One Beautiful Summer In Florida
As we entered the Sand Key Park, we all saw a seemingly endless stretch of white sand and blue-green water. We were all so excited that we can’t wait to get out of the car and jump into its waters. My son kept yelling, “Let me see, let me see!” I parked the car close to the entrance so he can see the beach while we prepare our stuff.
We rented a blue umbrella and two cushioned chairs. It felt good to rest and feel the ocean breeze after 2 hours of driving. My son kept asking me, “Let’s swim, let’s swim,” as he pulled my hand.
While swimming, my son was jumping up and down looking so happy and excited. Swimming with the waves, he would shout, “Look dad, I’m a big boy. I can swim.” When he gets tired, he would place his arms around my shoulder and we would ride with the waves together.
About an hour after, it was time to each our lunch. We took refuge under our umbrella and ate hurriedly our hotdog sandwich which not only because we were so hungry but because the seagulls were hovering above us, ready to dive in. There was one young woman who was screaming as she ran into the water chased by the seagulls. They only stopped when she let go of her sandwich. I was a bit stunned. Most of the time, the seagulls were friendly, just flying graceful above us. I guess they were just hungry. They reminded me of myself when I’m starving. Ha, ha, ha.
As we walked along the pier’s entrance, vendors were fixing their tables, getting ready for the Arts and Craft exhibition. My son was acting Mr. curious and kept browsing on the items. He showed his mom a bracelet and said, “Mom, this would look good on you.” His mom smiled back sweetly and replied, “Oh, thank you.”
At the pier’s end we saw several people fishing. My son kept going towards the pier’s volunteer every time he caught a fish. Sensing his enthusiasm, the volunteer called him and let his hold the fish while I took his picture. The volunteer then fed the fish to the pier’s live mascot, Mr. Pelican. He would stand close to us waiting for the next free meal.
The sun was slowly setting, I called my wife and held her close to me as we watched the ocean and the sunset. My son took our picture and did an awesome job.
Before heading to Crabby Bills for dinner, my son had a thrilling bungee jumping and played at the park to his heart’s content. His face was glowing with happiness. While watching him finish his bungee jumping, I started talking to this woman next to us. She then asked us, “Have you met Winter yet?” I asked, “Who is Winter.” She told me, “Winter is the adorable dolphin in the movie Dolphin Tale. Clearwater is her home.” I said, “Oh, wow. I didn’t know.” I felt sad a bit since we were supposed to go back to Orlando that night.
After dinner, I told my wife, “Just let me finish this coffee so I can drive all fired up on our way back to Orlando.” She smiled at me and said, “You don’t have to drive. We’ll find a hotel so you can get some rest and for us to see Winter tomorrow.” I was surprised. She added, “I saw how happy you both looked earlier while swimming at the beach. It’s my gift to you boys.” Now I’m the one glowing.
Beautiful Sunrise, Beautiful New Day
I woke up early to catch the sunrise. The beach was empty. It was so quiet and serene. All I could hear were the waves, the birds and my footsteps. As I stared at the ocean at the pier’s deck area, I saw a dorsal fin rise above the water. I though at first, “Shark!” then another fin showed up this time in a jumping motion. “Oh my gosh, they were dolphins.” I saw about 2 or 3 of them. I tried to take a picture with my iPhone camera but it was too far. It was beautiful experience beyond words.
I remember watching the movie with my son and how the ending moved me when a little girl who was born with one leg got out of the car to see Winter. She said something like, “Look mommy, Winter is like me.” I felt a heaviness in my heart. I said to myself, “There is a Winter in all of us.” A beautiful and inspiring movie.
As soon as we entered the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we head straight to where Winter was. We were all speechless for a moment. Before us was a smiling, happy, jolly Winter who lost her tail when she was about 4 months old. Her tail got tangled in a crab trap and lost its blood flow. She almost died until they found an artificial tail for her. In the movie, a rich, generous benefactor donated money so Winter and her friends will continue to have a home after a devastating hurricane. In truth, the benefactors were the people who would pay for the tickets to see her. That day, so many generous people visited her. The place was packed with people all day long. It was a very moving and beautiful scene.
We went back to our hotel that day loaded with beautiful memories. Memories that will always remind us that love, happiness, generosity, kindness, and a perfect beautiful moment happens everyday. Beautiful moments that may come as an unexpected fun surprise.