Alabama Coasting 2018 - Page 15

Sumplace There is a place I know that fate brought me to. This place stands bright and cheerful in a troubled world like a glistening diamond in a tarnished ring. It is an exercise of all the senses there, as the early morning sun shines, casting a hew like nowhere else on earth. The gentle summer rain is soft and warm with a cleansing smell that lingers in the mind for days after it has gone. The happiness of the songbirds is reflected powerfully as they sing a song so beautiful that is heard only here. I am pacified with the rhythm of the salty water lapping increasingly at the shoreline in harmony with the occasional call of a beacon bell guiding a ship to safe harbor. As I look around the panoramic view, I see age old trees twisted and scarred by the raging winds of hurricanes and summer squalls which are constant reminders of the power of God and the vulnerability of his creation. BY PETER TANNER Behind the house there is a fire which burns, emitting an aroma of contentment. If you stare into the flames and allow it to mesmerize you, you can hear the thoughts of a person warming themselves, enjoying the solitude and building memories that will last a lifetime. Sometimes, in that spot, you can hear the voices of several friends as they talk among themselves sharing stories, some true and some purely for entertainment, sparking laughter which echoes to this day. I am most captivated when I hear the clear sweet voice of Ann as she reminisces life here long ago and I listen with envy wishing that I could have been here then. As I move into the house with the windows open wide and the curtains swaying in the cooling breeze I am caressed with a warmth and security last felt within the womb. As I sit and recap a hard days work or play here, there is a peace in my mind, body, and heart, for here all troubles are left behind. I can only visit this place, so when I am here I gather all this peace so easily harvested and carry it as my shield in the battle of everyday life. When the time comes that I must leave, I also carry a tear. That tear is bittersweet with the sadness of departure from this glorious spot on earth and the joy in knowing that soon I will return for another visit to “Sumplace”. PETER’S STORY I met Mrs. Ann Grafton in 1980 in Mobile by chance. I was a young handyman carpenter at the time and gave her my business card. Our next contact was five years later when she contracted me to do hurricane repairs to her Dauphin Island home. She lived in Mobile and felt comfortable allowing me to stay at her island home for the duration of the project. This is when I fell in love with Dauphin Island, the historic home, the neighbors, the general environment and the people of the island and was so moved to write “Sumplace “ I was also mesmerized by her stories of she and her late husband Delmas Grafton with their experiences on DI dating back to 1935 (20 years prior to original bridge). As fate would have it, I now call that wonderful place my home. ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE 2018 15