Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sand, Tequila and Turtles - A Great Memory!

My pal Elizabeth is such an organized girl, that she makes me tired sometimes. On this particular road trip her OCD turned out to be our salvation.

Me and her and our girls were headed to the beach in Granny's van packed to the roof with supplies for a few days away from real life in the 'burg. We left West Tennessee in the pre-dawn hours with no set ETA in mind. Our destination? The Alabama state park resort in Gulf Shores. We had gotten a wild hair and decided to head out for my favorite sandy spot with our adult girls in the back seat between the suitcases and tequila. Granny's van wound its' way through the foggy ribbon of US 45 through Bucatunna and Shubuta, Mississipi and down towards Mobile. Once we crossed the bridge there, it was only a matter of time until we were reached our destination. There was no money or desire to shop at the outlet mall in Foley. We wanted the BEACH.

BabyGirl has never quite forgiven me for not shelling out for her tatoo at that cool little place on the main strip to Beach Boulevard in August. The timing was just right for us, with most family vacationers having done their duty and headed back home for the school year. We had the place to ourselves except for a few stray surf lovers who propped their umbrellas up for the day and enjoyed the view. Our neighbors on the sand for those few days included an elderly couple who obviously adored each other and the Gulf as much as we did. A few miles down the road is Orange Beach, the commercialized version of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Just a hop skip and a jump away from there was the bar known as the Floribama, situated at the state line on stilts over the sea.

On the way home,we took a turn to the right and visited a fish house way off the beaten track on the river's edge. Fishing boats circled the old building where we picked up a styrofoam cooler full of shrimp packed in ice for Granny's payback on the van loan. Early that morning I had walked the beach to say good-bye. As fate would have it, I ran into a couple of volunteers who were monitoring a sea turtle nest. Don had a stethoscope draped around his neck and Sandy followed his every step toward the black plastic drape protecting the spot where the eggs were. Records of the nest were protected in a plastic baggie under the sand, with every movement recorded for the next amateur biologist to follow. Sandy wrote to me later and said that the babies were born shortly after I left. The usual ritual is that their protectors dig a trench in the sand so that maybe ONE or two turtles will make their way to the waves to live out their twenty year old lives.

Written by: Poopie