There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.
Truth be known, I was kind of bummed out on my return trip to Myrtle Beach. I’d just enjoyed ten days in my old stompin’ grounds, central Pennsyltucky, attending the wedding of my brother, Brad, and Laurie Spriggle Hufnagle, hanging out with my mother, Linda, and seeing kinfolk and friends that I hadn’t seen in too many years.
Bummed about returning to my beloved adopted home in South Carolina? That’s quite an admission for someone who’s only been back to The Key-Stone-Age State twice in nine years. No offense meant to those still living there. I only referred to PA that way because buckles and potholes on roadways through Penn’s Woods are even more common than roadkills splattered along them. Long stretches of major Pennsylvania highways are eternally lined with traffic cones and heavy equipment. That machinery is seemingly as dormant as Mount Rainier in Washington. Yet, Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls have risen four straight years and will continue to rise as steadily and surely as ocean levels.
Nevertheless, I left PA behind with some regret this time. I’ve never stopped thinking about her unique countryside – hills and valleys and the Susquehanna River — since my defection from her. And I was thinking about those folks previously mentioned throughout the first leg of the flight back to Myrtle Beach.
After a short layover in Charlotte, my mindset improved. The flat terrain below was increasingly sliced and diced by waterways and marshes. Ocean breezes escorted promise of a homecoming toward the jet on which I was hitchin’ a ride. Then I saw the Atlantic’s serene greenery.
I did everything but click my heels as the jet banked over Mother Ocean and descended upon Myrtle Beach International Airport at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 31. I’m surprised I wasn’t sacked for suspicious behavior by my otherwise docile fellow passengers.
Oh snap! Whoa! How cool is the view of Springmaid Pier from above ol’ Neptune? I dig it, man. Far..freakin’..out!
Ruh roh! Just broke my New Year’s resolution and the sun dial had barely marked a new calendar year. I had sworn that I was going to adopt a more conventional writing style in 2014. That’s what I get for swearing.
The smoke from celebratory fireworks hadn’t yet dissipated with the changing of the calendar year and I’d strayed — managing to best my record when I vowed to lay off oat sodas as long as I could into 2013. Forty-seven minutes after midnight one year ago I opened the fridge and spotted a lone Yuengling. Had to put the poor thing out of its misery.
Oh, well. It’s like Mark Spitz said (probably just after listening to “Disco Duck”), “Records are meant to be broken.”
I’m using up my 2014 mulligan if y’all don’t mind. My new New Year’s resolution is to go to the beach as often as possible. That’s a promise I know I can keep. I also vow to write about the sands of time, the ocean and life along the grandest of strands with the same confessional style of my literary and classic rock heroes. That’s the way I roll. I like writing from my heart and with as much honesty as I can muster.
This past year was rather turbulent for me, but I rode things out until I found some clean air. I learned that I had it within myself to endure. To overcome. We all have that in us. It’s human nature to survive. To thrive.
“If you will it, it is no dream.” said John Goodman’s character Walter Sobchak in my favorite movie, “The Big Lebowski.” Walter didn’t let much faze him.
My wish for family and friends in 2014 is for y’all to make the most of every day and to have as much fun as possible while doing it.
Happy New Year everyone!
(Bum raps: According to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, it’s raising tolls Jan. 5 so it “can continue making ongoing annual payments to PennDOT for road, bridge and transit projects around the Commonwealth as required by law in Act 44 of 2007, while still maintaining and repairing the turnpike system.” On a lighter note, Walter Sobchak cited Austrian Jewish journalist Theodor Herzl while talking to The Dude (Jeff Bridges) in “The Big Lebowski.” Herzl actually wrote the quote in German. “Wenn ihr wollt, ist es kein Märchen.”)
Sources: Wikipedia and paturnpike.com