Brenda S. Brown
When my life-long friends Marcia and Melba began discussing ideas for a
retirement gift, of course my first thought was a girl-friends trip to the
beach. After due consideration and lots of tenacity on their part, they finally
secured reservations. What they did not tell me about until later was the
various complications they encountered, but they persisted and finally we had a
destination; not at Hilton Head as I had imagined but at another longstanding
favorite vacation spot, Panama City Beach.
The water has never been prettier in PCB and the sky has never been clearer than
the days that we spent enjoying the salty air on the shore of the Gulf of
Mexico. Because the water was crystal blue and so calm, it was nearly
impossible to detect the difference in high and low tides; the waves were
practically non-existent. The atmosphere was tranquil and the sunsets were
spectacular; the pictures we made and shared on Facebook could not capture the
vast displays of color we witnessed but the photos will help us remember our
extraordinary time together.
The establishments at Pier Park offer hours of entertainment; and when we got
weary of searching through the apparel we returned to the condo for more lazy
fun in the sunshine. Our first evening I enjoyed some of the best scallops
ever served at Boon Docks, funny, I remember when this place was no more than a
bait shop, in the shadow of the old West Bay bridge, that also sold fresh
seafood, and where my family stopped and made purchases for years.
We enjoyed our excursion to the Red Bar at Grayton Beach and recalled the
numerous times that our travels have included those exclusive shops and then a
delightful meal in what was for years known as Piccolos. The billboard menu
continues to be delightful and we enjoyed some delicious vegetables. Yes, that
is a joke!
The Silver Sands Premium Outlet Mall at Sandestin is a mecca for shoppers and it
is where we spent considerable time exploring the shops; the jasmine that adorns
the entire area was in full bloom and the aroma it produces was incredible. The
mall advertises that it is visited by millions of shoppers yearly and was full
to capacity the day we perused the offerings.
After cruising the Emerald Coast highway we stopped for yet another seafood
dinner where we were joined by newlyweds Tori and Bruce Oglesby, of Tallahassee,
daughter of Marcia, whom we have watched mature from a precious infant to a
beautiful adult. We, and our family members, attended and participated last
year, when Tori married Bruce in an exquisite wedding.
We listened to good music, lounged by the pool, enjoyed the surf and relaxed in
the hot-tub. One would think that because we have always been friends that
there was little to talk about but we never had a time that we were not engaged
in deep conversation. We laughed a lot and even shed some tears and if
possible, left the beach being more devoted friends than ever.
So to Melba Jamieson Burrell and Marcia Murrah Payne, I say thank you for the
trip and all the unexpected surprises, I could not ask for better friends, but I
have known that fact my entire life.
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