Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering My Gulf Coast

This week, when my husband was flying home, he sent me a text that read, "Greta Van Susteren is on the plane. What do you want me to tell her?"

Actually he said "Greta Van Sustenance" because he loves to play with names, his attempt at subtle humor, but that isn't really relevant.

I wrote back,"Tell her thank you for her fair coverage and ask her to be diligent in covering the oil spill. No one else is covering it."

He briefly passed along my thanks and left out the rest. (She was gracious, by the way.)

After I wrote him my request, I thought, "Wow, I've resorted to reaching out to the press. That's pretty desperate."

But desperate times call for...

The truth is that I'm angry. Okay. I'm mad. Spit nails kind of mad.

It hurts to see photos of dolphins washing up on a Mississippi beach, pelicans covered in an unknown brown substance, and aerial photos of liquid spewing from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

I want to clinch my fist and shake it in the air.

I want to jump on a plane and show up on a beach, pen in hand, ready to sign up for HazMat training.

Today I found the blog carnival of Mommy Melee and I knew it was finally something I could do.

Tell my story...

The Gulf Coast.

It is the place I long to be when my lips are parched and my skin is dry in this small town of New Mexico.

The memories keep me going when I miss my home, The South.

I still smell the freshly caught red snapper on chartered boats named "High Cotton" and "Miss Elizabeth" dotted along the docks in Destin.

I taste fried shrimp and hot hush puppies dipped in cold ketchup.

I see the water tower at Pensacola Beach, shrimp boats in the bay under morning sunshine.

I spot a shell, yards away, along a sugar white beach, and run towards it before the tide rolls in, and the tiny shell disappears into the emerald waters.

I watch as my daughter steps into the salty,warm water, one toddler toe at a time, and falls in love with the place I hold dear to my heart.

I see the dunes destroyed by Hurricanes Opal, Erin, Ivan, and Dennis.

I see the great people of the coast rebuild them, along with their homes and businesses.

I hear the wind through the sea oats as my bare feet plod on the boardwalk that protects them.

I listen as seagulls fight over fiddler crabs and water laps over dock pilings.

I feel sand on my skin. It sticks to me and I brush it off with baby powder (a beachcomber's secret.)

I turn to find my towel has been wet by the incoming tide and I don't care. It means the sun will set soon and I can watch it fade below the horizon as dolphins make their last run to feed in shallow waters.

I gather my things- sunglasses, cover-up, an empty Pringles can, leftover bottled water, and walk back to the car, burned from the sun in the places I missed with sunscreen.

I turn around for one last look before we head home with our bucket of shells and broken sand dollars.

The beautiful Gulf Coast.

It has endured thousands of footsteps of tacky tourists in flimsy flip flops, spring breakers in air-brushed t-shirts, and many storms.

It has recovered.

It has survived.

I pray it will again, and that all we will have left of this great coast is not just memories.

Related Links:

A few of my posts about the coast I love, including the one featured by SouthernLiving.Com.

Be sure to read more posts over at the carnival:

Mommy Melee's Blog Carnival


auburnchick said...

What a lovely tribute! I live in Florida on the Gulf Coast, and these are the reasons why I love it so much. Hope you get to come down and visit soon!

Maria Melee said...

This is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

Debbie in Jackson said...

What beautiful images of the Gulf. Thanks you for such a magical post.

Caroline said...

This is a very beautiful tribute. And great to read and "get to know" other parts of the Gulf.

Roxanne said...

This very nearly made me cry. . .because even though I'm over on the "ugly" part of the Gulf, it's still the Gulf. . .and I have been blessed to walk along the white beaches of Pensacola a time or two as well.