Thursday, February 18, 2010

Same Time, Next Year?

No, I'm not talking about the Alan Alda/Ellen Burstyn movie where a couple carries out an adulterous affair that occurs every year at the same hotel on the same weekend for numerous years. My title refers to a unique location that has been a part of my life since 1978. I was chatting with a friend online (Facebook) the other day about some pictures that got posted of this place and it got me thinking.

My parents have camped (and still do) for as long as I can remember in a recreational vehicle (RV). Back in the late '70's when I was a young teen, my family camped with a couple of other families from our church and town. We had planned a two week vacation in the Florida Panhandle with these families and had planned on staying in a campground between Ft. Walton Beach & Pensacola. When we arrived, the campground was run-down and we decided to try somewhere else. One of the families had stayed before at a campground called Holiday Travel Park on the other side of Destin. We took off to the Holiday Travel Park and started what would become a family tradition.

The Holiday Travel Park was a campground that sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico. At the time, it was about 10 miles east of Destin proper. Back in the late '70's, Destin was still a quaint little fishing village. The only grocery store was basically a Tom Thumb convenience store on steroids. Sandestin had not even built across Highway 98 (beachside) and only had 18 holes of golf. It was like a little slice of paradise with a good stretch of beach, a couple of houses on each side, and some great places to eat some fresh seafood.

That first summer, we met a bunch of people (adults & kids) who we would see again. One of those families, we had met the previous spring camping in Kentucky. The Graves family had twins the same age as me and it was great to see them again. Later on, I found out that Kim & Keith shared the same birthday as I did. Then in an even stranger twist, Kim would up on a random draw as a freshman roommate to one of my best friends from high school. Small world.

Through the years, my family would see the same people year after year as we all ventured back to the Travel Park like some kind of sandy Mecca. This continued for almost ten years. Each year we would roll up and immediately start looking for familiar faces. Through the years, great memories were made at that place. There were great friendships made, relationships started (and thankfully in the past), mischievous deeds, and just all around good fun. As work would take me to various parts of the country, I would have occasion to look up some of these folks and some would look us up as they came through Nashville. It really was like a homecoming each year.

Why did I think/blog of this? One of the friends had posted some pictures a few weeks ago & through the magic of Facebook, I actually found another long lost person from the Travel Park. Everyone of us always talks of how special that place is to them. My folks are still camping and are actually camping at the park (different name and owner) as I type.

Lori and I are actually talking about taking our camper down to the beach to pass the torch on to the boys, so to speak. Like most things, I know it won't be as special as it was and is in my memory. But maybe, the boys will get to make their own memories. It's worth a try.

Happy Camping
Zach, a Tennessee Squire

1 comment:

  1. Nobody on the road
    Nobody on the beach
    I feel it in the air
    The summer's out of reach.

    Nostalgia dude! Love it!