Sunday, October 14, 2012

Panama City Beach, Florida

....I often find myself thinking back on the adventure which has been my life. Perched as I have so often been in my favorite old rocking chair (the one covered in zebra hide), I am reminded of how my dear Archer carried the fine chair through darkest Africa, determined to bring it home and find it a position of appropriate grandeur. It, like myself has seen the finest of days…and here we sit......

Me in PCB, 1940
.....We were in search of shells, for our buttons of course. What better excuse though to stroll a place known as “The Worlds Most Beautiful Beaches?” How had I not found this place before? A tiny yet bustling coastal community along the beautiful blue green Gulf of Mexico. While Archer and I had ostensibly come here for business, on the suggestion of a colleague, it turned into one of our lifelong haunts.

27 miles…yes miles, of white sand beaches line the coastline here, and the water is the most beautiful emerald green. Archer always said it reminded him of my eyes…such a sweet man…

The shells here are wonderful. The ones we collect, the ones we eat from (oysters!) and the ones we buy for the trade. We were always so lucky to be able to combine our passions with business and travel.

Panama City is nothing if not about fishing, and my dear Archer is always about anything in the outdoors. Here it’s fishing in the bays for flounder, drum and sea trout, or out on the boats in the Gulf where he would haul in great red snapper and grouper along with the occasional tuna. Each day that he would head out on the water in those rickety old wooden boats I would joke with him that he reminded me of our friend Ernest down in Key West…the other “old man and the sea!”

Oh but how he loved it there, as did I.

One of our favorite private places was far out of town off the beaten path, a place called Phillips Inlet. It seemed like it would take all morning to get there, but it was well worth the effort. We would pull off the beach road and park amidst scrub and the most wonderful white sand dunes, then stroll our way back through history. Wandering through the windswept dunes on our way to the beach we would look for pottery shards left here by the Indians who lived on the point for the fishing, hundreds of years ago. Occasionally we would also find remnants of the old Confederate salt works that were later built on the site. All of it covered over by the shifting sands of time, and periodically uncovered for our delight.
Archer and I would make love in the dunes, and swim in the gulf, then build a fire on the beach with drift wood. Evenings were fresh fish from the embers, a bottle of May wine, firelight and warm breezes. Eventually we would have to pick our way back along the paths to our car and make that long desolate, quiet drive back to our cottage closer to town. It is the memory of evenings like these that keep me warm in my now colder years........astoria

By the by, for vintage images of Panama City Beach

By the by, speaking  about shards of treasures, I recently stumbled upon this article on  up to 10,000 shipwrecks being newly unearthed and explored under the sea in Indonesia….time capsules, wrecks, including  9th century ceramics, imperial quality gold boxes, jewels, and more……….if you think there’s nothing left to find……….start exploring!

By the by, no one paid tribute to the Florida waters like Esther Williams….enjoy videos of Cypress Gardens skiing,

.....and for other vintage videos, view  the “Tilda” blog

Astoria might have worn these jackets with beautiful jewels, the color of the sea..........

By the by, to go to the beginning and catch up on Astoria's adventures go to,