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Things That Make My Life Worth Living

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By Charles Morgan III

 

Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared in the December 15, 2005 Beachcomber. Charles tells us, “I’m thankful for the same things now that I was 14 years ago.”

 

The paintings of Russell Chatham. The novels and poetry of Jim Harrison. The pace of life in the Bahamas. The pace of life in the country. Riding Paso Finas in the woods. A vegetable garden. Trout fishing on the rivers around Livingston, Montana. Bonefishing in the Marls.

 

April days in Destin with light southeast winds. The green tank. Double yellow-bluffs. Old woman hill. The microwave tower. The park. The last house. The black fence. A live well full of fresh, hand-sized chofers. The first cobia of the year. The last cobia of the year. The biggest cobia of the year.

 

Mother’s, Gallatoires, Pascal Manales, Central Grocery. Highlands Bar and Grill. The Varsity. Mary Mac’s. Manuel’s Tavern. The Woody Creek Tavern. Dharma Blue. Harbor Docks. Camille’s. Silver Sands breakfast.

 

Fried chicken with turnip greens, corn pudding, fried okra, tomatoes, slaw, corn bread and sweet tea. Conch salad. Souse chicken. Lobster salad. Watching people drink their first Wally’s Special. Strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk. A well-timed cigarette.

 

People who listen. People who learn. People who teach. People who laugh. A brilliant doctor who cares. Well run businesses and the people responsible for them.

 

Alabama football. Memories of Coach Bryant. A lock in college football. A lock in pro football. The Masters. The hope that there will again be daytime World Series games one day.

 

Knowing that in my lifetime there were men like John and Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Watching children grow. Enjoying the same music as my kids. Watching children spear their first lobster and dive their first conch. Cobia fishing with my son. Talking politics with my son. Eating mangoes with my daughter. Listening to and learning from my daughter. Children who are empathetic to the plight of the less fortunate. A wife with political and social awareness and understanding, who has always stood with her family.

 

Acts of goodwill. Things of beauty. People who are dedicated to their religion and are still tolerant of others. A well-told joke.

 

Memories of Ollies, The Hopkins House, and the Chukker. The hamburgers in the back of the old Jitney Jungle. The pies at the Plaza. Lunch at the Quarter Deck.

 

Mountain Brook Village. Christmas shopping at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. Red Baron’s. Modica Market and Sundog Books.

 

Anything small and independent. Independence. Cheeseburgers at Tops and Mickeys. Hamburgers at the Blue Dot. Ribs at Archibalds. Art house movie theaters.

 

The New York Times. A good pickup truck. Boats built by Buddy Gentry and Steve Sauer. The Hey Baby. Man-o-War boats built by Willard Albury. Houses built by Charles Sands.

 

Wonderful parents. A mother who is smarter, sweeter and has more sense and energy than her son. A father with an incredible history and the ability to remain in good spirits despite overwhelming odds.

 

The incredible folks who help care for my father.

 

Old Highway 98. Old County Road 30A (pre-Seaside). North Walton county and the Eucheeana Valley. Watching Obie and Aussie, Australian shepherds at work.

 

Enjoying the wilderness left in this world. The Paradise Valley. Kebler Pass.

 

Never knowing. Always growing. The mysteries of life. Tolerance and compassion. The gift of flowers.

 

Friends. Friends from childhood. New friends. Old friends. Enjoying a friend’s success.

 

People who are kind to your parents. People who are kind to your children. People who are kind. Enjoying your work and the people you work with.

 

People who are exceptionally good at what they do. Knowing people who understand technology. Common sense in an uncommon degree.

 

Levis, t-shirts and tennis shoes and the professions that allow them to be worn.

 

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne.

 

The Last Picture Show and Cinema Paradiso.

 

Porches. Lots of porches. Polaroid photographs. The ability to retain good memories and dump the bad ones.

 

Not having meetings. Or schedules. Or a clue as to what is around the corner.

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