We spent the back half of April in and around Santa Rosa Beach, down in the panhandle of Florida, doing our best to abide by the mantra of busy doing nothing.
Most days were spent at the beach, reading and dozing, cavorting in the surf, and watching the sunset. We had so much seafood. I ate my weight in redfish, mahi-mahi, and shrimp. Food there is so expensive; we spent $60 at a hotdog stand. A couple of Black Hawks from a nearby airbase buzzed us. Because we’re us, we found two bookshops and somehow managed to buy more books than what we brought with us. The view from our back porch was like looking into Jurassic Park. A valet at one of the swankier restaurants offered to sell me drugs because he “just got a vibe from me, man”; I was flattered.
Kirby came with us, of course, and lived his very best life in Florida. Almost everywhere down there is dog-friendly, so he went out with us a lot, ferried along in his trusty wagon. Sunsets on the beach, dinners on patios, and time spent wandering through bookshops. He became a mini-celebrity: In Seaside’s town square, one woman, on the phone with her husband, exclaimed, “It’s Kirby!” as we walked by. She’d met Kirby on the beach the night before and had just been telling her husband about him, and asked if she could get a photo of him. A different woman spent twenty minutes in line at a restaurant petting Kirby and telling him how beautiful he was. In a different life, Kirby would make an excellent wingman.
I am redder-finally-turning-into-browner, more relaxed, and happier than when I left. It was nice to come home and return to the routines of daily life, but – always the marker of a great vacation – I will be ready to go back.