Monday, January 26, 2015

Memories of Fairhope

Looking back, some of the best times of my life were near the ocean. In the late sixties when Jilda and I first started dating, it was Panama City, Florida. But through the years, we cast our nets wider, in America and abroad.

In 1980, I was in Mobile with MaBell putting that city back together after Hurricane
Fredrick. Jilda joined me and we spent a lot of my off time by the sea.

I have a picture on my desk of Jilda and me taken that year. We were standing at the edge of Mobile Bay in early summer as the sun edged down into the sea.

She had long flowing blonde hair that fell in loose curls down her back. She wore a Harley Davidson halter-top and I thought she looked like a fashion model.

My hair was blowing in the evening breeze (yes, I too had hair in 1980.) We smiled broadly for the camera as if we didn’t have a care in the world.

Actually, back then I doubt we had many cares, but if we had, it wasn’t evident in this photograph.

Later, after posing for the photograph, we drove to the east side of the bay to Fairhope, Alabama. It was a beautiful place and that evening as darkness fell, we sat with our legs dangling off the public fishing dock as the vapor lamps hissed to life. Moths as big as bats danced and darted in the circle of light.

All of a sudden, we heard people off in the distance shouting Jubilee, Jubilee, Jubilee. It became a chant as people rushed down to the water’s edge.

We didn’t noticed at first, but fish, crab, shrimp and all kinds of sea life seemed to be in some kind of mating frenzy in bay. For a few hours, people with nets, cans, and large buckets caught all the seafood they could carry. We later learned that Jubilee is a phenomenon that happens from time to time in Mobile Bay. It was a magical day.

We hadn’t been back to Fairhope since 1980, but this past week, we went to Orange Beach for my birthday.

On Saturday afternoon, we decided to take a short road trip to Fairhope. Don’t you love the name Fairhope?

It’s always been beautiful, but now it’s become what resembles an artist community with bookshops, boutiques and art galleries.

Narcissus with blossoms as fragile as a web bloomed on the corner in front of the public library in the warm January sun. Out on the library’s lawn is a steel sculpture of an open book.

The sidewalks were packed with people window-shopping at beautifully decorated stores and dining on the patios of upscale restaurants. You could hear music and the sound of laughter and it felt like Tahoe, Aspen or Jackson Hole.

We sat on a bench by the bay and I shot a selfie of us smiling into the camera. We weren’t quite as fetching as we were in 1980, but we smiled as broadly.

We decided on the way home to spend our anniversary in one of the hotels in Fairhope and spend some time by the water. Maybe I’ll dig out my old bell-bottom jeans for the trip.


  1. Watson, your flair for situational poetry amazes me. I love this post. All my best to you both!

  2. Love the photos of you and Jilda! You are right; she does look like a model! Enjoy your time back in Fairhope. It sounds like you have many fond memories.

  3. You were right - she did look like a model. Pretty handsome couple all the way 'round.

  4. You guys were, and still are, an attractive couple. Are you implying that bell bottoms went out of style? I didn't get the memo.

  5. Lovely memories of then and now. You're a fine looking couple.. also then and now.

  6. What wonderful memories. I love it when something stirs the pleasant times back to the front. Yeah, you guys were cool, still are and most wonderful, still in love. It shows. Jubilee! a good time.

  7. Beautiful area of the being by the water any time!

  8. Jilda really looks much the same. You have matured properly as men should do. I like the now mustache much better than the 80's model.

  9. It's nice when you can go back to places and remember all the great memories you had and make new ones... Have a great week xox

  10. You both look wonderful. I think when you are young with the world at your doorstep you don't much worry . It all begins when you have kids and then suddenly everything you do becomes so important. What never bothered you now does cause you have young body souls and minds to protect and you become your parents lol
    Fairhope sounds like my kind of town. Have fun!

  11. Sounds like some wonderful memories there, you both look so happy and relaxed

  12. nice photos then and now!

  13. You have aged well like good wine. It's so nice revisiting those special memories and I dare say it's a rarity that you are still as close now as you were then, or maybe even closer... Go ahead and brag about it. You have every right to. Nothing wrong with bragging about your love for each other.


  14. Great post Rick. You guys still look wonderful.

  15. I love you then, and I love you now.



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