Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life's a beach, and then you come home

I've spent the past two weeks at my mother's house, tending to her after she had some major surgery. That's why she hasn't been posting her pithy comments here lately. She's recovering nicely and should be back up to speed in a couple months.

But I got to thinking about something. I tell folks I'm going to visit my mother and that she lives on the coast of Georgia and automatically they jump to the conclusion she lives on the beach.

Au contraire. Yes, she lives on a small barrier island, which oddly enough has a longitude that's only -.33 degrees different from Cleveland, Ohio. See? This is why I don't worry so much about her during hurricane season. She is so far inland that their threat from a hurricane is quite minimal. That's not to say it can't happen, but it happens less than oh, say... Key West.

But I digress. She doesn't live on the beach. It's not far, though. 4.3 miles from her house to the beach at the old Coast Guard station according to Google maps. I've posted photos of the beach during past visits, but I thought I'd give you a little sample of how the everyday people live.

This is my mother's house. It's nice, it's comfy, it's beautifully decorated on the inside, but it's not on the beach.

And this is her houseguest philosophy. She's ~mumble, mumble, mumble~ years old so I suppose she's entitled to feel this way. ;-)

She has grass and shrubs and garden statuary like many people do. Here's "Frank" and a set of temple bells.

This is one side of her house and some positively gorgeous flowers called Agapanthus (also known as Lily of the Nile). Sadly, Huntsville is one cold-hardiness zone too far north for these to flourish. They could handle our summers, but not the winter.

And here's a close-up. Aren't they lovely? So you see, my mother has flowers, not sea oats growing in her yard.

She also has towering live oak trees. Because this is a barrier island, local ordinances prohibit cutting any tree with a diameter larger than a few inches. I guess they are afraid developers would chop away everything and the island would wash away. It could happen, you know.

She has spiders. I've seen plenty of geckos too. I'd be willing to bet there's a snake in the yard somewhere but I try not to dwell on that because I'd never set foot outside otherwise.

And there is the ever-present Spanish moss. It drips from everything -- the live oaks, her dogwood tree, the azaleas and camelias. And large chunks of it fall and get all over everything, like her backyard swing that hangs in the shade of a big live oak tree.

I hope you get a chance to visit St. Simons Island sometime (and the rest of the Golden Isles of Georgia too). It's a beautiful spot filled with history. The beaches aren't as pretty as our pre-oil spill Emerald Gulf Coast, but the wild Georgia shrimp here are to DIE for!

I'm back in town now and playing catch-up. I have mail to sort and bills to pay and dirty clothes to wash and an editor pitch to get ready for though I did get quite a few books from her line read during my time as Nurse Ratchett, Jr. (my younger sister holds the Senior title). The afternoon before I left I made one last jaunt to the Coast Guard beach and got there just in time for a storm with thunder and lightning to roll in.

Some beach.

Do any of YOUR relatives live in neat places?

P.S. Remember today is the last day to enter my "Red Hot Romance" contest.


Cheryl said...

Glad to hear your mother is doing well! Playing nurse is definitely not fun!

Nope, no exotic places, unless you count the jungles of Manhattan - not so beautiful. My in-laws live there. My parents still live on the same farm as generations of our family have - nothing but rolling countryside and acres of peach trees.

Your mother's place is gorgeous! I love the flowers. I tried to grow them here and, like you said, they didn't make it through the winter. But they were beautiful that one summer.

Glad you're back, safe and sound!

Playground Monitor said...

There's a lot to be said for peach trees. I brought home aboaut 6 dozen peaches and a ton of Vidalia onions.

My son and DIL love Manhattan. DIL did her internship on the Conan O'Brien show and they wanted to live and work there after college. They still go back and visit every once in a while. Last year DIL won tix to Saturday Night Live.

Smarty Pants said...

Glad your Mom is doing great. That's a cute little house. My relatives are scattered around, but no one lives anywhere real thrilling. Tampa, Chicago, Tucson, Dallas... that's about it. Chicago is borderline interesting but the traffic usually puts me in such a panic I can't enjoy it.

My grandparents talked once about selling everything and moving to the Virgin Islands when I was about ten. Man, I wish they had.

Angel said...

Most all my relatives live near Pensacola, FL. Growing up, that's the only place we went for vacation--to visit relatives. My friends were all so excited for us. "You get to go to the beach!" Yeah, here's the thing. I hate the beach.

If I'm walking on the beach at sunset, yes, its beautiful. Otherwise, it is hot, the sand burns your feet, I won't get in the water because there are, well, things in there! Give me the mountains anytime for a vacation. :)


Debra Glass said...

Very nice!! I like the Bed & Breakfast disclaimer. haha My aunt used to live in San Francisco. I got to go visit when I was thirteen. What a beautiful place!! And so different from North Alabama.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Very beautiful! I love live oaks. My inlaws are in Florida, but they're landlocked in the center.

I *used* to be the relative that lived in a really cool place. Europe and Hawaii. Now, none of us really do. My brother lives in Mandeville, LA, which has turned into a bit of a bedroom community for New Orleans. It's a lovely place, but the traffic is horrible.

Playground Monitor said...

LOL! I'd forgotten I *used* to be one of those neat-place-living relatives too -- Europe.

Problem Child said...

I wanna go to the beach. Can I go take care of your mom for a while?

My in-laws live in East Jesus, Scotland. Lovely spot, but dammed expensive to get to. (Says the person looking at plane tix over for Christmas. Yikes!)

Sherry Werth said...

Glad your mom is doing well and you got to spend time with her. Loved the pics! I grew up vacationing in that area. It was only 2 hrs from where I grew up in south GA so day trips were easy.
Nope, no relatives in neat places. I'm a beach person and most of my family now live further north that I do!

Smarty Pants said...

I guess I used to be the exciting one, too. Everyone visited me when I lived in Vegas. Now, if they don't need a place to crash while driving from Illinois to Florida or someone isn't getting married, no one visits.

Its understandable. I usually suggest we meet somewhere more fun.

PM's Mother said...

I'm b-a-a-a-ck!

PM, you forgot to mention our historic lighthouse in your blog. There's a beautiful view of the island, the sound and ocean from the top.

When my daughters went away to college I told them I knew they would marry and move away from home--my only request was they move somewhere I had never been. PM got married and moved to Frankfurt, Germany -- and later my other daughter married moved to Rome, GEORGIA! LOL Of course I had never been there!

Back to my island -- we have a number of historic places in addition to the lighthouse and author Eugenia Price wrote a number of historic fiction books about our lovely island. We've lots of good restaurants also.

Y'all come!

PS: Angel, I like the mountains, too. Each year I must visit my beloved North Carolina mountains and get my mountain "fix".

catslady said...

My mother-in-law use to live in Florida and my father-in-law in Arizona. We got a couple of really nice vacations in before they passed. Where your mom lives sounds beautiful.

Jean said...

My mother-in-law lives in Washington State but she has her house on the market and is moving here--not right in with me, you understand. I will miss visiting there.

Anonymous said...

My sister lives in the "Secret City" as it was known during WWII. They developed part of the atomic bombs used during the war, thus the need for secrecy. It's really Oak Ridge, TN and the best part about Oak Ridge right now is that the blackberries are ripe and ready to be picked! Think blackberry pie, jams, jellies...I'm on my way in a day or two!

Pat L. said...

My sister lives in Santa Barbara and she is not that far from Chavez Ravine (Dodger Stadium) - has been several times. I am so jealous.