Paris Goodnight: The soundtrack of the surf and sun

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

The soundtrack of the surf never ceases, and yet it changes every time I step foot into the water. I can never remember all the different songs from my youth that come to mind as I’m enjoying the sights and sounds of the North Carolina coast, but as soon as I hear the waves, those tunes start popping back in my mind.

It’s a perfect way to hum the time away while being far away from the daily grind. Not that it wasn’t good to get back into a more normal routine, but the batteries sure get a nice recharge from time at the beach. My daughter new that was true and chose the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as her college, then decided to stay there for years after graduating before recently moving on to Raleigh. We’ll see if she enjoys the sights and sounds of the state capitol as much as the waves rolling in so close by.

Sometimes I try to come up with some more of my own songs when I’m out in the waves, since no one can hear me there even if I sing at the top of my lungs (like I’ve lost my mind, which on occasion I may have been tempted to do).

I had one such song started while I was enjoying that much-needed break at the beach, but the only words I remember were something like a little kid might say or sing to his grandmother while at the shore: “We seed seaweed Mawmaw.” Not we saw seaweed of course, but we seed it.

Why such bad grammar snuck in my mind, I don’t know. But I gave it my best shot at humming away such lyrics, but not much further with that one, and you can see why it will not be my first hit to crack the Top 10. And Weird Al Yankovich won’t get a chance to parody that one.

You can’t really write a whole song on something like that anyway. That’s often my problem when I start trying to think up some cool lyrics. They mostly capture my imagination, but aren’t fit for human consumption otherwise.

So it was easy to move on to other songs to hum along either out loud or in my mind, and if only I could remember them after I step away from the surf. But for some reason they seem to fade away as soon as I step out of the water or move back toward the shore.

I usually only got a few lines of a song started before my attention turned to something else anyway, like not getting knocked over by a rogue wave rolling in.

I have been known to lose focus just enough to have such a wave take my sunglasses and beach hat into the deep. But no turtle will be sporting my shades this time.

And no trips to the emergency room for me this time either, though years ago it was the first thing co-workers asked about when I returned to the third floor of the Post. Several years in a row involved some sort of catastrophe that included stitches or similar repairs at the hands of professionals. One was a dropped window that caught me right in the mouth during a renovation project. I think I still have the scar from that one.

It wasn’t always me who ended up with blood showing. Once, it was my wife who smashed her nose into the back of a kid’s head at the bottom of a waterslide.

This time, even though I was fortunate, Uncle Greg was not. He took a spill out of a boat and landed just right — or wrong I guess would phrase it better — in a bed of oyster shells that led to stitches in one hand and both feet. Plus a tetanus shot and some antibiotics since those oyster shells can be filled with all sorts of gnarly things if you get cut on one. Not to be deterred, he still took the boat out the rest of the week and still manned the pot to cook up Beaufort stew to feed the whole crew. And never complained a bit about the ordeal.

We didn’t feast on oysters as payback, but the shrimp and other goodies that came out of the pot were fit for a king.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post. 

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