We had the cutest and coziest little cabin that overlooked Battleship Row and every morning was delight, however, the evenings were stunning with the sun going down. I felt like I was in a little tropical town and had my very own beach as we sat out on our little porch each evening. We rose early for coffee and to pick the kids up for fun filled days on the beach. (Did I mention, we were ALONE at night?) I have my cousin Mike to thank for that! Yes, we were honeymooners for evenings. While we were there, we sold our house and it was kinda fun going back and forth on the cell phone as the bidding war began for our house. So, at the end of the day...we sold our home. I love Perdido Key. There are not a lot of tourists and the Gulf Beach is white and soft on your feet as well as calm waters this year and NO JELLIES! It was fabulous. On Wednesday we were at the beach and had only been playing in the sand and soaking in the rays I was called to find out that my "just turned 90" grandmother had passed away. Everyone was trying to reach me for a whole day and I guess we were in a dead zone. Wednesday was the only day that we enjoyed the water and sun for just a few hours. After I found out, I was a mess and we headed back to the house and began making phone calls. My uncle reassured me there was nothing really to do and he would make all the arrangements and try to enjoy the rest of our vacation. Her memorial service is being held this week as she was cremated and this allows for family members to come from out of town as well. Thursday we all headed to Orange beach (about a 25 minute ride) and played at Waterville. Brianna was fearless and rode every water slide there was to ride at least 5 times each. Brian and I enjoy the Lazy River. It really was fun to relax and have fun watching the kids enjoy themselves. We brought May along with us and she giggled and laughed all day. She is such a delight. I am proud to call her "family!" The most excitement we had all week was going fishing on Friday. Oh my heart at the fun we all had. My cousin Mike said, "No-one will believe this fishing story. So, it is a good thing we are all witnesses!" It is a grand tale for sure. Let me set you up for the happening. There were eight of us on the boat and man-o-live what fun it was riding out to the mouth of the Gulf before it opens into the bay over a man made reef (where a ship was sunk) and we anchored ourselves in about 1 foot swells. We all gear up to go fishing and Mike helped Brianna with her fishing pole (her fist time fishing ever) and while the rest of us were continuing to get our poles out Brianna "hooked" a fish. It kind of freaked her out a bit but she held onto that pole just as Mike told her. I was pretty proud. He then held onto the pole and had her sit between his legs so they could bring in the fish and she got frightened so Mike took over. Well, the fun began. FISH ON! Mike wrangled to the back of the boat and came up to the side and it was a BIG FISH. Super fun to watch. As the fish got closer and they could see that the net was NOT BIG ENOUGH to bring the fish in, Steve got his "hook thingy" (there is a proper a name for the tool-but have no idea what it is called) and prepared to bring the fish on board. The fish was in and out of the water and Mike kept a tight reign on him and brought him to the side of the boat. Brianna's eyes were as big as plums. We got the fish on board and we measured him and we all kept reliving the excitement. There were other boats in the area and they all watched with just as much excitement. The catch was a 48" King Mackerel. Brianna hooked him and Mike brought him in. It was so much fun I tell ya. The fishing story does not stop here. My son Kaleb also caught a few Spanish Mackerel. They were about 20" long but this is the story to be told that no doubt has to grow with time. It is the REAL STORY-I witnessed it. Kaleb had hooked a Spanish Mackerel and Mike was telling Kaleb how to get him on board the boat. Kaleb was at the back of the boat and as the Spanish was being reeled in he was jumping out of the water. The closer Kaleb got him to the boat we realized a Barracuda was chasing him and he bit off the back of his of the Spanish. Kaleb still reeling in the Spanish a Shark was in the chase over the Barracuda. Yes that is right, we were witnessing "Survival of the Fittest!" first hand and we had a front row seat. Our hearts were jumping with joy and we just could not believe our eyes. While all of this is going on, I am thinking to myself...I hope to heck I do not have to tinkle as my big butt is NOT jumping over to cool off nor anything else. Shark, Barracuda, and my butt would not be a story that would be told. So, we all held fast to safety of the boat. The pieces of Spanish you see in the photo above is the bitten off Spanish from the Barracuda-Shark chase and we used the remaining parts as more bait. As our fishing had slowed from all of the excitement, Kaleb started to get a little sea sick as our other buddy Taiki. We looked up at the ocean and realized while we were all relishing the big catch the ocean swells at grown with the incoming tide to at least 3 feet. So, we headed into the bay and went swimming at Fort McCray. We just beached in the sand and hung out for awhile to get cooled off and tell our story over and over. We were all pretty tired and the sun was very hot. So, we headed in and got showers. Brian and I picked up the fixings for a FISH FRY and all I can say about that....is the King and Spanish Mackerel fed 15 people really well and we were stuffed! Saturday was Brian's 44th Birthday and we hung out at the beach all day! We left our towels, chairs, and cooler on the beach to come in for a late lunch at Vallarta Mexican Eatery and Brian had a huge Margarita and a special gift from the staff. Later that evening we all went to Triggers Seafood Restaurant and filled our tummies to capacity. We had a fabulous day. Memories of our week and retelling of the FISH STORY and of course, wishing it would never end as Sunday brings the drive going back home to the real world of happenings. Perdido Key time is "Island Time." No rush, no fuss, and just "whenever" you get to it goes there. You gotta love that life! As I drove back home (letting Brian relax as he has to go back to work on Monday) my memories lingered over the week and then my memories of my grandmother dominated my thoughts the entire drive back. Fighting back tears and realizing my true grief for her leaving this earth finally had set in. Family is what mattered to her the most. And I think this is true for most people in general. But my family is special in that we remember her with grand thoughts of love and devotion and how tenacious and gregarious she was in life. She lived a full life and because of her...I am greatly the person I am today. She taught me to follow my dreams and LOVE. She said, "love fully and learn to accept love through ones own pride." Allowing others to come into your life and make your fuller is what she believed. She will be greatly missed and now I know...I have a large place to fill within her legacy. She was a grand lady of great class and open arms to all. She embraced life fully and held her family close to her. This is what I want. My family (no matter how extended) is important to me. I want them to know how much I love them as much as my grandmother loved all of us (especially me!). My grandmother, born in Alabama-left this earth in Georgia. Sibling to 9 other brothers and sisters and she travelled the world, sold real estate, was a shoe model for Muses "back in the day," has left us more than the memories she gave us...but the love and grace of her laughter and cherishing the moments that mean the most.
"Write it down" she used to tell me, someday your children will read it and it will become their memory as well through your thoughts and word. "Never take anything for granted. Life is fleeting and you need to do more than stand in the line....GO ON THE RIDE and drink in the fun!"
Bertha (Bea) Frances Loden- Thornton-Schultz