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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Monday, May 22, 2006

Destin To Be

Anyone who reads here knows I’m capable of typos, but this title is not one of them. I am writing from Destin, Florida. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until a few years ago when the Class of ’03 came here for their Senior Trip. This year, we brought the Class of ‘06. It's not called The Emerald Coast for nothing——white beaches and balmy breezes to boot. (Today is in the mid 80’s.)

We’re staying in a 7-bedroom/ 5-bath house. It’s about 10:00 PM and a small group is down on the beach hunting crab with flashlights, plastic buckets, shovels, and a net. One of our guys just finished a year in culinary arts, and they’re actually talking about eating their catch. Something tells me that’s not a good idea. These aren’t Alaskan King Crabs; they’re beady-eyed crustaceans that mechanically comb the beach at night nibbling at their findings the way monkeys do while grooming each other’s backs.

Hark! I hear a hubbub at the pool-side door. The safari has returned (even as I type) with buckets full of peeved crabs pinching plastic shovels. Lots of camera flashes and proud smiles. The sportsmen (and woman) release the catch. No more talk of eating them. What a great group of kids we're traveling with! They know how to have fun and deepen friendships.

But I was telling you about Destin, which by the way, does seem destined to become another well-know destination in Florida. Probably never as famous as Daytona, West Palm Beach and the like, but it was recently named one of the fastest developing spots in the country and is likely to become the next sun Mecca on the Gulf. It’s located just east of Pensacola and a thousand miles directly south of our home in West Michigan (where there was a “frost advisory” Saturday night).

Since Muskegon is in the Eastern Time Zone, we were surprised Destin is in the Central, but the time line here is just east of us extending down from the Alabama-Georgia border and dividing the Florida Panhandle with a longitudinal a line between Chattahoochee and Apalachicola. Can you imagine the confusion this causes for the folks who live between Wewahitchka and Sopchoppy? (As if life wasn’t confusing enough for them without time-zone issues.)

This, in fact, is the real reason Destin has a bright future. Its name is very marketable. Better yet, tourists can say it without holding their front teeth in place with their thumb. The other names nearby have us all cornfused. Yesterday, I was sitting on a café deck overlooking Choctawathee Bay (on the north side of Destin's peninsula) and I overheard a guy from Wewahitchka Community College and a kid from Sopchoppy Middle School reminiscing about field trips to Okeechobee Swamp.

See what I mean? Not that Michigan doesn’t have it’s share of American Indian names like Gitchigumi, but most of ours have been made melodically memorable by the likes of Lightfoot and Longfellow. When we were little, my mom used to tickle us in bed and say, “I’m gunna get you, my little Hoochikaloochie.” I didn’t know it then, but after two days in Florida's Panhandle, I’d lay odds that Hoochikaloochie is the name of a town down here. No doubt about it, this place is Destin to be


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Destin IS gorgeous. How wonderful that y'all went there!

30/5/06 9:31 AM  

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