Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dear Lord, Please Don't Let My Memories Get an Oil Bath

Every time the t.v. is on, it oozes more depressing breaking news of the ever expanding oil spill. I live right on the coast; as a matter of fact, it is only about a twenty-five minute drive from my home to the water. The area of beach that I am talking about is Dauphin Island. It is a much less commercialized spread of beach in our area. I have so many memories there from my early childhood all of the way to last year when we took Finn for the first time at two weeks old. I was adamant that he be taken as soon as I felt good enough to do it.
Finn on his two week birthday

Beginning in kindergarten up to my middle school years my mother's best friend Rhonda had a condo where we always bunked-up. Those are the greatest memories of my life. You always hear the cliche of how as child you don't have a worry in the world and to enjoy every moment of what you think is boredom. Looking back, as an adult, I believe this is the gospel truth, and every time I think of a time of fun, innocence, and no worries I think back to the island summers.

The water tower that greets you...

I have a younger brother and Rhonda had four children. We would fish under the lights until two or three in the morning, play on the beach all day, go swimming at the country club, and munch on sno-cones until all of our teeth were a spectrum of syrup. At night for dinner there were tacos, burgers, spaghetti, and, of course, infinite amounts of redfish, flounder, and mullet. At night and during nap time we would watch videos from our I Love Lucy library of VHS tapes or play on an original Gameboy. Remember the great big one with gray screen? (...and we thought those were small.) I can still feel the sand in the shower and the beds and sand spurs in the carpet.

The door behind which lies the most cherished of memories...

One after noon that Duffie and I scooped baby shrimp from the water and tried to sell them to the neighbors who were huge environmental fanatics and told us to put them back and let them get bigger. Following in our footsteps, our little brothers decided to sell sea shells in the driveway. Of course we teased them relentlessly, but those little buggers made fifteen bucks! I remember when a go cart place finally opened and there was finally something to do after dark. I really do not know how my mom and Rhonda did it: just them and six kids running wild. Those were the summers of which I hope heaven is made.

The gully where Duffie and I caught the baby shrimp...

When I was in middle school, my parents got their own house down the street. It just wasn't the same though. It had a swimming pool, dock, and no beach. I missed staying with our friends and going to the club and the beach to swim.

The boardwalk from the country club to the beach: it's the one we are walking on in the header...

While I was in college, it was the place I would to get away, get space, breathe. It was my place of calm, my sanctuary. I have spent countless hours there just me and the water. Zac and I even had a couple of our first dates there. We walked on the beach and talked, talked, talked. The header photo was taken there as well. If you didn't read the background story on that photo, you can read it here. His sister had a great wedding reception and straight "throw-down" there in 2007. I have spent countless hours there just me and the water.

Island Rainbow: sno-cones, burgers, and hot dogs

When Rhonda died in March 2007 after a four month battle with stomach cancer, my mind and heart were overflowing with all of these beautiful memories of summers together that some people never get to experience in a lifetime. When I left her funeral service, I drove straight to the island and just let the salty air wash over me. With a small stick in my hand I wrote her a thank you note in the sand then drove around and visited all of the old spots. In the Estuarium I purchased a fish key chain made of wood that I always keep with me.

A view from the beach...

I am pouring my heart out about this today because this horrific oil spill is threatening the future memories for our children, not to mention the what it will do the restaurants and businesses. Shrimp and seafood is an enormous business in our area and their crop will be virtually destroyed. I volunteered to help, but the transplant team would probably have a massive coronary themselves if they ever knew I even thought about it.

Please help if you can. When I called to volunteer they said that there were calls coming in from all over the country to help. The damage will probably last a couple of years, not forever, but knowing that it will even be that long until we get the beach back breaks my heart. I have always said that if I ever win a million dollars, the first thing I will do is get my own house down there so that Finn can have the same memories that I did, although it will be tough to compete with mine.

If you are interested in helping with the clean up effort, here are some links:

Do you have something that you would like to pour your heart out about?
Do it and link up at Shell's place.

* With the exception of the photo of Finn, all of these photos were taken by myself about three years ago to use in a collage for my brother's eighteenth birthday.*


  1. I've been there! well at least to the fort and the estuary/aquarium. A few years ago we took our very first trip to the Gulf Shores and rented a house in Fort Morgan right on the beach for a week. I love it there! I remember visiting Dauphin Island, I loved it there! So pretty! I hope everything is ok!

  2. That photo of Finn is gorgeous.

    I feel the same way about the beach as you do. It's a place of peace, of calm, of memories, of hope.

    Saying prayers.

    Thanks for linking up.

  3. Wow, this broke my heart. I hate that so much is being threatened by this oil spill. I pray that it will all turn out to be ok and you will get to keep your wonderful memories and make new ones

  4. we've been glued to the news now wondering at the fate of our precious beaches here in florida. it's so sad. the hubs and i were down at the beach last night for dinner and his cousin ordered shrimp saying, "i'd better get it while i can....". just about every memory i have is of the beach. i grew up here and it is just heartbreaking thinking of the environment being destroyed like this. i hope and pray that the mobile area will get through this (last i heard, destin area should make it without too much problem).

  5. it definitely looks like a beautiful place filled with what sounds like great memories of your entire life...it is so very sad what happened, i just pray that everything will get cleaned up to restore the beauty of it all!

  6. What beautiful memories you have of a magical place! The coming oil spill is effecting so many and the knowledge that the damage could last YEARS is just sickening.

  7. I loved reading your fond memories of being a kid and the beach! I love that boardwalk! Your little guy is adorable! Stopping by from Shell's and now following. I love your style! Have a great day!

  8. Lovely pictures- and it sounds like you have some very fond memories indeed ... hopefully if enough people try to help in some way, then the spill can be minimized as much as possible ;-)

  9. Aw, the photos are great. It look so pretty there and I really hope the damage isn't horrible and it the effects go away faster than projected.

  10. WOW I love all your pictures. I hope the spill won't leave too much damage that would be so sad! Wishing you a great evening :D

  11. EEK *fingers crossed*. Such lovely pictures and tribute to your special place!

  12. I, too, have great memories on the beach with my family and friends. My family now lives on the West coast of Florida. The beaches there are uninhabited for the most part. We usually see dolphins no more than 20 ft away and are always finding sea life on the beaches. What makes them great is their natural state has been mostly preserved over the years. Now, I fear for what my children are going to know of these beaches.

    Followed you from Sits!

  13. this oil spill is so sad! the beach I grew up on isn't affected, thank goodness, but it's terrible to think that those things marking our childhoods might not be around for our children...

    stopping by from SITS

  14. The oil spill is terrible.
    I love the pics...especially of Finn. He's so little!

  15. I am following you on Friday Follow.

    Jeanette Huston


  16. What beautiful photos.

    I'm sad about the oil spill. It's a shame. :/

  17. Such great photos... and I totally feel the same connection to the ocean. There I can breathe. And, we too would love a vacation home at the beach *someday*.

    I also worry about the effects of this spill and wish I was close enough to go wash animals or whatever... probably a donation will have to suffice for now though.