Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Like coming home

It seems like my annual case of the Januarys are soon followed each year by beach fever. I was looking thru the Bonechives this morning and realized I posted about having beach fever last year on February 25th. This year, it's a day later. I feel so regimented...

The last hour of the trip to Gulf Shores takes you off Interstate 65 and onto state highway 59. At first, there's nothing much but trees. But after a few miles, you start thru a string of four or five little towns with churches and Auto Zones and Winn-Dixies lining the side of the road.

The terrain has now completely flattened out. You see your first palm tree. And finally there's Foley, with its outlet stores and its golf courses. The number of seafood places increases exponentially. And you know you're almost there.

Old 59 has become familiar over the years, but I still remember my first trip. The anticipation. The excitement as the road came to end, realizing what lay just beyond the walls of the hotels and seaside restaurants. Going to the water park. Eating pizza at Papa Rocco's. Catching my first throwed roll at Lambert's. But most of all, I remember the ocean.

Taking off my shoes and running thru the sand like a four-year-old. Or a mental patient, you decide. Standing like a statue and letting the uprush wash over my feet. Sitting in the sand under the stars and feeling like God was almost close enough to touch. My amazement that such a place existed and my regret that I had let twenty-two years of my life pass before I experienced it. It was love at first sight.

I always knew there was a beach, that the waves crashed, and that the ocean was salty. But until I experienced the amazing peace that is listening to the rush of the waves, until I got my first mouthful of salty water, until I saw the ocean meet the sky, until I felt that indescribable breeze engulf my whole being, I really didn't have a clue.

Since that first time, everytime, coming to the beach feels like coming home.

I hope to get home soon.

"Little umbrellas shadin' margaritas. Coconut oil tannin' senioritas. Oh, now I know how Jimmy Buffet feels..."

23 comments:

  1. I sure miss the beach! We haven't been since Hawaii...that was too long ago. Instead I sit here freezing my tailfeathers off...while DH is near the beach in FL. Only he doesn't get the fun of the beach. Instead he gets the bugs.

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  2. We always get the first little thrill when we see the big water tower in Bay Minette. It's still a bit of a drive from there, but it's a landmark that tells us we're getting close enough to start getting excited :)
    Lambert's is the best...we go there every time we go to the beach. I haven't quite gotten the fever yet...I think because I'm pretty sure that the weather's not just great there yet either...but it won't be much longer.

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  3. Taking off my shoes and running thru the sand like a four-year-old. Or a mental patient, you decide. Standing like a statue and letting the uprush wash over my feet. Sitting in the sand under the stars and feeling like God was almost close enough to touch.

    Wow Bone. Pure beauty. Whole post is

    Wish I could remember the ocean for the first time. Am glad to see it so vividly through your eyes

    One more week and I will be living in North Myrt. Wow me

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  4. I lost count of how many times I've read this since you posted it. I've come back, hopefully to have something magically pop into my head that has a fraction of the magic and beauty this post does. I've given up that hope.

    The fever has always easily been in my top 5 Bone posts. Ever. Now this one is too. Maybe you should write about the beach more often.

    Then again, please don't :) If I didn't have a countdown going for my upcoming beach trip, I'd have wanted to hurt you for this one.

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  5. Renee: Me too! Aww, DH went South without ya? That's quite a buffer zone.

    Jennifer: I almost mentioned the Bay Minette water tower! I even googled it to see if I could find a picture of it.

    Yeah, it's too cold to go now. So instead I write about it to tide me over :)

    And Lambert's is... well, you can't beat Lambert's.

    Pia: Thank you. And yes, wow you! Are you looking forward to lots of shagging when you get there?

    TC: Feel free to read it as many times as you like. I'll let you in on a secret. Each time you read my post, your beach trip magically grows nearer :)

    Thanks.

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  6. It's never too cold! The beach has this inexorable draw during every time of the year. If you've yet to be there in the Winter . . or just as Spring is emerging . . you must go. It will give you a new perspective to write about. I can't imagine anyone capturing it better than you can, and hopefully will.

    If you can, take someone special with you. Preferably of the opposite sex. Watching the sunrise as you sit on the beach, your bare feet buried in the sand, a blanket wrapped around you both . . You will love it. I promise.

    Beautiful post, Sir Bone. We would be lucky to have a "Beach Fever" post from you every year for decades to come.

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  7. You've captured the true essence of the beach with your post and made me want to go again too. Daytona Beach was the first beach I saw and I was 21 before I got to see it. But, its Virginia Beach that holds my heart. I loved that place. I wouldn't mind going back someday. Have a nice day.

