Navarre Beach, Florida
On the way here, we pass the little fishing town of Panacea. We remember going to visit Mrs. Phred’s older hippie friend in 1965. He has a little cabin with things on the wall that say “Peace” “Love” and other hippie ideas. He is my first contact with the hippie culture. We drive back to the FSU campus 25 miles in the night on Mrs. Phred’s motor scooter. She yells that the moist air makes her hair all “frizzy”. That’s the first time she tells me that, but not the last.
The beach here extends for 30 miles. There is a stretch of 10 miles that is a national seashore. The beach is littered with seaweed, plastic trash, coconuts and jellyfish carcasses. We see maybe four other people on the long stretch of white sand beach and dunes. It’s Monday and cloudy. We stretch out our beach towel and lay back to listen to the pounding surf.
I think that laying on the beach is what retired people should do. As Timothy Leary would have said, “This is really it”…or is it? A young couple walking on the beach waves at us and Mrs. Phred says, “they are thinking, ‘that is us in 40 years.’ ”…I tell her, “If they’re lucky”.
Mrs. Phred at first refuses me permission to swim based on the the rip currents and later relents. “Aye, Captain”, I say, “the crew is grateful.” We endure this paradise for maybe 45 minutes and then Mrs. Phred goes back to the Toyota to read her book out of the wind. I go out into the ocean up to my knees and let the waves crash over me. I think about the ocean “Under Toad” that my parents always talked about.
I see a flock of pelicans coming my way from about a mile down the beach and try to take pictures. By two we get heavy rain and thunderstorms. We’ve made reservations for a three day weekend in New Orleans and then three days in Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville, Louisiana.