As kid’s growing up in South Florida, summer was, for most of us, something we looked forward to more than any other time of the year. My sister Sue and I grew up in a waterfront home owned by our grandparents. Memories from those years have become some of my most treasured. Not far to the west of our house lurked the edge of the Everglades. 3 minutes east was the Atlantic Ocean, south of us was - “party central” , otherwise known as Fort Lauderdale, and due north, well, no one really cared about north. We knew it was the direction from which roving hordes of pale skinned landlubbers invaded our beach paradise every year. Fortunately that “season” was in winter and thus left our beloved June‘s, July‘s and August‘s to us - the chosen ones. Summers in the tropics are not for the faint of heart, trust me. If heat, sweltering humidity or gators don’t get you, overly protective locals probably will. Oh yeah, we have hurricanes too and this time of year, summer, ‘tis the season. Just sayin’……if you’re a tourist, make winter plans….or else.
As a little kid, on many a golden hazy summer afternoon, I could be found walking the edges of the backwater canals, swamps and rivers which led from the ‘Glades to the nearby ocean. With spear or fishing pole in hand I was quite "the great hunter”. ￼Scuba diving became a passion at age ten, in '65, back when the reefs off-shore were still vibrant with sea life and spectacular color. Surfing introduced a "summer" lifestyle to me as a teenager, THANKS to the Beach Boys, I live still to this day. At the beginning of the summer of ‘71 I, literally, ran away from home and never looked back. I was living with my Dad at the time. Tough years followed punctuated by several summers of bittersweet, mostly sweet, “coming of age” type experiences that shaped the man I would become.The “beach chic” I met in the summer of ‘77 is the girl I ended up with. She jumped the turn-style in the hallway outside my beach front apartment door.The nerve. My fellow surf star room-mate and I often had crowd control issues….Did I mention I was a lifeguard in the 70’s?That same summer, ’77, 2 deaths occurred on my beach. One of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever known, broken-hearted, jumped off the pier one afternoon with only a purple bathrobe and a weight belt on, drowning herself as people watched. I’m dedicating my first novel to “the girl who jumped”. The second was some drunk guy who passed out on the beach wrapped in a thermal blanket. He BBQ’d himself before anyone knew what was happening. The 2 summers I spent in Malibu, California in the early 80’s I call the “Lost Years”, and that’s all I’ll say about them. I don’t remember much anyway, but I must have had a good time I spent nearly 2 million dollars.
The summers since, have been a mixed bag of highs and lows and like a lot of folks I tend to remember the highs, though the inescapable fact is that the lows have a way of staying locked somewhere in the vault of your heart, forever. They surface sometimes along with the good memories but it’s something you learn to accept.
The end of every summer has a primal instinct trigger that makes me reflect on the preceding months, and thoughtfully ponder the ones to come. I’m a sucker for the holidays, Barbie and I both share that “holiday spirit” thing. But, my endless summers are a deep, very deep part of me. I spent most of this summer reading, writing and riding my bike to the beach in the afternoon’s. That’s where I am now as I write this, sitting in a ratty t-shirt and shorts, barefoot. I’m almost always barefoot. The kids have all gone back to school, the heat keeps most everyone else away, so the beach is all but deserted. A brisk south-east wind slashes across the sand, cutting in off the ocean and the cocoanut palms are rattling and swaying all around me. Burnt orange, late afternoon sunlight sparkles and dances upon the white foamy surf as it pounds the beach. There’s a huge hurricane churning toward us as we speak.
Just another day in paradise as my endless summer comes to an end.
Causes Daniel Audet Supports
I support those who fight - worldwide - against human trafficking and sex slavery.