As the old clapboard cottages begin to disappear, replaced by freshly painted townhouses and citified development, the face of Pensacola looks different every day. It’s kind of like a seasoned lady getting a little nip and tuck at the plastics office; a facelift is one thing, but everybody prays she doesn’t go too far with the lip filler. Do you know what I mean?
So far, it seems the planners and the doers have got their heads on straight.
I’m not lifelong to Pensacola, but I got here as quickly as I could. I’ve been milling around this part of the coast for thirty-five years but didn’t get a permanent address until almost 15 years ago.
Yesterday, I stood on the beach watching my daughter come in on her sailboat and a chill of gratitude made the hair on my arms stand straight up and down.
Her white number 7 laser radial sliced through the Pensacola Bay water like a hot knife on a yellow butter square and I thought, “Praise to the Big Boat Captain in the Sky to be standing on this little strip of sand.”
Blue sky. Salt air. And not one racing rat to be found. Excuse me while I dab the corner of my left brown eye.
But it’s true; we’re as lucky as rabbits with all four feet to call this place home. Anybody that’s ever been anywhere or done anything knows it’s the truth.
Oh sure, sometimes a person with a bad mattress might get mouthy on an internet forum about the lack of Dave & Busters or TopGolf, but we’ve got more golf courses and cow pasture driving ranges than great-Grandma has quilts. As for Dave & Busters, I will, all day long, take a lawn chair and a Jimmy Buffet song over that cacophony of manufactured racket and dollar stealin’.
Of course, there were the before and after Ivan changes, but haven’t they also been something else in the last 10 years?
Recently, I watched a bandwagon get full of folks frustrated over the lack of things to do. But I don’t reckon I could shake a stick at all there is to do. My arm would fall off.
Personally, I could stand on the Pensacola Beach Pier and look for Kemp Ridley turtles for six days straight if I had my Diet Coke.
The next time you hear someone aggravated over something around Pensacola, ask ‘em this…
Does the surprise sighting of the gray dorsal fin of a dolphin not feel like winning a scratch-off ticket?
Does the supersized American flag whipping and snapping outside of Joe Patti’s not make you want to salute from your driver’s side window?
Does a drive under Graffiti Bridge not feel like turning the page on a good book you love to read?
And for the love of all things holy and right, if the roar of those blue and gold fly boys tearing those Angels towards a Gulf Breeze sunset doesn’t make you wanna get a pair of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell aviators.
We’ve got all the good things, y’all. Without overdoing it on the filler.