A Day at the Beach Part III – The Conclusion:


We’re heading home today and I’m ready to get there – to sleep in my own bed and get my house in order in preparation of a short (after all, this is the Memorial Day weekend) week. Hanging with the fam has been fabulous, noisy and even a bit argumentative at times, but what family doesn’t argue when you’re stuck together and can’t get away from each other??

There are two things that we always do when we’re here. One is shopping. Silver Sands and Seaside are our favorite haunts but I noticed that some new venues have popped up that we haven’t even tried yet. I’m looking forward to that next year. There used to be a terrific glass shop near Sundog Books in Seaside but a lot of the stores on the front of the shopping area have closed and turned into empty space or a restaurant like Crush. However, the Ruskin Street shops have blossomed and there are some amazing art galleries there.

The second tradition is the family dinner. Usually we wait in line at the Red Bar for overpriced food, noise and the ambiance of a crush of people trying to get back and forth to the bar. When I was younger I was hip to that. This time we went to what I assumed was going to be a local retreat; good thing we got there early because on our way out the line was already snaking down around the alligator habitat.

After dinner, the husband and I went to Bud & Alley’s for a drink. I vote that as our family dinner destination next year. We people-watched and chatted. It was nice to have some time to ourselves to be out and about.

Speaking of the husband, he’s out snorkeling at the moment but he brought me back some great shells yesterday, three of which I will keep and the rest the kids can fight over. I told ya’ll I was re-reading Gift from the Sea and now I’m going to channel Anne Morrow Lindbergh and tell you my thoughts on these three shells.

This shell looks ugly at first sight. It’s not that pretty pink color that so many Gulf shells have, nor is it translucent and pearly. It’s a dirty gray, twisted and gnarled. But it’s interesting to me. I wonder what kind of shell it is and what kind of animal, if any, inhabited it before my husband brought it back to the beach house. It reminded me that being unique and interesting is important. Find the things you love and do them with total abandon and passion.

This shell – again, not sure what kind – is so beautiful to me. It is unique and imperfect in its own way too, but it’s continuous and gorgeously pink-brown on the inside. This shell will sit on my night table at home to remind me that classically beautiful isn’t even something we should aspire to. Classical beauty is bestowed by God; it cannot be created or even maintained, really, by man. It just is. But beauty is available in so many forms that we often discount the more enchanting and unexpected kinds. Don’t!

How can something buffeted about by the sea turn out so perfectly? This third, last shell is small, and yet every bit of it is complete, flawless, impeccable – like a beautiful string of pearls. Amazing. Inspiring, that, isn’t it? That we can go through life battered, bumped, pounded and pummeled by circumstances and still come out polished to perfection on the flip side. Isn’t that, really, what sanctification is all about? I think so.

Two contemplations:

1. Once you get your 30A sticker, you start to notice how many other people have them.  I saw a magazine article in Southern Living from April, with pics of people, world-wide, who have the sticker. One was of a man in the Middle East somewhere; it was stuck to his backpack.

2. A 45-minute workout here feels like two hours at home. Between the heat and the lack of shade, my suggestion is that you bring a water bottle. Also, it’s a lot more gratifying here because I sweat through my clothes. That never happens at home.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these moments from the gorgeous Gulf Coast!

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