|Are these "The Haves" in Destin, Florida?|
|Are these more "Haves" in Destin, Florida?|
|Nope. Can't get onto the beach anywhere near here.|
|$ Pay to stay. $|
|Color-coded umbrellas according to where you're allowed to be on the beach.|
There's a fence just on the other side of the hedge.
Peeps are not supposed to hop it.
So Rob drove us out to Destin, where there are miles and miles of beach. But what we discovered is that every mile is fenced and in some spots they even pay people to sit and guard the gated entrances so no one gets to the water who hasn't paid to be able to.
I lived in California for near 20 years and we went all up and down the coast, which is plum gorgeous and nary a fence can be seen. We went on all the beaches at all times of day and night. We spent afternoons swimming and building sandcastles and nights around bonfires.
So I was astonished to see that miles and miles and miles of the coastland in this part of Florida are inaccessible to the public unless they've paid big bucks to stay in a beach house, or happen to be wealthy enough to own a condo down in Destin. When I looked out over the beaches I saw, for all those miles, wall-to-wall people vacationing, and traffic was bumper to bumper with no parking anywhere. There were a couple of public access beaches but they were also inundated with people, so my dream of a private, quiet little ceremony for Betsy got trampled. We didn't buy the flowers, we didn't park, we sweated it out through the traffic to get the heck out of there. It was really one of my worst nightmares, right up there with root canals and IRS audits. Not the kind of naturey place that makes my heart sing.
We looked at the rental houses, homes, condos, and hotels, as well as restaurants, and found that though they were beautiful on the outside, they were also decorated with piles of empty beer case packaging, pizza boxes, and trash cans, should their occupants choose to use them. They were clearly money-making enterprises, grand environments for the collection of many, many dollars.
As I looked at them, their gates and fences, and paid entrance/exit attendants, and watched people swipe their plastic key cards through various gates to get in and out my heart felt squeezed.
"How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?" said Chief Seattle, and this sits close to my heart. I was appalled at what we saw in Destin. I wanted to run, just like Rob did, from the nursing home.
And here's the thing. As I looked at these money-makers and people enjoying the vacations earned with their souls, I wondered, really, who are the "haves," and who are the "have-nots"? I will tell you about some people we met along the way, and I think very much that they are the haves, though they might not agree. They have big, huge hearts. They have family. They work to protect us, though we don't realize or acknowledge that while we're vacationing and piling up empty beer case packaging.
The first "HAVE" I met climbed out of his truck the day we arrived at our hotel in Florida. I was at the Magic Mosaic Table having a cigarette, and pretty soon several other big trucks pulled up and parked and several burly, sweaty, dirty men climbed out and walked over under the shade of the little tin roof sheltering the Magic Table to smoke. I was glad Rob was with me, cause I was scared to be out there alone with these men.
They were highway workers. Steel toed boots, blue jeans, neon glowy lime-green t-shirts, helmets still on, rough talking, swaggering highway workers. And we got to talking. Remember I'm the "new kid on the block" so very used to talking with strangers.
OMG. They were so very impressive. One of them especially, took a shine to us, and sat a while and let me ask questions.
After some small-talk about what we do and where we're all from, I looked at the first guy who had arrived and said "Okay, you might know this or you might not, but I'm going to ask and hope it won't be too forward of me to do that."
"Fire away," he said.
"We have a couple of huge cranes in our little home town and I've said to my husband as we drive by them fairly often, "Wow, that's a helluva climb up in the morning. Wonder what they do for bathroom breaks. I'm sure they don't want to climb down all those stories every time. I don't see any kind of elevator."
"Backup Gatorade bottle," said the highway worker. "And you better watch out for showers around lunchtime cause they empty it."
Well. Well. Now we know and you do too.
He went on to tell us some of the inside story on highway workers and what all they have to deal with for their jobs. The heat. Drivers who actually go out of their way to try to knock down barrels or cones. Being away from home for sometimes two months at a time. The large regional territories they cover. The education they need to work the big equipment (impressive credentials). The risks - sizable. The weather - mercurial. The money - very, very good.
His boss drove up and parked in the parking lot, all the guys call him "Princess." He's a young guy of small stature and large education, and they tease him mercilessly. He takes it very well. He doesn't smoke.
