Friday, October 26, 2018

An Old Friend in Mexico Beach

October 26, 2018

I, like many others, am a hurricane Michael survivor. My family members here in Tallahassee are all safe and sound, The worst inconvenience suffered was 6 days without electricity. Which meant no cable TV, no internet, no hot water, and most of all NO A/C. With the help of generators we got by with floor fans, listening to radio, accessing the internet on cell phones charged by the generator. All is back to normal now. I am able to get back to blogging even.

Tallahassee was spared. Had the storm veered 50 miles east that would not be the case. We would have lost significant infrastructure. Many homes would have been destroyed just like those to the west of us. Tallahassee was bruised but there were towns that were killed or at least placed on the critical care list.

Ground zero was Mexico Beach Florida. That town is about 90 miles from us. I have an old friend that lives there. She has been my friend since 1972 when I first moved to Tallahassee. Ironically enough, I moved to Tallahassee in June of that year in the midst of a hurricane. It was Hurricane Agnes.

This old friend of mine is the El Governor motel. I discovered her early in my first year as a traveling salesman. It sits right on the beach adjacent to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. I had to overnight in my job to work the western part of my territory. I elected to make the El Governor as my overnight spot. From there I could access Panama City, Port St Joe, Apalachicola, Marianna, Blountstown, Carrabelle.

I met a wonderful, beautiful girl in my 20's and married her. We were blessed with children. We could not wait to introduce them to our friend in Mexico Beach. We were within her walls 4 times on the average in a given year. Spring breaks from school, summer vacations there, birthdays, special events. We would many times stay there in a 4 bedroom town home. Friends of the family, boy friends, girl friends of our kids accompanied us there. From there we could access Captain Andersons restaurant, Angeloes restaurant, Miracle Strip in Panama City, theaters in the malls, etc. Ultimately we introduced her to grandchildren and enjoyed so much family time there. Lazy, sun-filled, happy leisure days there on her decks and swings, cabanas, pool and lovely rooms with cooking and refrigeration in our rooms.

I saw a video of her on You Tube after hurricane Michael. It broke my heart. It was like seeing an old friend who had been in a terrible accident and was in intensive care. I don't know if she will live on. However, my hope is that she will.

I seem to keep learning the same lesson over and over. Nothing ever remains the same. Old friends get sick and some even die and move on from our association. I look in the mirror and see an old man who has lost his hair, his looks, his teeth, etc. The only thing that remains clear is that our spirits pretty much remain the same. The difference over time is the amalgamation of experiences, associations, love, joy, family, etc. Those intangibles that you cannot put in the bank, hold in your hand, wear on your body are the well springs of a life well lived. The winds of war, storms, illness, grief, sadness can beat on us from time to time. We human beings are greater than anything that can inconvenience us or make life difficult. What we are, are angels fallen from the presence of God into the storm of life. The British poet, John Milton taught us concerning that in his poem Paradise Lost. A myriad of experiences gives us wisdom and awareness. At the end we stand in the memories of many like the El Governor being weighed in what is considered as life experience. We should live our lives in a fashion that makes us worthy of reflection. Turn aside from anger, terse words, acts of inpropriety. Let us instead live our lives in a fashion that is expected of an angel.

Thank you to my old friend the El Governor. She has been a respite for my family amidst the storms of life. I am hoping that you survive this death blow you have been dealt.