2017-04-12 / Editorials

Don Lively


Okay, where were we?

Oh, yes, I remember now.

We were at the beach.

Well, I was at the beach.

Many of you were at that little golf tournament that finds its way to our neck of the woods around this time every year. You know the one I'm talking about, where the best golfers from all over the planet gather to compete for the opportunity to slip into a green jacket on Sunday afternoon.

It's the same tourney that I plan to go every year, since I've never been.

Once again, I didn't go.

Ah well, as they say, there's always next year.

Lots of you didn't go to the Masters either.

Last week we chatted about "island time" and how it affects folks. While goofing around on Facebook, I noticed that many of you who didn't go to watch the fellows smack the little white ball around the fairways and the greens were spending the week the same way that my bride and I did.

On some beach, somewhere.

It's a tough way to live, but, somebody's got to do it.

As a reminder, my epiphany about life on the beach only occurred since I moved back to the Blessed South a few years ago. Before that, I was more of a mountain man than a beach boy.

I didn't like the feel of sand between my toes.

Whenever I'd visited a beach in the past I always got too much sun and spent the next three days miserable and the next two weeks shedding scorched skin.

I thought of Red Lobster as top-of-the-line seafood.

Not anymore.

These days, I'm officially a beach lover.

The very first beach trip that I can remember was to Tybee Island when it was still known as Savannah Beach. Daddy's idea of a vacation was to drive down on Friday afternoon in time to spend a few hours on the beach, then another couple of hours the next morning, then back to the farm in time for him to plow till dark.

Very quick trips, but fun ones.

On Friday night we'd go back down to the beach and sit with our feet facing the surf. The small waves would break over us while small fish tried to nibble our toes. Shrimp would hop and pop and somersault over our legs and we would try to catch them in mid air.

We always stayed at the same place, a distant cousin's beach house a block from the sand. After Mama lathered us down with some sort of lotion to ease the sting of the sunburn, big brother Urb and I, being the "big boys", always got to sleep out on the second floor, screened in porch. I can still remember the sounds of the waves and the breezes singing their ocean lullabies as I drifted off to sleep.

During those young years we also took trips to Jacksonville and Daytona. Biloxi and Gulfport. Even Key West, where we swam in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico the same day.

I'm not sure when I lost my desire to, as Jimmy Buffett puts it, sit "on the beach till my body got fried".

It might have been due to living in a landlocked mountain paradise Out West known as Colorado. Once the Rocky Mountains got into my bloodstream, four decades ago, mountain streams and deep valleys and alpine peaks were where I wanted to be, not windswept shorelines. I could take a sleeping bag and a few supplies and spend days hiking around above and below the timberline and never had to worry about sunburn or jellyfish stings.

But, then, that epiphany thing happened.

I was sitting on a South Carolina beach surrounded by my closest friends and family, Margaritaville music playing through my headphones, the sun playing hide and seek behind puffy, white clouds, enjoying a cool concoction made up of pineapple juice, lime juice, Mountain Dew and some other dark liquid manufactured in Jamaica.

Suddenly, I was back to the beach bum roots of my youth.

So, to all of you golf aficionados, I hope that last week was magical for you. I hope your favorite players hit well and won money. I hope you got autographs and souvenirs.

For the rest of you, the ones who traveled to the Caymans or the Bahamas, or the ones who sought out beaches closer to home, I know you enjoyed your time.

And, it's not even summer yet, so, I'll see you around.

On some beach, somewhere.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin' At The Dixie Moon, and, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

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