After a time, this burly highway construction worker showed me pictures of his family, one of whom is his granddaughter, who had heart surgery when she was just two months old. Plunged the family into the kind of fear and trust and chaos and prayer that we all experience eventually, and he was so proud of that little spit of a girl. "What do your grandkids call you?" I asked. "Pocca," he said with a huge twinkle in his eye. And he showed me pictures of her birthday party where they rented a huge castle/water slide. "I wasn't there for it," he said, "but I made it happen." God. Bless. You. Pocca. And all those who work with you. I wanted to wave and honk the horn to all the highway workers I saw on our travels after meeting him. He's a Big Spirit Person with a huge, loving heart. He understands and loves and respects FAMILY. He was cool beans. He's a HAVE.
So when you see a construction site, don't bitch. Shower the workers with love and light. They're brave souls making the roads better for us all and taking big risks to do it.
Where I had fear, it was erased bigtime at the Magic Mosaic Table.
Down in Florida they have a military school that teaches several programs, one of which is how to handle and diffuse bombs in areas of war or terrorist activity. Shit. Really. It offers "training for compliance, use, disposal, transport, and safety of exposives by licensed experts." And at the Magic Mosaic Table, we met three magnificent spirits-being-human attending classes there.
Two of them were from Romania. They'd been studying there for six months, were looking forward to going home to help settle things down and protect people from terrorism. When we sat down one night, they were playing chess and each had a beer (Corona, yum). They were concentrating very hard, and every now and then, in-between writing in my journal, I'd say "Hey, check out what's happening on the left side of that board, you can get him in check."
"I already have him in check," one said. And that started our conversation, which lasted a couple of hours. After a couple of games, we were so into talking and sharing information that they put the chess game back in the box and just gave us their full attention. There's nothing like the attention of a "foreigner" who speaks English very well, but has an interest and passion for learning about and understanding the U.S. We talked politics. They had no idea of the depth of the American people's general embarrassment and mistrust in Trump, having very different histories. The U.S., to them, was still a great example of what to strive for. We talked about healthcare, families and where the children are living, community, mothers, cooking, and their girlfriends and dreams for the future. I was most impressed with their sense of loyalty to their country and wanting to protect people from outside terrorism. They were absolutely darling wonderful.
I met another student of the explosives academy who was from Pakistan. He was young, engaged to be married at home, and also very interested in protecting his people and being part of the restoration of his country. "It is like a vacation to be here studying," he said. "I can go wherever I want in safety, food is everywhere, and people are happy." He wore a very large, beautiful cream-colored agate stone on his finger. I asked about the ring. "It is to help ground my energies," he said. "We are very used to using the gems of the earth for various purposes." He went on to explain some of the personal ceremonies he was taught that help him to listen to Spirit and to direct his activities on earth. He was muslim. We talked about that too. And, as with all religions, there are crazy fanatics as well as really beautiful, good people who believe in creating beauty and sustaining life, for everyone. He was a beautiful person. He had beautiful green eyes, dark skin, black hair, perfectly white teeth, and a huge and loving heart. He was a HAVE. May he always be protected on his journeys in this life.
At the Magic Mosaic Table I met Betty. Betty was 77 years old. Black as night. Skinny. And very Southern. She loved to settle into a story. She told us of her family who lived a bit up north and her two daughters that work at the airport. One of them went to college and got some kind of degree that qualifies her to stand on the tarmac and direct airplanes into their parking spots along with other duties as required. She makes good money. Her other daughter also has a great job. "But there are six people living in that house, and that's just plain too many," she said. So she was in Florida to find a place to live, after the passing of her sweet husband, who was military. Betty loved the airplanes and when one went by overhead she stuck her cigarette in her mouth and put her hands together, collecting air, and woooooshed them up, over and over again. Sixteen times. "There. I gave them sixteen," she said. Lord, it was sweet, she was sending blessings to hold those planes up. Betty is a HAVE. She has a huge and loving heart that extends well beyond her own personal zone.
We saw Betty out there a few times and talked real estate as she was looking for a home close to where her husband had worked for a long time. Please send her the very best home ever, angels, where she'll be happy for as long as she lives.
And we met a family from Bosnia. Big, strong, truck driving husband and lovely, plump, super healthy and beautiful woman who'd come to America as a refugee many years ago. We talked politics and they were safe. She has her citizenship. She has family still in Bosnia. She lives in Iowa, and to hear her voice sigh out the name of that state you know it isn't the place of her heart. They have two daughters and were shepherding the daughters through the vacation as parents do. Sweet people. Reminded me of the movie and book Bridges of Madison County. You're safe, sweet woman, as safe as any of us can be. She's a HAVE because you can see her love for her family and loyalty to her husband even though Iowa isn't quite the place of her heart.
