My father told me once that the nicest beaches in the country were in Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. I was a kid and didn't believe him. I had witnessed the beaches at Patterson Lake in North Dakota and the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, where my mother lived. What could be better than these two places?
And then I went to Clearwater one year.
And then again. And again. Once, when my wife was stressed out, I used airline points and sent her there, too. It was only for the weekend, but she came back sun burned and blisssed out. I was a hero.
Later, I discovered Mississippi and Alabama. Well, "discovered " might be a bit much. Others, probably Native Americans, (North or Central) discovered it long before I showed up to say, "Hey! Look everyone! The Gulf Coast is stunning." My friend Richard and his wife had lived in Naples/Marco Island, etc. I can hear Richard saying, "No kidding?" with a crooked grin.
Bartowsky digs it, as well. However, our Swiss-Norwegian-Scotch Irish-heritage gives us two color options on the coast: "Gulf Coast Sand,"or "Lobster." My wife tans. We only tan after multiple coats of "Lobster," and by that time we are candidates for the melanoma test center.
If there is ever a war on the Gulf Coast, we have the perfect camouflage. Like sand crabs that don't have to bury themselves.
"I didn't see them, sir! Those Fast Present albinos took out forty-seven of our men. It's not our fault... couldn't even see them, sir. They were right there. Right there..." his voice trailing off in disbelief.
"You should stay out of the sun," my doctor said -firmly back in reality.
"I like any place cold," said Bartowsky. Adding, " The colder the better."
But even Bartowsky loves the beach. We just need to love it in the early morning hours, or as the sun goes down.
Otherwise it is Lobster-Boy and Sand Crab to the rescue.