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  8. I love the beach. Don't want to live there...just always visit.

    btw: just yesterday another friend wished me a happy birthday. You aren't the latest.

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  9. my family was just talking about planning our beach vacation. I love the beach.

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  10. this was lovely...my university town was located by the ocean, I could see the ocean from my dorm, those were the best years of my life...to walk by the ocean, to sit and stare for hours on end and weave dreams...your post brought it all back, thanks.

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  11. I live right on the beach, and I can tell you with absolute certainly that I could never live very from it.

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  12. These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
    Nothing remains quite the same.
    Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
    If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane

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  13. Our getaway place isn't at Gulf Shores, but if you get on 98 and drive east about 200 miles, you'll be at our front door. And, I know what you mean about coming home.

    The weather was perfect this weekend...so much so I have tops of feet that are sunburned! But... it was worth it to wiggle my toes in the sand :-) And, to feel the sand wash away under them when the waves roll in.

    Sigh. I've only been home a day and I'm ready to go back.

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  14. Lillith: Thank you. I've been at least once when it was colder. It was in Jan/Feb. But since I only get to the beach a couple of times a year, at most, I prefer to go when it's warm and I can play in the water :)

    Michelle: Thanks. You should definitely go back! I can never stay away for very long.

    Charlotta: I've wondered if I'd get tired of it if I lived there. I don't see it happening :)

    Drat! I wanted to be the last.

    HotPink: Me too! I've never been to the Texas beaches. Had an uncle who lived in Galveston for awhile, but I never visted. Bad nephew was I.

    UL: I could see the ocean from my dorm, those were the best years of my life

    I have little doubt the two are closely related :) Even a bad day at the beach isn't all that bad.

    Scarlet Hip: I'm officially jealous. You could at least put up a live beach cam.

    Cami: Exactly :) I was just listening to some Buffett last night.

    Judy Thomas: Well, Gulf Shores was my first love. But my affections have shifted east to Destin in recent years.

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  15. I agree. I miss the water. There's something about that briny scent of the ocean that screams 'home' to me.

    Oh, and makes me hungry.

    I love Lamberts, and damn them, and their hot rolls. It's hell for a carb-addict.

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  16. Now see, you went and posted about GS and now I want to go! It's probably not going to happen this year and that is terribly depressing. Devastated last year when we drove through and the park/pier were GONE. Miss it, can't wait to visit.

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  17. Though I'm currently living in Upstate South Carolina, I'm a Tampa Bay guy and spent countless, countless hours on Pass-A-Grille, watching some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

    I have to admit, though: I love the mountains too.

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  18. Holy Crap! You were 22 before your first beach trip? I guess a 3 day weekend to the beach was all the vacation my family could afford when I was a little girl. We went every year. I have made at least one trip to the beach for 24 years.

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  19. The beach! Sometimes, it makes me cry when we have to leave the beach. There's something magical about the ocean. I wish I could remember the first time I saw the sea, but I can't. I was probably about 3, and it was the Pacific.

    Gorgeous post! *sigh*

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  20. 22 before you went to the beach?! Did I read that right?

    I always cry when I have to leave the beach. It is magical there. I'm crying now.

    Kidding. But I could if I wanted.

    :)

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  21. At the risk of sounding like a true northerner: What's a throwed roll and Winn-Dixie?????

    Hope you get a trip to the beach soon!

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  22. nice memories--you took me on a good journey in the mind even if I didn't actually get sand between my toes.

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  23. Eileen: Ah, you know Lambert's! Cool! Yeah, those rolls are baaaad.

    Kontan: I went the year after Katrina. It was sad to see so many of the places damaged or completely gone.

    Jim Melvin: Well, there is a lot to be said for the peace and beauty of the mountains. But I'd probably choose the beach everytime. Thanks for stopping by.

    Melanie: Yeah, I got a late start. Our three-day weekend vacations were always to Nashville and Opryland. I'm not even sure I knew Alabama had a beach until I was 17 :)

    Actonbell: I've seen the Pacific once. I hope to see it again someday.

    Thank you.

    Shelby: LOL OK, that was pretty funny. I've never cried leaving the beach, but it's always a little sad.

    Jen: At Lambert's, they bring a tray of hot rolls out every few minutes and toss them across the dining area to anyone who wants one. And Winn-Dixie is a grocery store, apparently unique to the South :)

    Sage: Thanks. I was taking myself on a mental journey, as well. It's the best I can do until I can get down to the beach again.

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