It was right here, me and you, babe …

April 15, 2009 § 5 Comments

(on Redington Pier)

We’re not much for fishing but we do hang around the water a lot and in so doing, are bound to run into fishermen from time to time.   The thing about fishing is,  it occupies beautiful spots, from seashores to crazy, cranky or classy boats and water full of chop or calm or seaweed or nettles.

We like Redington Pier, mostly because of our chance discovery of it more than a decade ago when we were staying in Long Boat Key and drove north on the shore road and stopped there and saw a sign that said:

We found  the pier again on our last visit to the Florida Gulf.  You wouldn’t think it was complicated, finding a pier, but we weren’t sure exactly where we’d left it! Things change, sands shift. Piers can look alike.  We were looking for that sign again. It’s just one of those things you do when you “claim” a place so when you return, you are returning to something a little familiar even though you don’t live there. It gives you kind of a global citizen feel.

We drove up and down the beach, checking out various piers. No. Nope. No, not that one. Finally, we got out and walked up some rickety steps, then a plank where a guy was doing some repair work but assured us it was ok to walk there. There was no sign.

“But I’m sure this is the one,” HM said.  The entry shack to the pier looked different. It was crushing in on itself. It was painted blue. Everything else about it was old and yellow and smeary. A man inside, who collected the money for the fishing permits and apparently sold food that he would heat up in a microwave for you, along with some cold drinks in a single glass-front fridge, was busy in a tiny back room. We walked through the shack to the pier side and walked out to the end passing several fishermen and bait buckets and wooden benches claimed by the occasional agressive gull.  It was the right place.  We thought.

As we headed back to the shore, I snapped a picture of the pier shack. It was so blue. The color made it look almost tidy,  made it beachy beautiful so that the pigeons on the roof and the white plastic chairs arranged there gave it even more allure, somethng that nearly had us sit there for awhile except, again, for the bird stains.  (What DO those birds eat? egads. oh, that’s right – fish and “stuff.”  Yeah, gulls are fairly indiscriminate.)

Anyway, HM couldn’t stand it; he had to be sure we were in the same place. He called out to the guy inside as we walked through the shack on our way to the sand, asking how business was, how had the weather been, and hey, by the way, had there been a sign, ever, over the entrance to the pier, about “the time spent fishing?”

“Oh yeah,” the guy said, wiping his hands on a dirty white towel and coming to stand just behind the counter. “We just took it down a few months ago. We had a storm bad enough to pull it nearly off its screws and left it hanging. Yup, it had been up there since the pier was built.”

“We were right,” HM said. “So, this is the same place.” He looked around at the empty fridge, the clock on the wall that said FISHING TIME and the empty candy counter. “I knew it. Great to see you, sir.”  HM put his arm around me and we left. I swear there was a skip in his step.  HM is a Taurus. He likes to have his feet firmly on the ground. He likes to know exactly where he is, he likes it when his inner compass is working.

Me? I thought it was all quite romantic.

Book selections… hmmm….

I have made it a point so far to select only books I have read.  But I am stumped right now for some reason. So I’m recommending a book in my TBR stack. That’s right; haven’t read it yet. Haven’t given it as a gift yet either.  I had considered doing so.
THE BIG HOUSE by George Howe Colt. Its about “a century in the life of an American Summer Home,” says Amazon.  It takes place on Cape Cod. It’s a nice soft cover. I look forward to reading it. It’s one that I treasure having. I enjoy looking at it, holding it, planning when I read it (seems like a summer book, somehow.). I like the idea of it.  Anyone out there read it already?


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§ 5 Responses to It was right here, me and you, babe …

  • You are so right about how our memories claim a place and then, when you return to it, it’s not quite the same. I can’t remember what writer said “You can’t step into the same river twice.” but I think that fits.

    I gave your blog an award today. Come on over!

  • ds says:

    Oh, that trickster memory. But the blue is beautiful, and you were right about the sign (which I loved; can think of several people it applies to). As for the book, um, yeah, I’ve read it. It’s a nice family chronicle and the story of a house that would appeal to other families who have also spent generations summering in the same house (like Mr. Long-Suffering’s, but that was on a lake, not Cape Cod). Mr. Howe Colt is also Mr. Anne Fadiman, for what it’s worth (ain’t I a font of trivial knowledge). Good day to you!

  • jeanie says:

    Oh, I think that’s wonderfully romantic! Boy the way it looks and the passion you shared in finding it, ensuring it was the right place. I’ve had that experience — searching, wondering. When it works out right, isn’t it the best?

    I don’t know that book. Let me know how it is — sounds like a beachy read!

  • oh says:

    Scobberlotcher – havae picqued my “research” skills (few required, thanks to Google) and must find that quote about the river and the same spot twice. More on that later! and yes, I’ll visit in a bit. Just home from work. sitting here stunned, wondering if I should get to a work on a big presentation next week OR read the new Granta that just arrived…?

    DS – So you’ve read that book! and how do you know that Mr Colt is Mr. Fadiman? I am intrigued!!! oh yeah, the book, yeah, i’ll save it for a weekend read, then.

    Jeanie – Yes, it’s the best! It’s funny how landscapes change in real life and in memory because a tree or bushes got bigger, or were removed, or whatever. I may have purchased that book to give as a gift but nevertheless will read it first.

  • laylou says:

    you and dad are too adorable.
    he is so romantic. it’s so like him to want to make sure it was the right place for so many reasons.

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