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Memories that last a lifetime

The hard pebbles on the riverbank dug into the bottoms of my winter-tender feet, but I wouldn’t have traded the feeling for anything in the world.

With the sun on our face and the warmth in the air, one wouldn’t think it was Feb. 21. In fact, historically, President’s Day in south Alabama means bitingly cold temperatures, but not this President’s Day Monday. In fact, it was a perfect day for kids to be out of school, which was reflected in the number of visitors in Brewton’s Jenning’s Park.

Generally, I let the children celebrate the days off from school with sleeping late and Netflix at home. I jokingly say that in the newspaper business, reporters don’t get anything off but “Jesus holidays,” which is exactly what my response was when my youngest asked if I had to work Monday. But, the more I thought about it while sitting behind my desk that morning, the more I felt like I just needed a break. We’ve all been there – the day is long; the stress is tough, and sometimes you just need a breather. So, that’s exactly what I decided to do.

Lunchtime came, and I rounded them up for a delightful dinner out at the Pizza Hut. After we finished every penny of pasta and pizza we could hold, we struck out for Burnt Corn Creek. Santa brought the oldest girl a metal detector for Christmas. So, armed with our plastic shovels and rakes, we decided to see what treasures the river would reveal to us.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we could see we weren’t the only ones who had the idea to enjoy a day in the sun. There were picnickers, joggers and even a few who decided to join my girls in putting their toes in the water.

I can remember enjoying days at the river with my family. Granted there was probably never a Monday in the middle of the workday trip, but the times I spent learning to swim in the Yellow River and “digging for dinosaurs” on its banks were some I will always treasure.

I think we sometimes get caught up in the “things” of life – big houses, shiny cars, fancy gadgets galore – that we forget how the little things in life can matter the most.

That realization hit me not too long ago, and I said I was going to quit buying them things and start showing them what the world has to offer.

On Monday, that was five beer cans, one shotgun shell, a few broken bottles, a hundred skipper rocks, one giant crawfish the oldest captured by hand and a memory, I hope, that will last a lifetime.