There is something truly satisfying about being able to call oneself a “local”.
I never tire of the look of surprise on people’s faces when I remark that I was born & raised here. “Lucky!” they often reply, with their eyebrows arching into their hairline! This predictable response is often followed by, “What a great place to grow up!” As I watch their mind race over what it must have been like to spend your childhood at the beach, I find myself wondering what they recall while visiting their mental scrapbooks.
Maybe their days were spent playing baseball at the local park or strolling through local art museums. Perhaps visions of Broadway shows and “camp-outs” by the lake come to mind? Regardless of where their wandering memories take them in that moment, I can’t imagine it surpassing the joy of being a beach-brat!
Sometimes I wonder if the passing of time molds memories like creeks smooth stones, slowly washing away rough edges until only the most beautiful parts remain. Now, as an adult, I find myself reflecting more upon my surfside childhood solely because of the countless “storybook” memories the ocean has given me. In true beach-brat style, ninety percent of these memories occurred on, near, or at least within earshot of the ocean.
Days spent in the warm sand digging the deepest hole my short little arms could manage in hopes of building the grandest of all sandcastles. Standing in the edge of the surf, toes squirming in the shifting sands, patiently waiting for the latest wave to recede… Giddy with anticipation of catching just ONE of the many sand fiddlers scurrying for the safety of their tunnels.
Learning to harvest fresh clams from the mud with nothing more than a garden hoe and a wire bucket. The thrill of hauling in the old, misshapen crab pots bobbing in the waterway…fingers tightly crossed that we’d yield a large enough catch to have blue crabs and hushpuppies for dinner.
On days like today, when the sun is shining, the skies are blue, and the winds are all but non-existent…I remind myself of what a blessing it is to call this place home. I marvel at how everything has changed…yet nothing has changed. In spite of the new highways, obtrusive “box” stores, and scores of new faces… nothing that counts ever really changes. The ocean still smells like the ocean, the sand fiddlers still run for cover, and the children still chase them with delight.
On days like today, a sweet sixty-five degrees in January, I am grateful that I’m not just “down for the week”… that I don’t have to turn my keys back in on Saturday morning. Days like today make me want to forget about the laundry, unplug the telephone, and sink into the peacefulness of the afternoon.
At this very moment, sitting on my sun-porch, a good 500 yards from the Intracoastal waterway and double that from the Atlantic…
I can hear the roar of the ocean…and I am thankful that this is home.
by: Casey E. Reeves