Thursday, February 18, 2010

Writer's Challenge #4 - My Favorite Place to Visit

Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts is hosting a new Writer's Challenge. Our subject is Our Favorite Place to Visit. Make sure to stop by and read all of the entries. This challenge brings out the best in all of us! This was an easy one for me, my favorite place to visit is and always has been St. George Island, Florida. As I wrote this, I began to realize that the reason it is my favorite place to visit is less about the location and more about the fun times our family has shared there.

St. George Island is a very small barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The closest town of any size is
Apalachicola, a beautiful fishing village situated between the glorious Gulf and Apalachicola Bay. As you turn onto the bridge to the island, you feel lighter somehow. I'm not sure if it is the quality of the light, the smell of the breeze over the water or the wheeling gulls crying above. But it is a magical experience.

We have been visiting St. George for 10 years. It is a place where our family, scattered over different parts of the country, comes to reconnect and recharge. The cast of characters changes from year to year, but the wonderful times we have does not.

St. George is where I met my sister-in-law's cousin Skippy. A wonderful young man in his thirties, born blind and mentally challenged, Skippy taught me to remember the joy in simple things. He taught me that it is a blessing to raise your voice in song, regardless of your talent. He re-taught me the joy in just being.

St. George is where I met new nieces and nephews for the first time. It is where our daughter Caitlin grew to understand the bonds of family and the joy of acting like a goofy little kid when you are an incredibly serious teenager.

St. George is where we brought friends and "adopted" family members to revel in the freedom of no wi-fi, horrible cell phone reception and tv's that don't always work.

St. George is where I saw a sea turtle nest for the first time, and the drag tracks of that incredibly determined mother who worked so hard to lay her eggs where they would be safe. It is where I learned to turn out the house lights so that the little hatchlings would not be confused and would run to their home, mother ocean.

St. George is where I reconnected with my estranged father. It is where my father met his granddaughter for the first time. It is where I saw the light of absolute love in his eyes as he was surrounded by his adoring grandchildren. He told me once that the happiest days of his life were spent on this island with his children and grandchildren, after so many years alone.
It is where we scattered his ashes when he died. It is where I believe he is finally at peace.

St. George is where I learned the most important lessons of all. To slow down and be still. To rejoice in the joy that is family, for all their faults and foibles. To truly appreciate the beauty of nature and the magnificence of simple things.


Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Oh, Kat! What a moving post! I love the story of your dad and in my mind I'm picturing that wonderful photo of you as a baby with him. I have never been there, but have seen it from a distance from Cape San Blas. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories! Happy weekend...hugs...Debbie

Mumsy said...

Beautiful and moving story! There are so many emotions in this post, happy, sad, fun time, bad time, and best memories..Love it, Kat!

I think I'll check out this challenge later this weekend..Thanks for the info.

Lois said...

Beautiful post Kathy! I love St. George Island too. It is such a beautiful place. I am not sure if you heard about what happened there this past Christmas or not, but it was in the news here and no one could believe it.

Lori E said...

Kathy, thank you so much for sharing this in the Writer's Challenge.
Traditions are one of the most important things in a child's life. It grounds them as you saw with your teen.
Some places just suit us perfectly and as you said you feel lighter when you are crossing the bridge.
For generations to come you will hear them speak of the special times they had at this place. Grandchildren and great grandchildren.
What a wonderful story.

Deb said...

sounds like a great place...with great family bonds for you...great post...

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh Kat, this sounds like the most wonderful and peaceful place in the whole world. What precious and wonderful memories. I just loved this post. Hugs, Marty

The Muse said...

Hello, Ms Kat :) i see where all these joyous images have come from...
Not hard to imagine why you and your family love the area so...and may favorite part is as you cross the bridge.
Letting the burdens wash away...and allow yourself to be renewed!
A vacation spot...true, but I sense it is so much more..!
Glad you have a place like that, my friend!!

Debbie said...

You make me want to go to St. George!!~We lived in South Florida for 9 years and there is so much we did not see!~I love this song Sailing, one of my favorite songs, nice to listen to it scrolling thru your blog!~ Thanks for stopping by my home tour I appreciate it!!~

Jay said...

Oh, gosh, you almost took me there! And then you had me thinking back to my own childhood holidays in Cornwall and Devon and most especially in Norfolk where my mother's family came from. What I remember best about Norfolk is the family gatherings, the talk and the laughter and the shared meals.

Isn't that how it should be for a favourite place?

Amy said...

What a touching post. Sounds like a wonderful place and that I was there right with you. Thank you for the wonderful trip!

Mumsy said...

I have an award waiting for you on my blog, if you do this sort of thing..

sanjeet said...

There are so many emotions in this post,

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