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A Healing Beach Trip

Old classmates, reacquaintances, and reunions can be delightful. In the past five years, there have been some of each of these, and what a treat it has been!

Spring is on its way, but in the meantime, there was February and a girlfriend trip planned for Destin, Florida. This originated in my childhood hometown in south Mississippi where there is a group of ladies that periodically meet for breakfast. They call themselves the Breakfast Bunch; classmates from the class of 1973 who still gather to encourage, support, and laugh about life. Imagine my delight at being invited into this get-away as I have never made attendance to the breakfast meeting from my farm in North Dakota.

The commitment was made in August 2021 for February 2022. It was a longshot and life happened in the meantime. Plans needed to change on the amount of time there would be away from responsibilities and amongst my heart place in the south.

My childhood hometown along the Gulf Coast is a place of healing for me. Sometimes I stumble across someone related to the grandparents who lived near my home and cared for me occasionally as a baby. This woman jogged my memory of the lamps in her grandparents’ home with lovely crystal prisms- a little girl's memory of sweet times spent with neighbors. It brought back the memories of the beautiful wisteria, camellias, and azaleas and the fragrance of these southern flowers. The vegetable garden was carefully tended and the yard with chickens was neat and friendly.

The beach and water are soothing to my mind and heart and while I grew up on the bayou, the beach holds a sentimental haunt in my very being. It was a mental refuge to walk the beach to release the energy of life’s injustices. Walking has served this purpose.

The February trip started with a drive south, after considering the issue of winter weather. Realizing I had been driving back and forth to Minnesota all winter, my concerns vanished. Clear dry roads and warmer climes welcomed my road time and soon it was time to stop near St. Louis, Missouri to deliver beef to an old friend from high school. We chatted and while I didn’t have the pleasure to meet his lovely wife, we shared some laughs and he sent me on my way with delicious gulf shrimp fresh from the fryer. What a treat! Continuing to a dear friend’s near Jackson, Mississippi and spending a few sweet hours with her, I met an old friend for supper at a steakhouse on the coast! Not eating steak at a restaurant in forty years, the filet mignon was delicious, I must say. Afterward, heading to my only niece’s apartment, we laughed till we cried over the silliest things and played with her special doggie, Lika. Always lots of laughter with her!

The next day was spent having breakfast near the bayou and walking amongst the southern pines. A mardi gras parade took place and we gathered. It was so good to see old friends. The different culture helps me realize where I’ve come from. It has not been washed from my brain even though life has tried.

A fun shopping trip nearby and buying a fun pair of shoes on sale--why these? They remind me of a pair from my high school days!

Driving over to Destin, it was dark as I drove by the water and beaches, so I missed the view of the Emerald Parkway, but the welcoming friends overcame that grief. How sweet it was to see these ladies and have hugs all around! For the next few days, all my anxiety about being away for so long vanished. We were all there to enjoy each others’ company and in my case, get reacquainted. There were walks on the beach, hot tub talks, and quick swims in the pool; gathering over coffee and long talks around the kitchen table as well as one on one conversations that will never be forgotten. How blessed I am to have been invited into this group. The laughs we shared, the talks, and the camaraderie will remain in my heart.

It was a wonderful winter get-away- my first ever gals’ trip! And what a delight it was. Driving back, in north Mississippi, the realization of choosing a different route, took me over to my sister’s in Arkansas and turned the need for rest into another good, if brief, visit. Snow appeared in South Dakota and Minnesota had a mild storm. Safely arriving, the beach trip will sustain me until the next time.

Keep those relationships that are good and move forward with life. The gatherings are important. As age comes upon us, we may not pass this way again.

Join Me On My Journey

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