Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Youth and The Young At Heart

I remember hearing many times that "youth is wasted on the young." I don't know if that is necessarily true, but I do feel sometimes that we rush through our youth trying to get to the next "goal", not taking time to enjoy the small milestones and accomplishments.

Some of you may wonder why the name "Okaloosa Girl" or exactly what an Okaloosa is.
Okaloosa Island is a small strip of powder white sand along the beautiful emerald green waters of the Florida Gulf Coast. It is the place I go when I want to feel like a girl again.

My hubby had a tag made for me this Summer while we were on Okaloosa Island. It is a large ocean wave with "Okaloosa Girl" written across it. My daughter took one look at it and said, "Mom, you are not a girl! Why not Okaloosa Woman?"
I laughed and said, "Because when I am in Okaloosa, I feel like a girl!"

It's true. When I go stand by that beautiful emerald green water on that powder white sand, something magical happens to me. My husband noticed it the very first time we visited there. I take a few breaths of that salt air, and it is like my spirit is whisked back to the very first time I saw the Ocean and smelled the salt air. I was sixteen years old the first time I saw it.

My Aunt had invited my sister and I to join her at her vacation home in Ocean City, Maryland. I can vividly remember coming up over the rise of the bridge across the Bay and seeing the ocean spread in front of me. It was an amazing feeling! Suddenly I knew that this "ocean" would always be where I would feel most at home.

I had grown up on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland and had always spent a lot of time on the water, but this....this magnificent ocean, was something like I had never experienced. I was instantly invigorated.

I was lucky enough to live in Ocean City for 15 years after I was married. I came to know the many moods of the ocean, and loved each and every one of them. The ocean always drew me to God...it was so like Him. It is so deep, so mysterious, so much is hidden below the surface. It can be smooth and calm one minute and raging the next minute, and you never know when it will change. It is always there!

Like I said, I have always loved the ocean but something truly magical happened the first time I crossed the bridge to Okaloosa Island. Suddenly I was transported back...back to being a girl again. Thus the name "Okaloosa Girl." When I am there on the Island, I am suddenly years younger. My creative side comes out again and I begin to paint and write and "live." My husband loves the "Okaloosa Girl." She rides wave runners and goes crabbing like a little girl. She laughs more.

Someday, we will retire to Okaloosa Island. I look forward to those days with great anticipation. I will never grow older there, just better. Some might tell me it is unwise to move to the ocean when you are growing "older" and might need a little help at times. But I have a feeling that there, on that beautiful island, I won't actually grow older, but better.


Here's a nice light meal that will make you feel like you are at the beach even in the middle of Winter!

You may use a hot dog roll or a flour tortilla for this "roll".

1 Small Lemon
1/4 cup mayonnaise (may use light mayo if you like)
2 TBSP chopped green onion tops
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
3/4 pound chopped cooked shrimp (get your grocer to steam them for you
at the store, and save time!)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
4 white/wheat hot dog buns (or tortillas)
4 Boston lettuce leaves

1. Grate 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind from lemon.
Squeeze lemon to measure 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice. Combine lemon rind
juice, Old Bay, mayo and green onions in large bowl. Add shrimp and celery,and
toss gently.
2. Top each bun with 1 lettuce leaf. Spoon shrimp mixture evenly onto lettuce
leaves...Serve immediately. By the way they have GREAT SHRIMP on the Gulf Coast!

Yield 4 Servings....Calories 220

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