i’ll never forget my days by the water
a childhood so perfect
it almost hurts to remember
seashells and crab boils, best friends and cousins
a brother so close
he was almost my double
sunburns and skinned knees and sand in our eyes
fishing and sandcastles
huge wide-open skies
potluck parties where parents talked politics
where active listening happened
and no one left mad
“beach bum” friends of my parents, ex-soldiers
recovering from war
found peace in the waves
bonfires, fireworks, beach birthdays and family
acceptance and love as
abundant as sunshine
i’ll always remember
those days by the water
I stumbled on the concept of “100 Word Wednesday” in a blog called Bikurgurl and decided to participate this week, Week 15 of the challenge. The prompt was this beautiful lighthouse, and the rules are simple: write something 100 words long, use this image or another of your choosing, and link back to the original blog. The lighthouse made me think of my childhood living by the water on a very different kind of shore on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas.
This rough little poem came spilling out of me as I thought of those halcyon sand-ridden childhood days and so many memories flooded in. Everything seemed so safe, so permanent, so lively-lovely in our tiny town of 600, Gilchrist, Texas. My brother and I went to the beach almost every day, even in the winter. My aunt and uncle moved just down the street from us, and our cousins became more like brothers. Beach birthday parties and fireworks spawned grass-fires and the scruffy men of the volunteer fire seemed delighted to be called out. My mother made mirrors rimmed with sea shells and sold them at a local art gallery.
My parents, while definitely not hippies, had escaped the mind-numbing sameness and materialism they found in suburban life for the quirky, slower and sometimes downright backward way of life on the Bolivar Peninsula. I didn’t realize at the time that the larger world was present, even there. Mom and Dad hosted election parties and invited all kinds of folks from both sides of the political aisle, and taped the lively but respectful conversations to send to my uncle, who worked for Hamilton Beach in Africa and was on a plane that was hijacked on his way home (he survived). A young man who was AWOL from the Army climbed up our stairs turned himself in to my Dad on our deck one Saturday morning while we were watching cartoons. “Beach bums” staying in a cabin a few doors down from us turned out to be Vietnam vets, confused and weary guys trying to patch up their lives and come to terms with their experiences. They were kind to an awkward tween-age girl; they paid me a few dollars to embroider peaceful sayings and seagulls on their frayed bellbottoms. They remained friends with my parents long after they all left the beach for more stability inland. Hurricane Ike took away the entire town in 2008.
So many more memories and stories, but this was supposed to be a post for 100 Word Wednesday. So I’ll leave you with some links with related stories and a few pictures.
- More Winter in Southeast Texas: Birds in Gilchrist
- Now You Know: a Poem for My Brother
- How Far is Heaven? Remembering Kim-n-Steve
Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook