A message in a bottle: Beaches

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on March 21, 2012 0 Comments

Normally, while trudging through the deep sand along Lake Worth’s beach, we encounter lots of man-made debris cast up on shore by Atlantic’s waves along with slimy seaweed, tortured driftwood, the blue balloons of jelly fish, and transparent man-of-war blobs.

I try to pick up as much of the man-made junk as I can and usually end up carting along with me varied plastic bottles, beer cans, shell-encrusted sandals and the like. This Sunday I hit pay dirt. The first item I found was a bright green buoy, next two deflated helium birthday balloons, and finally, the grand bonanza, one margarita bottle with a message tucked inside.

At first I did not realize that I’d happened upon one of those proverbial message in a bottle events. Not until I took a closer look did I see the roll of white paper surrounded by what looked like pieces of birch bark. This was exciting. Rather than open it then and there, I wanted to take a photo of that bottle first but we’d have to wait because my camera was back at the condo.

I’d even grown attached to the lime green buoy with the numbers C10228 carved into it and, oh heck, why not admit it, those blasted helium balloons. I could create a still-life photo and that night we could have a “opening the bottle celebration,” while dining out at Scorpio’s – a small Greek restaurant popular with locals — with my brother Steve, his wife Linda, her daughter Jessica, and Jessica’s two children Ian and Erica.

I appointed seven-year-old Ian as official bottle opener. Erica was assigned the role of removing the first note. Ian was given the job of getting the rest of the stuff out of the bottle. Papa Bill (my hubby) was to vet the message first and ascertain whether it could be heard by children’s ears.

Here are the results: The bottle had been tossed into the sea by four women friends on vacation in the Honduras on October 25 of 2008. It was retrieved from the Lake Worth beach on the east side of Florida two months later on December 14, 2008. How long had it taken for ocean currents to carry the bottle northeast 800 nautical miles to the Lake Worth Beach depends on how long it lay on the beach before I found it. Inside the bottle was a photo offive women, four of whom are the note writers but who have not identified themselves on the photo and four separate notes. They want the finder to write them. What better way to thank them for the excitement they brought to this little family than to send them this article on Gather!

This is a re-post from a post four years ago . . .

About the Author ()

I am a writer and a columnist living on the North Shore of Lake Superior. My first book, The Scent of God, was released by Counterpoint and was a Book Sense Notable in April 2006. That same year I was named a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors."

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