A week on the Gulf worth it all
The building is 20 stories tall.
Our lodging was on the 18th. High enough for the missus to be frightened. Not high enough for the grandsons to be worried much.
Of course, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico might have something to do with the mood of the young ‘uns.
That same gulf that I lost my sunglasses in no less than five minutes after I got into the water.
The journey began last Thanksgiving. During the annual knock-down, drag-out game of Monopoly, the mother — she does not play — suggested “the whole famdamily” take a trip somewhere. Almost instantly, we chose Alabama.
The wheels kicked into motion. The son-in-law married himself to the Internet — shhh! don’t tell his wife — and began finding lodgings up and down the coastline. He found a great deal at San Carlos. Rooms were booked. Schedules were cleared.
We learned the best way to persuade the older grandson — he’s 3 — was to talk about the “the beach.”
“Do you want to go to the beach?”
“Then get in line, boy!”
The younger is 20 months old.
Were they older, I would have taught them to eat oysters on the half shell.
As I taught my son-in-law.
My kids already were involved. The daughter-in-law, too.
Our three-bedroom condominium was perfect. The first night aboard, we watched as hundreds scoured the beach while crab hunting.
The next morning we watched the beach begin to open.
They smooth out the sand? For real?
A dude driving something resembling a Zamboni cruised up and down the beach at the resort next door to ours.
People arrived early and set up shop on the beach.
We casually found our way on Day 2 to the same location we found on Day 1.
Zip lining. Walks on the beach. A moonlight boat ride on lower Mobile Bay.
Alligator Alley. Like it sounds.
I never dreamed the wife would have the courage to zip line. Grab a handle on a cable and slide several hundred feet to a tower five or six stories tall.
Not a chance she would.
But she did.
Just as the grandsons conquered their fears.
They learned to get into the water — lifejackets and adult supervision — and ride the tide as it crashed into the beach.
It was memories in the making.
We drove from three different points to Pearl, Mississippi, just outside of Jackson, and spent Tuesday night there. By mid-morning Wednesday, we were headed southeast to Gulf Shores.
Great golf. Sensational sea. Fabulous foods. Delicious drink.
I asked a waitress at our restaurant of choice the first day — it was walking distance — about learning to embrace sponging off a tourist town.
She had no regrets.
We drove back Monday. About 13 hours or so.
One thousand, seven hundred, fifty-three miles. Half of it in one day.
It was well worth the journey.
We ran into people from Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Missouri and other states.
Like us, they took their full families to soak up the sun and the sea.
We were rookies. We were forced to buy certain items once we got here.
Next time we will know better. We will come better prepared.
I like the sound of that.