Okay, so it’s not day 1. This is my second morning to wake up to the sound of Gulf water gently kissing the shoreline. Right now I’m squinting at the screen of my iPad while enjoying a view of white sand and calm, blue water just in front of me. It is quiet. Few people on the beach today. Almost private. The water is like glass…definitely not a “Captain Shorty” day.
Captain Shorty was a game we used to play here when our kids were young. We’ve been coming to this beach in Naples as a family since 1995. Our kids were 12, 8, 6 and 2. Since my father-in-law owns the condo we stay at, we were able to keep beach supplies there year round. We bought all sorts of rafts. Every time we came, we all looked forward to playing Captain Shorty. We would grab one of the large rafts and head to the Gulf. In the afternoons, as the waters grew rougher, we would all climb aboard and allow the waves to beat us senseless, raking us to the shore and dumping us all off, one by one, until the final survivors tumbled up on the beach, usually head down, underwater, suit full of sand and shells. We had a ball! From the youngest to the oldest, we laughed and screamed as we wore ourselves out, playing all afternoon till we were tanned or burnt…and waterlogged!
We gave each other nicknames. Our six-year old, was a small, mouthy, spunky, stubborn girl named Cailin. Somehow she became captain of the ship: Captain Shorty. I was First Mate Fuzzy, because I’m a Shepherd and Shepherd’s have hairy chests. Kristin, our oldest, was Skinny Dipper. Tyler, the only boy, was Gimpy Leg, because he hurt his leg somewhere along the way. Morgan, the youngest, was Seaweed, because she said she was the cook. Lori was Lt. GB…aka Lt. Good Body…or sometimes, Lt. Gripey Butt when her back was turned!
Those were fun days. Being able to build a family legacy is a wonderful opportunity. Growing up, mine was 12 years of Canadian fishing trips. Our children got a much more “posh” experience. I remember the first time we came, my oldest daughter was standing on the front landing of the condo, six stories up, looking at the beautifully sculptured Naples neighborhood and saying, “I feel like the Beverly Hillbillies!” They have met children from all over the world, fell in love with a few of them and built memories they will cherish forever. And now that they are older, they all still want to come, bring their own families and build their own memories. Doesn’t get any better than that. Lori and I, well we are trying to figure out how to move in permanently. Anyone know anything about “squatter’s rights?”
ps. I’d love to share some photos from this trip so far, but I have a newer iPad and an old camera connector, so I have not been able to import any yet. So, here’s an iPad photo of our front yard: