Jack Simpson - 08/14/09

June through September are hurricane months. These are days of worry and possible danger; a matter of concern. We know what rotating storms, high winds, rain and surging waves can do to our communities.

A once beautiful place along a white Florida beach became a victim of a hurricane. Places enjoyed there were destroyed and live on now only in pictures and memories. This was one of many times hurricanes have hit Florida coasts.

Mine are among the memories of this beautiful place. It was a family-friendly beach where one of the main activities was walking the beach collecting shells. Hey, I know this may not be your thing. Maybe you go to fish, swim in the surf, lie under a beach umbrella, cook out, party, or whatever suits your fancy.

Anyway, old-timers like to collect shells for whatever reason. Perhaps we wanted a new, rare shell to add to the collection. Maybe we wanted shells to make jewelry, buttons or cameos.

With seventy percent of the earth's surface covered in water, we could imagine families along the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian oceans, or along the Mediterranean or Caribbean seas, also enjoying shell-collecting. We are perhaps not alone in our choice of beach activities.

I recall walking on the beach, spotting a shell, stooping down to collect it and while in that position, maybe writing my name in the wet sand. It lasted but a moment before the sea rushed in, erasing any trace of writings or of a permanent record of a visit there.

Here today; gone tomorrow. For many of us that is the way it is. We live a lifetime and never find a way for our signature in the sands of time to be permanent. Others leave their marks in music, literature, architecture, science or whatever.

Our own lasting mark then lies in our memories.

You, like me, probably cannot recall all of your memories, but those still in the deep recesses of your brain are treasured. Even if the angry sea took away a once-favorite place, life there can still be relived because memories are like a diary of our lives.

Happiness once found and enjoyed on a particular Florida beach was brief. Like that signature in the sand, it was washed away by the tides; blown away by the winds.

Thank heaven for memories of those happier, carefree days. There is little a mortal can ask than the happiness of a passing moment lived or relived.

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.