous and fun.

I told her about Studly and me, our kids, and grandkids, and our many moves from state to state in our 42 years of marriage. How we hoped we could retire and live out the rest of our lives in Tallahassee, but how hard it is to be so far away from the rest of our family. I told her about my deceased parents and how much I miss them. I told her about my brothers and their families, and about Studly’s own boisterous family.

Soon it cane time for me to leave. I thanked her again for the shade and also for the conversation. As I walked away it occurred to me that she hadn’t mentioned children, and I hadn’t asked if she and her husband had any. Surely the existence of children would have come into the conversation at some point. Still I wish I’d asked. That, and about the jewel thief theory. That could still be a possibility.

Peace, people.

What a Great Day!

Monday was about as perfect as a day could be. I’m too pooped to write much, so instead, using a series of bullet points and emojis, I’ll share my experiences:

  • Dressed in my πŸ‘™ and a long πŸ‘š
  • Drove to the post office to mail two πŸ“¦ πŸ“¦
  • Cast a πŸ—³ for Gwen Graham for Florida’s governor in the Democratic primary
  • Drove to St. George Island 🌴
  • Ate yummy scallops at the Blue Parrot 🌊
  • Set up a chair on the πŸ–
  • Watched 🐬 🐬 frolic in the 🌊 🌊
  • Ran into πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ from Tallahassee on the πŸ–
  • They gave me a bottle of πŸ’¦
  • Visited with a nice lady from Georgia who shared her β˜‚ with me
  • Got a bit of 🌞 on my lily white skin.
    Ate 🍦on the way home
    Showered and petted two anxious 🐱 🐈 upon returning 🏠
    Getting ready to eat dinner with a🍴
    Really must go now, so I can chow down, but there’s no emoji for leaving. There is for πŸ‘‹πŸ» πŸ‘‹πŸ», though.
    ✌️ , people!

Ahh, The Beach

When Studly Doright came to me one chilly spring day in Illinois and told me he’d been tagged for a position in Florida, I was elated. We’d lived in Melbourne, FL, for four years before the company transferred us to Illinois, and I’d fallen in love with the white sand beaches that were only ten minutes from our Florida home.

It wasn’t until I started searching online for homes in or near Studly’s new office in Tallahassee that I realized we weren’t going to be very close to a beach. I was a bit dismayed.

Studly was already in Florida living in an extended stay hotel when I called him from Champaign, Illinois, to ask, “Where the heck is the nearest beach?”

He hemmed and hawed a bit and finally admitted that he wasn’t sure. Certainly if our positions had been reversed locating the nearest beach would have been at the top of my list of priorities. Alas, Studly isn’t a beach person. The only sand he cares about is in the traps he tries to avoid on the golf course.

Once our home sold in Illinois and I joined my husband in Florida I had two urgent tasks: find a home and find the beach. It took me awhile to find Doright Manor, but just a week to discover the beach at St. George Island. And while it’s an hour and a half drive from our house, it is a lovely place.

Yesterday I drove down through the towns of Crawfordville and Sopchoppy, Lenark Village and Carabelle. I turned left in Eastpoint and over the bridge to paradise.

St. George Island’s residents don’t allow big chains to operate on their turf, so the hotels and restaurants are mom and pop businesses.

I enjoyed a lunch of grilled mahi mahi tacos at the Blue Parrot overlooking the beach.

Then I changed into my bathing suit and set up a spot on the beach just short of the lapping waves.

The heat of the June sun was intense on my super pale body, but every now and then the clouds provided some relief. And when things got too hot, hot, hot, I waded out into the water to cool off.

I took a horrible selfie. I had on my dark sunglasses and couldn’t actually see what the picture looked like until I returned home and began editing my photos. Is it just me or is my face crooked? Also, I need cheekbones.

We’ll call this one “I Think Chipmunk Cheeks Needs a Bigger Hat.”

The photo below is my favorite of the day. I really needed an umbrella like the one pictured.

I didn’t stay too long on the beach for fear I’d get a sunburn even with SPF 50 slathered on my lily white limbs, but my brief visit to the sand and the sea restored me. I returned to Doright Manor feeling better for having made the drive. I guess it’s not all that far away after all.

Peace, people.

