Erin and I and the children have lived in North Carolina since 2001, but until last month, we had never been to the Outer Banks. With my brother, Joel, and our mother living down in Wilmington, we’ve visited Kure and Carolina and Wrightsville beaches for the weekend, and we’ve spent a week on Oak Island (and I retreated to Southport once). Our longer beach vacations have been to South Carolina and Georgia, and to St. Croix.
All along, I thought about my grandparents. Francis and Clarice Zuiker visited the Outer Banks often in their retirement, camping and beachcombing and fishing and sending their stories back to the extended family. My 2003 blog post was about my grandfather’s letter recounting their epic fishing trip to Chesapeake Bay and Manteo, and the hurricane that chased them from the Outer Banks.
I regretted not getting to the barrier islands all these years.
But, finally, at the end of June I found myself passing through Williamston and Manteo as we made our way to Corolla, where we would spend a splendidly relaxing week in a big house with Erin’s sister, Mary, and her family. From the deck, we could see both the Currituck Beach Light House and the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Each day, as I sat under the beach umbrella watching the porpoises and the pelicans and the osprey, wriggling my toes in the sand and through the broken seashells, I said a prayer of thanks for my family nearby, far away, and gone.
I kept blogging for the past two decades because of my other grandparents, and because of my parents, and because of my brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins, and because of Erin and our children, and because of the people I work with and the people I invite to gather, and because of the world as it is and because of the world I want it to be.
Thank you for letting me share my memories, my travels, and my hopes. Thank you for reading.
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