Turning left onto Seawall Boulevard, I see the soft backlit cloud bank in the distance. The Ferris wheel and twisted roller-a-coaster of Pleasure Pier materializes. Then ships. Fuchsia forms the bottom layer across the horizon laid on the blue water, while white wavelets lick the wide beach. Tractors with huge rakes smooth the sand.
Jimmy Buffet singing, “Mother, Mother Ocean, you have seen it all. In your belly you can hold a treasure few have ever seen.”
Another morning in Galveston. Finishing my ice coffee, sans ice — hey, it is only 77 this morning with a light breeze — still cool, I get the dogs out. Parked for free this early in front of the beautifully landscaped San Luis, we have the same view as those paying so much more.
Blonde light stretches up, then orange. A golden globe floats from the spectrum of color, the sun, a balloon, shines a beam of light across the aquatic scene. And they say I am color blind. With my clam phone I snap a shot.
Drawn to the dawn, we trek east, 15-year-old mostly Border Collie Lady has a bounce in her stride, Smokey, a lower to the ground Dashador motors along. The iconic 1900 Great Storm sculpture, Poseidon taking mother and child to the depths, by David W. Moore, reminds us that this view comes with a cost some Septembers.
After a respectful moment, we stroll on to Crockett Park, full of palm trees and sails. A peaceful oasis thanks to Frito Lay and Mayor Joe.
Still asleep on a bench is a gentleman straight out of casting from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Bushy sideburns, a ponytail of gray, his bike efficiently loaded with baskets and a bag tie to the end — all of his possessions.
Regrettably, we turn our back to the view and head back. Seawall Boulevard has turned into the Indy 500 Speedway as insurance and medical employees from off the island race to work on the east end.
The sun is higher, the city alive, another day in an affordable paradise. Even for people living on the street. This particular morning at 6 a.m., a group of about 10 folks without homes gathered as usual near the Golden Arches, sipping their hot coffee. In the dark they helped a friend stand up. A sight most do not see, yet a very real part of Galveston.
Recently, Gary Bell commented, “Galveston is such a unique place.”
He should know, a retired submarine captain, he has seen the world, even if he was under the sea for over two years.
Leaving the Park Board — It’s Island Time, we were walking down 23rd Street toward the wharves, past Coffee Roaster’s, Tammy at the insurance office, Bill Cherry’s former Star Drugstore, yelling “Hi” to Cruz and a brief conversation about the day with a stranger who became an instant friend.
Yes, this is unique Galveston. Another day to cherish.