You would think after 25-plus years in the newspaper business I would have learned not to make promises about “next week” or “next issue.” Last week I told you I wanted to use this space to tell you about what we call “deadheads,” or sponsored ad space in Blount Today. I still want to do that, but it won’t be this week. Why? Well, it’s partly a selfish reason and partly a logistic reason.
You see, I am on vacation this week, and the information I need to write the “deadhead” piece is locked in my desktop computer in Maryville and no one can get to it but me. Me? I’m in North Carolina, sitting in a rocking chair, gazing out at “my beach.”
That’s the selfish part of why I’m postponing the promised “deadhead” piece until next week. I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than sand, sun and seagulls.
What is it about Mountain folks that makes us love the beach almost as much as the mountains? There is, of course, no better time to be in our beautiful mountains than now, in late October, as the majestic paint box of Mother Nature colors our vistas. But my beach, Holden Beach, has some October surprises of its own.
This is only the third time in my life I have been to the beach in the fall. We’re summer beachers, coming every year in the summer for as long as I can remember. Most of those trips were to Holden. My first visit to this beach was when I was 6 years old, and my great-uncle David brought my brother, mother and I here shortly after we lost my father, his nephew, in a military plane crash. I have always loved this quiet beach, and it has changed less over the last almost 50 years than any beach around it. It is still a family beach - no hotels, high-rise condo units. It’s a beach for folks who don’t need waterslides and amusements parks and nightclubs. Just beach, fishing, sunning and great seafood, straight off the boats.
We came once as a family in September 25 years ago. Brett was a baby, and Trey was 3. Brett cried all week, so it wasn’t our favorite trip. I came to North Myrtle in October about 7 years ago with my friend DeeDee. That was a great trip, mainly because of the company, and because I had some big life-changing decisions to make, and the solitude of the beach gave me the time I needed to make them. Everything turned out great, so that trip has gone down in my book as a gift from heaven. Had I made a different decision, I wouldn’t have been where I needed to be when the opportunity for Blount Today came along, so I am even more grateful for that trip every year.
The truth is, we all need a time to stop the madness and concentrate on just how majestic this world around us truly is. A quiet day at the beach, or in the mountains, can give us that. The school of dolphins rising and diving in the early morning sun, the insane pelicans crashing into the waves at what surely looks like life-ending speed and the diamond sparkles the morning sun makes on the water puts life in perspective. Surround all that beauty and wonder with a loving husband who is content to help cook a seafood feast, hold my hand and rock on the porch and give the dog long walks at the edge of the surf. Add in Trey and Brett, my two adult sons, and Kinsey, my new daughter-in-law, who entertain with stories of their childhood and favorite memories of growing up. Spice it all up with time to get to know Kinsey’s family, who planned this week and let us tag along, and it sincerely is a recipe for renewal and new perspective.
What we do in our real lives is important. How we weather to economic storms ahead of us is frightfully crucial. How we cope with what life throws at us is vital. But if those silly pelicans can hit that water with such force and come up bobbing nonchalantly on the waves, surely, in the end, all will be right with our world.
Sherri Gardner Howell