I don’t usually pay much attention to premonitions, or thoughts of that sort. Not usually. This past week, a week ago today, we were driving down to Gulf Shores. I’ve been here quite a bit over the years with my family. Not too bad of a drive and a pretty nice beach. Somewhere along the way, I started thinking back. I thought about it being nearly my sixty fifth birthday, and I started thinking about the first time I had ever gone to the beach almost exactly 50 years ago, when I was fifteen.

It was a trip to Panama City Beach. Back in the days of two lane roads and long, long hours to get there. I was unprepared for the awesome vastness and beauty of the ocean. I loved it immediately. We spent a lot of time during that vacation in the water, body surfing and swimming. We went deep sea fishing and I caught the largest fish on the boat and won the “dollar pot” for the day. A thirty three pound red grouper. I still have the photo of me somewhere holding up that fish. I won 46 dollars and for a fifteen year old boy, that was a bunch of money.

We went to the beach with our neighbors the Browns. Michael Brown was one of my best friends from childhood and we hung out a lot. We had a great time that year. Met some girls our age, listened to music, danced. Now….that entire family is gone. Mother, Father, sister and brother. Mom and Dad are gone too. I guess out of all of the people who went on that first trip to the beach with us only me, my brother and my first cousin Judy are the ones left living. Many, many years under the bridge, but oh how fast they have flown. But I remember that first glimpse of the beach and the beautiful snow white sand, and the deep blue ocean. I remember it so well.

But back to the premonition.

As we were driving and I was thinking off this first time I had gone to the beach I was struck by the feeling that this trip we were going on now would be my last trip. I don’t know why or where the thought came from. It was just something out of the blue and I tried for a couple of hours to shake it off. I finally did get it out of my head and had a great time this year, a wonderful time with my family. Not all of them were there, but a lot of us. We had a wonderful place to stay thanks to Ted’s talent in finding great places. My sons were great to me and their Mom.

Eli and I had fun, heck Eli had the most fun of anyone I believe. And it was Baby Evie’s first vacation ever. So special.

So I shook off the premonition, but it came back to dwell over me on the way home, and after we got here, like Charlie Brown’s little black rain cloud which follows him around every where.

I think perhaps it may just be because my 65th birthday is fast approaching. Maybe because I had just recently visited Mom and Dad and taken Rue and Eli over there. Perhaps just my realization of how quickly the years pass, and of my own mortality. Perhaps it was just all of these things combined with a few more little factors which I have been brooding on lately which caused these thoughts to single in on me. I hope that’s just it. Because I really do love these family vacations and the time with my loved ones. These memories are what life is comprised of, and no amount of money could replace them in our hearts. They are our life.

I’ll be really careful this coming year, because come next October I want to prove these feeling wrong and go motoring down the road again to the beautiful white sands and deep blue ocean. I have this year’s memories to tide me over until then.