A Little Memory

I love that Facebook posts a daily memory on my feed. Sometimes it’s a photo I shared last year, sometimes a silly meme from way back. 

Today, it was a post from three years ago on this date. I wasn’t blogging back then and the name Studly Doright hadn’t yet occurred to me–he was still David. Likewise our home hadn’t yet been dubbed Doright Manor. How boring, right? Yet somehow we still existed. Here’s what was going on four years ago:

We had torrential rains all night Thursday and woke up to a steady drizzle yesterday. I had to work for a couple of hours on Friday morning, but coaxed David to take a drive to St. George Island in the afternoon.  

Of course he grumbled about the rain, but I promised to take him to an outstanding burger place if he’d just take me to the beach. I might’ve made other promises, but I’m not telling those.  

We took the scenic route and soon enough were rewarded by the sight of waves crashing against the shore and the “stork” houses as I call them, raised on pillars to allow the water to flow around and through with minimal consequence. Even the ugliest, plainest of these homes on stilts fascinates me. I think I need one.

We found Bayside Burgers at Eastpoint just in time for a late lunch, then took the bridge over to the island. I could visit every day. Tide was high when we got there, but it wasn’t raining; although, we could see areas of precipitation all along the beach.  

The clouds were so low that the differences between heaven, earth, and the gulf were difficult to discern. Who could imagine the beauty in the different shades of grey?
Note: Bayside Burgers is no longer in business! I was so disappointed on my last visit to discover it had been torn down and a Mexican food restaurant put up in its place. 

The picture below is not one I took, but I found it on Pinterest when I searched “Eastpoint.” Likewise, the featured image of the bridge is from Pinterest. Eastpoint and St. George Island are must see places on Florida’s Forgotten Coast.

The Grandkids are Coming! The Grandkids are Coming!

Saturday (tomorrow!) I am meeting our son in Jackson, Mississippi, and bringing our oldest granddaughter, Dominique (13), and our youngest grandson, Jackson (10), home with me for two whole weeks! 

Eeeee! Time spent with the grands is the best.

I have a list of fun stuff to do while they’re with me in Havana, Florida, including trips to the beach, to the water park in Valdosta, Georgia, and to the wonderful Tallahassee Museum. Plus we’ll fish off of the dock in our backyard and maybe play Pokemon Go! I see exhaustion in my future.  

The blog might take a backseat for two weeks, but surely I’ll have time to add some pictures of our adventures to keep me in the habit of posting daily. I have a few posts queued up, as well.

Now I need to go freshen the bedding in the guest rooms and make sure my stock of snacks is sufficient for two hungry kids.

So excited! Peace, people!

We saw the kids in May when they were forced to sit still for a photo.

Apalachicola Art Walk

Saturday morning I had no idea I’d be sipping a beer at noon at a corner cafe in the small port town of Apalachicola. Having had the most luxurious night of sleep I’ve experienced in years, I lingered in bed feeling as if I’d been kissed by an angel. 

Of course, it was probably only Studly Doright who’d pecked me on the brow on his way to the golf course. I guess his grey hair was halo-like in the semidarkness, but you never know.

Before showering I looked on Facebook and read a post about an art walk in Apalachicola. Knowing that Studly would be tied up with his favorite hobby well into the afternoon I made haste with my shower and got on the road.

I’ve written about Apalachicola before. The quaint fishing village on Florida’s forgotten coast is known for oysters and sponges and apparently, art. 

I snapped a few photos as I walked about town:

  
    
    
    
    
   
I even purchased a photograph (below) by and directly from photojournalist Richard Bickel whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Conde Naste Traveler, Newsweek, and other publications of note. It makes me happy.

  
After a lunch of salmon and grapefruit salad (oddly wonderful) at Tamara’s Cafe, I drove across the bridge to Eastpoint and then crossed another bridge for my first taste of the beach this year on Saint George Island.

   
    
  
   
Studly Doright doesn’t understand my attraction to the ocean. I tell him I have a compulsion to be in the presence of sand and waves and water, but the only sand and water he acknowledges are on the golf courses he plays, and he does his best to avoid landing in either.

So I sent him this photo, and told him sand was a good thing. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t impressed.

  

I’m already planning my next beach day. 

Peace, people.