It’s nighttime. I am writing you from your favorite beach, Sweetie. The sands go on for miles, the purple sky is cloudless. The Gulf of Mexico is so vast it hurts.
Fort Pickens National Park looks magnificent tonight.
This was our beach. At least, that’s what I’m calling it. It wasn’t literally ours. It belongs to everyone in Pensacola Beach, Florida. No, it belongs to everyone in America.
Well, actually, if we’re getting technical here, this beach belongs to the National Park Service, which is overseen by the United States Department of the Interior and is henceforth property of the U.S. government.
But, since the government uses citizen tax dollars to maintain this federal land and pay its staff of allegedly friendly park rangers a salary with benefits, yeah, this beach is basically mine.
Anyway, I’m getting off track.
When we first met, you were a bloodhound, with crooked teeth and droopy eyes. I loved you from the beginning. And this beach was your favorite place on earth.
For many years, every weekend I’d travel to Pensacola to play pitiful bar music at local dives. I didn’t earn much money, but every little bit helped. You traveled with me.
By day, I worked menial jobs. And at night I played music for people who held brown bottles and wanted to dance to “SOMETHING FUN!”
That’s what all drunken dancers say. “Hey, you with the gee-tar! PLAY SOMETHING FUN, DUDE!”
Then some guy in the crowd raises a beer and shouts, “‘Freebird!’” and laughs until he loses all bladder control.
You and I would spend the weekends camping at Fort Pickens for only sixteen bucks per night. We’d stay here together. And we’d rough it.
I cooked meals over a propane burner, and washed our plates with a waterhose. We bathed in public showers, and I did laundry in the Gulf…