Harvey H. Jackson: Rain at the beach
Jul 10, 2013 | 3062 views |  0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
July 3.

Around 3 in the morning, rain began to fall on Seagrove Beach, Fla. It rained through the day and into the night.

So much for “rain before 7, fair before 11.”

There we were with a houseful of kids — ages 13 to 22 — who were no more excited about spending rainy days inside with parents than the parents were about spending rainy days inside with them.

Surveying the soggy scene, the kids decided to mount an expedition to the closest theater, where they spent a rainy afternoon watching a movie and “hanging out.”

Parents left behind enjoyed the solitude as best we could. We watched the weather, which was getting worse, and worried about the kids driving on roads full of cars full of people in search of something to do.

Around suppertime, which they never miss, our progeny returned to the news that the rain would continue through the next day, so the Fourth of July parade was cancelled, thus depriving spectators the experience of seeing my son, an employee of Big Daddy’s Bike Shop, parading in a lion costume.

Fireworks were also cancelled.

July 4.

With plans for the Fourth dashed, the children slept late, so the morning was slipping away when they finally rose and stumbled out into society. There they sat in a semi-comatose state in front of the TV (a rainy day gift from God) until they decided they were hungry. They ate. Thus energized by sugared cereal and Pop Tarts, they decided to defy the rain and put on their red, white and blue as planned.

While parents figured out how to bring the Fourth of July picnic inside, children brought out the ancient decks of cards and the primitive board games that my parents purchased years ago for just such a day. They also brought out technology in all its wonderful variety — X-box and iPhones and laptops.

One even read a book.

The rain continued. There were flash-flood warnings all along the coast, roads washed away, and out in the Gulf the waves, kicked up by near tropical-storm force winds, were so dangerous that the double red flag went up.

The fishing trip we scheduled for the 5th was postponed until the 6th.

For the dogs it is just another day — yes, all three are with us. They rise, eat, play, sleep and wait, their little noses pressed against the glass door leaving a line of dog-snot two feet from the floor.

They are waiting for “Coal” and “Luke,” Labs from down the street that come by with their owners around 4 for an afternoon romp on the beach and in the surf.

As the magic hour approaches, Libby the Lab, who can tell time, gets anxious. She follows me around, goes over to the window and looks out, expectantly. Bo the Lab and Willow the Lab, which belong to my children, have learned from Libby, and until the other Labs arrive, they are three bundles of anticipation.

But rain and high surf have cancelled the romps, so by 5 the anticipation has passed and the Labs settle down to see what happens next — which they do with skill and determination.

Meanwhile, the kids abandoned technology for more traditional games. Some engaged in a fiercely contested game of Scrabble. Others played poker with Cheese Nips as chips.

They stayed up late. I didn’t.

July 5.

A break in the weather. All along the strand, the prisoners were set free. Down they went to a beach littered with seaweed full of the flotsam and jetsam that was picked up somewhere and deposited here — beer cans, flip flops, a toothbrush and a pair of glasses. Since red flags were still flying and code enforcers were at work (yes, they can ticket you), no one went in the water. Instead, they played around on the sand and watched the sky, which soon closed and the rain returned.

Then the beach was empty again.

July 6.

The rescheduled fishing trip was still on. Mighty fisher-folk rose early and by 6 were on board the Huntress, heading out the Destin Pass. By 6:30 they were back at the dock. The Gulf was running too high for fishing.

Home they came.

Once again the weather began to clear, and my niece, a captain in our Air Force, headed down to the beach to give it one more try. The rain returned and so did she.

Then the toilets backed up. The plumber came, got it fixed — we hope.

All that done, I took a nap and the kids went back to doing what kids do on a rainy day at the beach.

For supper I fixed my famous shrimp and pasta, accompanied by my famous gumbo.

Another lousy day in Paradise.

“The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful.” — Jimmy Buffett

Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Eminent Scholar in History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist and editorial writer for The Star. Email: hjackson@jsu.edu.
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