It's a rare fourth of July that at least a portion of our family doesn't migrate to south Florida and this year was no exception. Or perhaps it was. This year they were ALL here for the long holiday weekend and I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all.
The fourth dawned hot, humid and sunny. Perfect weather for a "3 hour cruise" to one of our favorite haunts, a small spit of sand fondly dubbed the "shelling island." S and I first discovered the shelling island the summer of 1999 shortly after moving to Marco. It was much larger back then with an abundance and variety of seashells never before seen by these northern transplants. Time and three severe storm seasons took it's toll on our little treasure and after Hurricane Wilma the island disappeared completely.
The beauty of nature is that while often times it takes away it frequently gives in return and that is what has happened here. Last summer we noticed the small island was beginning to emerge anew from the blue Gulf waters. And while not yet back to its former glory the little island is once again a gold mine for shell seekers.
Shell Island is also a popular location for local beach goers on weekends and holidays and to have it almost to ourselves all day amazed us. I guess it is just another sign of a poor economy.
The boys fished, Allie played and the girls drifted along in the warm gulf water soaking in the sun and the beauty of the day. Some of us were silly.
Allie couldn't get enough of Aunt Jen Jen or Uncle Chris.
In fact, when Chris unveiled a metal detector mid afternoon Allie was a 1/2 step behind.
In answer to her inquiry regarding the odd contraption Chris informed her they were going to hunt for treasure. Allie quickly replied "look for the X!' (She's only 3, where does she get this stuff?)
But treasures were indeed uncovered. Three to be exact. A metal stake and two tarnished quarters remained tightly clasped in little girl hands and I know there were daydreams of pirates and treasure chests dancing in her head.
It was a good day. No, it was a near perfect day. A day for strengthening family ties and making memories that will warm cold winter days ahead.
The fireworks on the beach that evening were almost as beautiful as the day. But nothing could beat the sunset that evening.
A beautiful ending to a perfect day.