Long before I fell in love with Sheila, I had another love affair—one which has endured through the years. She was alive with energy and excitement. I gained an inner strength from being in her presence, yet I never knew what she would be like—sometimes wild and uncontrollable, and at other times, peaceful and serene. That love affair began at the same place where I would later meet Sheila for the first time—Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
I truly fell in love with the ocean and its sandy beach when I was a young boy, and it has maintained a magical, enchanting hold on me ever since my early youth.
There is something that is wonderful about being near the ocean, listening as its waves come in an endless pattern, time after time—sometimes rough and harsh, other times quiet and peaceful—licking and leaving its special treasures while taking sand with it as it flows outward. Two guys in college in the 1960s, made a record of an old tune that became a smash hit. The name of it was Ebb Tide, and it captured my love for the ocean in both lyrics and melody. I know many of you remember it, and like me, probably remember that it was first recorded by Al Hibbler, during the 1950s. The recording by Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, or as they were known, the Righteous Brothers, started like this: In the background was the intriguing sounds of sea gulls and a wonderful, melodic crash of waves. Next, Hatfield, who sang tenor, begins with the beautiful and descriptive words, “First the tide rushes in, plants a kiss on the shore, then rolls out to sea once again.” The song eventually builds to a heart-shaking climax toward the end that makes this beach lover tremble with pure ecstasy each time I listen to it.
Now, I must tell you if you don’t love that, you must be from North Dakota or Iowa or some other forsaken place. Sheila and I still enjoy going to the beach to charge our batteries, something that the ocean can do for both of us during short or long visits.
As a youth, I must admit that hot weather and the beach was pure heaven to me, but as I have grown longer in the tooth, winter is the favorite time of the year for us. We enjoy ambling endlessly along the beach, wrapped snugly in our winter coats, jeans and a woolly stretch hat to combat the sting of the wind and cold. Despite the cold, it is a delirious thrill seeing the endless onslaught of waves coming in and rolling out, leaving foam from the water rushing hurriedly along the white sand.
Most of the time, there will be only a few other brave souls trolling along in cold solitude of winter on the beach, totally unlike the invasion of hordes of people during the hotter time of the year. We have long since stopped swimming in the ocean, but our romance with it continues into the autumn of our lives.
Wax Your Own Cheese
2 years ago