They’re not really sure if it’s going to be running today. If it does, it’ll be at 12:30. She’s not been doing her job the last two days, something about bad fuel, plugged lines and a choking engine. When Marissa Mae Nicole is feeling good, she carries cars, people, bikes and dogs across the waters of Mobile Bay to Gulf Shores.
Jo and I camped out last night on an island.
I started my day at the home of Sean and Jan McLaughlin. My friend, John, who is from Bend is here in town visiting his folks. His dad, Farrell, swung by and grabbed us, taking Jo and I to meet up with John across town.
It was more than two springs ago when John and I last hung out together. When we did, we took his boat to a East Lake, just outside of Bend, and went fishing together. This time we drove the twenty miles south to Dauphin Island. We made a stop at his families home on the bay, saying hi to his mom and snapping a selfie out in their back deck.
There’s a bird refuge on the island that John and I made our way to first. We walked through the thick coastal forest, passing by the osprey nest and the alligator pond and then stepped out onto the white sand.
With the exception of two others who had the same idea as us, we had the beach to ourselves. Jo made a friend out of their french bulldog, the two of them playing on the shoreline for an hour. We just sat there in the sand, shirtless, soaking up the sun, peaceful, and talked over some of our experiences in life and what’s going on now.
John had to make it back to Mobile for a dinner with some friends. We swung by the only corner market on the island. I ordered some chicken and fried corn nuggets for dinner, grabbing a few bananas for in the morning and a ho-ho for later that night.
As we sat out front waiting for the order, the inebriated homeless man I hugged on the bridge in Biloxi came pedaling up on his bike. He looked like he was in pretty bad shape, drunk, red faced, blurry eyed and dehydrated. He told us a story; that he was riding his bike to see a doctor in Pensacola about the cancer in his hand. He was missing a finger tip and the others looked inoperable. He came out of the market with a beer in his other hand, tilting it back in front of the store. I offered him my dinner but he refused.
There’s another wildlife refuge where John dropped me off; The Dauphin Campground. This one is specifically for mosquitos and raccoons. When I got out of his truck I had twenty of them sucking the blood out of my neck faster than I could say deet. Jo and I scurried out to the beach to avoid them and watch the sun set together.
I was laying on top of my sleeping bag, sweating, warm and humid out, and no breeze. Jo was curled up by my head. I could hear an army of raccoons just outside. They were after my leftovers that were on the picnic bench. Their shadows were creeping past the wall of our tent, their clawed feet scratching in the oak leafs on the ground.
They were strangers once, now taking us in. They look after Jo and I as we make our way. They’ve fed us, gave us blankets, a place to sleep and a hot shower.
The band, Alabama, they sing a song titled, Angels Among Us. I have it stuck in my head today thinking about all of the love we’ve experienced along the way.
Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love
Here’s a picture of a couple I spotted walking the beach at sunset.