childhood memories

Hiking – As Good As It Gets

It’s Friday and all I can say is – FINALLY!  I’m one of those folks who lives for the weekend.  And when the weekend comes, I try to make the most of it.

Last weekend, my brother and I went hiking.  Hiking has become one of my favorite activities.  After being cooped up in an office all week, being out on the trails is quite restorative.  

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Being 51 years old, I can remember the time before cellphones and the internet.  I gotta say – those were some good days.  We didn’t have crap being shoved in our faces 24/7.   Living in a rural area, we had an antenna for our television.  We could count on ABC, CBS and NBC and when the weather was good, we might get PBS.  We knew our neighbors and we looked out for each other.  

I spent my childhood playing in the woods, floating on inner-tubes in the river and hanging out at the fish house where I got my first “job” heading shrimp.  I was in second grade.  That job gave me spending money and later helped buy my school clothes.  It taught me the value of honest work.

I look at the world now and realize that we (my generation) were the lucky ones.  Our parents weren’t hovering over us every moment.  Seriously, it never occurred to my folks that it might not be safe for my sister and I to be floating on inner-tubes in a river by ourselves.  They told us where we could float and they expected us to listen.  And we did.

I see kids now – still in elementary school carrying cellphones.  Their little faces glued to the screens.  I can’t help but wish that I could wave a magic wand and drop them in the middle of 1976.  No cellphones or video games to occupy their time/mind. Instead, they’d have the opportunity to explore the world around them, to build forts, walk the woods, catch clams and chew on sour weed.  

The world wasn’t perfect then.  It’s not perfect now.  But for a kid – growing up “unplugged” was about as perfect as we could get. 

Maybe that’s why I like hiking so much.  For a few hours, I’m on an adventure, exploring new paths with no unwanted interruptions.  I’m unplugged and I’m lucky.

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My Perfect Day

Perfect days are hard to come by – but when they come along – you gotta dive in head first. Saturday was beautiful – sunny, highs in upper 70’s and a wonderful sea breeze.  After being stuck inside all week, I had to be outside.  I started with a visit to the river.  

The hermit crabs were doing their thing, crawling over the rocks and each other.

100_1432While the North Carolina coast doesn’t get to experience much in the way of the changing of leaves, nature didn’t totally forget to paint our little corner of the world.  We get wildflowers and berries and on occasion – something other than pine tree needles.

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Boaters took advantage of the day, too.  And while I’m sure this sailor was disappointed at having to be towed in, I loved watching the activity. 

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Sailboat being towed – New River

I met up with my writers group for lunch – that’s always a good time.  

And then I took a detour – went back to my childhood and visited some precious memories.

I grew up on the water.  My father was a commercial fisherman.  I spent my summers hanging out at the fish house. After “heading” shrimp (actually de-heading them is more accurate), I’d go home, get into a swim suit and go back to the fish house where we kids would climb onto the shrimp boats and jump off the sides – swimming in the slough.

My father is retired now.  My brother, however,  is trying to keep the family tradition alive.  He works as a school teacher, serves in the Army Reserves and in his spare time is repairing a boat my father and uncle built some 33 years ago.  

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My father overseeing my brother

There’s still quite a bit of work to do.  The outriggers need to be painted, the fish hold needs some work and the wench needs to be repaired.  But when they finish, she will be beautiful.

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outriggers

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the wench

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The view from the cabin

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a brown pelican

My perfect day reminded my of a line from one of my favorite movies:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

                                                                                                                           -Ferris Bueller

Here’s hoping that you can slow down and enjoy a perfect day!