My dad was in the Navy from 1948 to 1950. He would often talk about some of the friends he made during those years. One such friend was Payton. I don’t remember Payton’s first name, but I do remember the man.

When I was growing up, my mom and dad would pack us kids up in whatever vehicle we had at the time, and head to Jacksonville Beach, Florida. We always stayed in the same hotel each year. Going to see Payton was our family vacation.

I have so many memories of those trips. As soon as we arrived and opened the car door, smelling salt in the air. Rising early in the morning to play in the sand with my sister. Looking for shells. My dad taking us deep into the ocean to jump the waves. He taught us not to be afraid of that big body of water. I can still smell the salt in the air! Sharing a plate of boiled shrimp with my dad. He also taught us to love seafood!

All these memories are why I love the ocean, but there is one more reason. The biggest reason.

I think the ocean, the sea, the Gulf, whatever you call it where you see it, is one of God’s greatest glories.

So powerful. So beautiful. So magnificent. So much of His creation is in there. The shells, the jellyfish that wash up on the beach, the birds that fly over the water, the fish swimming, the white sand, the big waves and blue water.

May we praise His name for creating such a glorious beauty for us to enjoy!

Gulf Shores, AL, January 2023
Doc’s Seafood Shack, Gulf Shores, AL, January 2023

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