Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Life’s a BEACH
Hey y’all! I have on my “resting beach face,” which means I am feeling good and life is good. I have now been on vacation for 13 days, and at the beach for 10 of those. Never done this before but it feels really good, so much so that I have lost track of what day it is! I am well rested and my soul has been renewed. And not to brag, but the weather has cooperated greatly. Sunny and cooler last week, hot and humid this week, with a beautiful weekend ahead. Had one rainy day, which I needed and appreciated. I never even got out of my jammies. I cannot tell you how long it has been since I did that. Read several good books, including “Summer Guests,” the newest book by Mary Alice Monroe, an author I love. She was down here at a nearby bookstore, so I went to see her, bought the book, got it signed, read it, and loved it! Slept many hours on the beach because I stayed up late reading books and watching Jimmy Fallon – things I cannot (or do not) do at home.
“There is a definite magic about the beach. People are drawn to it. Your mind becomes clearer. Your soul is at rest. Your stresses melt away. Your body is cleansed. For a moment, all is right in the world around you.” -B. Atkinson
Visited the farmers market twice and loaded up on fresh veggies and peaches to go with my fresh seafood. My brother-in-law was in town one night and we had dinner at a hole-in-the-wall local joint that was new to us and very good. Got dressed up (which means I put on makeup!) and took myself out to dinner a couple of nights. There’s a wonderful place 10 minutes from my house, in Murrells Inlet – the Marshwalk (similar to a boardwalk), lined with restaurants and bars where you can legally walk around with your alcohol of choice. So I got a beer, put it in my special koozie, and walked around listening to live music at each restaurant while checking out their posted menus. Came across a new addition this year – the BREW BOAT (kids, we may have to try this – looks like fun!). Finally picked a restaurant that is under new management with a new name, Catfish Johnny’s, and it was really good. Had the best cheese grits and good ole fried shrimp (I only eat fried food at the beach). But the best part was that since I was SOLO, I sat outside on their patio, at the railing, overlooking the people walking on the Marshwalk, listened to the music at Bubba’s Love Shak next door, and watched the goats on Goat Island. What is Goat Island? It’s a 20,000 sq foot island off the Marsh Walk, owned by one of the restaurants, who also owns the goats and moves them inland during hurricanes and the winter months, but lets them roam and maintain the island during the warm months. Local yore says that people were growing weed on the island and the restaurant thought this was the perfect way to handle that problem. (Wonder if the goats got high? I mean, they do climb trees!) It has become quite the center of attention for all Marshwalk visitors. And I cannot come to the beach and not have dinner at my favorite restaurant: Frank’s in Pawleys Island. I love eating at the bar, talking to and watching the bartenders who are constantly making and pouring drinks. Plus there are always locals eating at the bar which makes for great conversation, and there is live music. Not to mention, the food is great!
So several friends, family members, and co-workers reached out to see how I was doing all by my SOLO self down here. Are you lonely? Bored? Missing us? Of course I missed all y’all! But I have not been lonely, and never bored. I started my vacation with plans to do so many things while I was down here since I would be here 2 weeks – visit the local state park, go down to Georgetown, go to Murrells for lunch one day… but you know what? I did not do any of those things. To quote my momma, who was quoting my grandmother, “can you do less than nothing?” Because that is about what I have been doing. Sleeping on the beach, reading books (Someone Knows, Sunset Beach, Summer Guests, Queen Bee), collecting shells, and getting in my daily 5-mile bike ride all over Surfside. I have now biked up and down every street and neighborhood down here, several times. And I was cleared (long distance by my physical therapist) to walk a mile, so… you know it, I have been walking that mile – half mile to the pier and back. And y’all, I am finally able to walk normally without having to remind myself to walk normally. Woohoo! Progress.
“The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t want to be around drama, conflict, or stress… I’d rather be sitting on a beach chair on some secluded beach.”
As I have said before, I have very little patience, except when looking for shells and shark teeth. It is my obsession down here. I mean, I have bags and bags and multiple red SOLO cups (pun intended) of shells at my house, but I cannot go a day without collecting as many as I can find. It’s like building a puzzle – you are ready to stop when you find a piece that fits perfectly and that leads to another and another and another. Same for shells. Sometimes it takes sifting through a 100 broken shells to find that special one. I might bend down to pick up what I think is a treasure, only to find it is broken, but was covering up another treasure. Then as the tide comes in, the ocean moves all the shell pieces around, uncovering that perfect shell. It’s my obsession and my stress reliever down here, since running is out of the question for 2 more months. Plus it is a great way to get sun on my back!
“Whatever you are looking for, is looking for you too.”
Life is like that. We are all looking for that elusive, perfect shell. But there are many broken shell pieces covering it up. And along the way, we find many beautiful shells that are not perfect, but are beautiful in their own right. Took me a couple of years to move aside all the shattered pieces to find my treasures. But I did.
“I followed my heart, it lead me to the beach.”
My younger daughter arrived last night! Just in time for our traditional meal at Bubba’s Fish Shack (different from Bubba’s Love Shak at Murrells Inlet) for dinner. We actually closed it down and yes, we ate at the bar and had fried shrimp – best ever! And my sisters are coming for the weekend. Life is good! And better than all that – Mom was released from rehab and is back “home” where her caregivers were so happy to see her and are taking very good care of her. She has perked up greatly and we are so thankful.
“Keep looking up…that’s the secret of life.” Charlie Brown
So sift around and set aside all of those broken pieces in your life and find the good part, the part that makes you happy to be alive. And if you don’t see it right away, have patience and know that it is there, just waiting for you to uncover it. And make the most of every day because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
PS – Did you know that all Froot Loops are the same flavor just different colors!?! Me neither!
One thought on ““Washed Ashore” Platters, June 1967”
I envy your shell collecting walks. K and I did our share of that years ago. Our kids came along eventually, but showed no interest in following our sport. Today I hobble to the water’s edge and drink in the majestic feeling that comes over me from the restless movement of that fearful yet friendly giant struggling before me. Unlike you, my ability to regain my youthful ability to walk will never return. Slowly but surely the wheel chair is waiting. My search was always for the Scotch Bonnet. Never found one in the wild, but I bought several examples at the shell shop. Not as much fun. If I ever hear a bone chilling scream from the direction of Myrtle or Murrell’s, I will know you picked up that big shark tooth.
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