“Look, it’s a sea cucumber.” She grinned, a fisherman’s net of wrinkles cast across each cheek.
Before I could wade my way out, she’d lowered the creature into the shallows and let it rest in the sea grass. Then she was off, squinting up at the sun before splashing into another inlet, her bare legs freckled with age. She sported a skirted-swimming suit and a hat with a brim wider than Calusa Beach.
I could barely keep up with her. She knew the name of every sea star and prickly urchin that ever stitched its way through the shoals of Coupon Bight. She pulled up each kind in turn, greeting them like snowbirds in November, turning their bellies up to marvel at their workings.
“Once I had a nurse shark swim right between my legs,” she said for no reason.
She had a million stories and I believed them all.
This little vignette was inspired by my former mother-in-law, a woman as fearless as she is joyful. The woman has a Carolina drawl sweeter than southern comfort and twice as intoxicating. What a delightful woman, I miss her still.