29 March, 2012

{this memory} 44

This is the story behind last Monday's {this moment}.

You're on the east coast of Florida - Jupiter, to be precise. You're looking at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. It was first lit in 1860 and automated in 1926. The tower is 108 feet tall but 146 feet above sea level. The light is fixed white and varies with a white flash every 90 seconds and should be visible about 25 nautical miles out to sea.

But that's not the memory - although I do love lighthouses (see: The Birth of Salvation).

The first time I saw this light was a magical evening in 1995. Actually it was the last evening of 1995 - New Year's Eve. I had taken my family to Florida to reune with another branch of the family that had moved there years earlier. About a dozen of us from this area connected with almost two dozen who were there. Three dozen crazy Italians and me!

We chartered a large boat and arranged for a caterer to give us dinner and snacks. We had a deejay and, of course, a bartender. I broke out my tuxedo and fanciest tie and cummerbund. My family dressed in their finest - although not everyone did. As I recall though, everyone did dance and revel and gambol until that particular night was tomorrow.

We set sail and began cruising the intercoastal waterway - getting almost as far south as Palm Beach. Big houses with lots of holiday lights! The evening was perfect - warm with a very gentle breeze and filled with love. It was, in a word, magical.

As we left the dock and navigated toward the intercoastal, Jupiter Light was the first thing I saw as we rounded the first bend. Captivating - and I've been back many times, but I 've never recaptured the magic of that evening.

So many wonderful memories - I am a fortunate man.