There is a picture of my dad and me at the beach taken 30 years ago. It is my favorite picture of the two of us. He loved the beach, the ocean, the breezes and the warm sun. His vacation destination was always a little quaint spot, with cinder block houses, a gas station and as few tourists as possible. It was a spot on the Florida coast called Laguna Beach and it truly was a magical place.
Not a high rise in sight, just cottages built by families (not corporations) who loved the ocean as much as he did. There were pool tables at the gas station and he taught me to shoot a mean game of pool. He also taught me to love oysters on the half shell.
Laguna Beach today no longer exists as it did back then. It is a typical Florida resort. I suppose there are no quaint little cinder blocks beach communities in the Pan Handle of Florida anymore.....so sad. Rick remarked a few days ago that I no longer seemed to love the beach and the ocean the way I once did. In a way, that is true. When my dad died, my love of the coast seemed to fade. What I have realized through the years, it is not my love that has faded, I just miss those small intimate cozy beach communities from years past.
A few years ago, we were at the beach for 4th of July.......I looked around and freaked.....there were so many bodies on the beach you could not sit down......traffic was backed up for miles......high rise condos, expensive shops, and restaurants were everywhere.......I thought, my god, Atlanta has moved to the coast.
But tonight, I think of beach trips with my dad and mom. Of family and friends filling up bungalows, the smell of coppertone and sea and ski permeating the air. Picking blueberries, fishing, walking the beach at sunrise and sunset and the sound of voices echoing through the night as everyone sat outside in the cool breeze. I remember sun burns, and weathering Hurricane Camille under the kitchen table with a mattress on top, listening to the winds howl and the sea rage.
This Father's Day if I were granted one wish......it would be a walk on the beach with my dad, just one more time.
Happy Father's Day.