And we met very special women who waited on us at Waffle House. Yes, there were tattoos. Actually most of the wait people in the South had tattoos and wherever there's a tattoo, there's a story. So I asked about them. The first one had tattoos covering her whole right arm. Shoulder to almost wrist. "Can I get you anything else?" she asked. And I said "Yes, tell me the story of your tattoos. There must be some powerful stories there."
"Oh yes, there are," she said. "This one is for my mother, who passed, and this one is for my father who passed. This one is for my brother who passed, and this one (roses) is for life and strength. This little bit by my wrist that hasn't been done yet is for my baby, I'm four months pregnant. And this one is for my first husband, who killed himself. He was the love of my life. I have a daughter from him. He didn't make it because he was in Afghanistan and had to shoot a little boy who was about seven years old who pulled a gun on him. He had nightmares and just never could get over it. So he took some medicine that he knew he was allergic to and stopped breathing. We couldn't save him. He was the love of my life." Lord, lord. This girl is a HAVE because with all the heartbreak in her life she has never given up and is still working at loving and nurturing her beloveds.
So we have this new little baby coming for her with her new husband and here she is working her butt off at Waffle house four months pregnant and carrying the weight of grief. "You never get over it," she says. And I know what that means. But she's living. She's living with all of her might. Bless the new baby and the relationships in that family. She got a big tip from us xo.
And we met a hotel owner from Mumbai. This wasn't at the Magic Mosaic Table, but it was part of our journey. He had dark skin, beautiful white teeth, and the beautiful sing-song voice of an East-Indian. He was very friendly when we arrived and stood in the lobby with me and my luggage on the brass cart while my husband parked the car. I asked him where he was from and his eyes got a little guarded as he answered. I told him we had close friends from India and Lebanon and asked if he had family still there. He said yes and told us of his travels. Most of the employees in his hotel were family members, brothers, sisters, all bustling about taking care of us travelers. After we talked for a while his eyes twinkled and the guard went down. I am most grateful for owners who care, who keep things clean and stocked and who are friendly and accessible as we travel the long miles of the road. Blessings to this hotel owner and his family, some of whom he's still working on getting to the U.S. Good luck with the current admin on that. It might be a few years 'til we can get them in, but I welcome them with an open heart. Why is it that people from other countries so often appreciate the wealth and freedoms of the U.S. that we completely take for granted? He's a HAVE because he devotes himself to the comfort and well-being of not only his family, but strangers that come to stay at his hotel, hungry, and plum worn out.
The other waitress that we had that I fell in love with was somewhere down South busting her butt to make people comfortable on their journeys and she was the epitome of the hospitality that the South is known for. She took great care of us and we made friends. She showed us photos of her dogs. She and her boyfriend live on several acres and they have huskies. She had five of them, four black and cream colored ones, and one red and cream. She thinks the red and cream one was stolen because he's been missing for a while. Let's hope he was stolen and has a good home and didn't become bear dinner. She charmed the socks off of us and got a real good tip too. She's a HAVE because she loves animals and keeps a trusting nature even though one of hers is missing.
One more sweet person that I met I will tell about in my next-to last post. She was very inspirational and also very impressive. A big spirit.
You see, all of these people have stories. Beautiful, loving, caring, life-sustaining, big spirit stories.
What I learned from them was a lot about my own "station" in life. I am part of the top two percent in intelligence. I've been blessed with a career in higher education that has been very meaningful, helping others to attain their dreams. This is very special and a great honor. I am finally at the point in life where I can spend time doing what I love to do, which is painting, beading, and writing. I'm blessed.
Revelation Number 4 - The "haves" are not who we might think they are. They are the little people all across America, with huge, strong, loving spirits, life sustaining activities that support those around them. They are not "dollar collectors." They are just beautiful. I love them all. If I could shower blessings and prosperity on anyone it would be these people, the slice of Americana that I would not otherwise have encountered, that lit a lightbulb for me. Keep going it says. We are working for our futures and the futures of those we love, even the futures of those we might never meet. We are love. We rise above despair, we take risks, we leave our homes and families and go back with knowledge to support the whole.
We are the "WE". Not the "I".
God, I'm so impressed with every one of them. Thank you, my beautiful Creative Source and Universe and Angels, for the beautiful interaction with peeps who are really Earth Angels in disguise. I'm all for the "meek inheriting the earth," and I think we got a good glimpse of that. Rock on peeps, you have wings you may not even know about. I see them. May they lift you up eternally.