Verick here. Have you guys ever seen the Steve Carrell movie "Dan, In Real Life"? It is a wonderful movie about a single dad who spends the weekend with his awesome family at a lake retreat. In our opinion, it is truly one of the best, heart-wrenching, belly-laughing, thought provoking movies around. This family is really connected with each other. They are close-knit, caring, devoted, and they have a yearly retreat that seems to have been a tradition for their whole lives. Alas, for most of us it is just that, a fictional movie about what no longer exists in America.
There is however hope out there! While at the beach last month, Crystal and I were taking an afternoon stroll on a cloudy day along the smooth, white sands of the lovely Grayton Beach. It is a beautiful beach among many along the 30A highway in Florida. As we were walking along the quiet beach we heard laughing in the distance. It grew into a jovial roar from about 30 people of all ages, from about 21-70, I would say. They were each taking part in "Announcements"; taking their turn saying something funny or what just so happened to be on their mind at the time. It was also evident that they had some history as well. They all were comfortable in their own skins. They soon began to sing the fight songs of M.I.T. and LSU. Being a Bama fan, I couldn't help but smile as I walked past with my red visor displaying the Cursive "A" that is the simple reminder to all LSU fans that we have "their coach" and the 3 national titles since he left them. (No offense, just telling it like it is.)
A little time passed and we were getting ready to leave the beach when she slipped off and introduced herself to the group. In her usual style, she made friends and told them how refreshing that it was to see a group like that having so much fun together. It was what they told her back that was the most amazing thing. They had been coming to that beach for the past 39 years. There were sometimes 60 people there, friends, but mostly family. They had skit night and sing alongs and mostly they loved being in each others presence. She called me to come over and for a split second they asked us to be a part of their group for a while, that was until they recognized my Bama visor. We all had a good laugh and we talked with "Dave", we will call him; the patriarch of the group. Bottom line is that we felt blessed to be in their presence. It was a true family. A large group who took time out for a week of their lives to just enjoy each other. I was humbled and challenged at the same time and motivated to foster that in my kids so that when they are older, they want to circle the calendar that week in October for a hiking and food fest in the Smokies, or maybe even at this same lovely white beach in Florida.
Lord willing, I want to sit in Dave's chair when I am older. I want to sit back and watch the orchestra that is my family and watch it play loudly with sounds of laughter, joy, and excitement. "Dave", if you are reading this, thanks for the inspiration and the challenge to walk this out in my real life.
Leaving you with a little funny from the movie…some of you may remember the brothers all gathering around the piano for a little ditty, "Ruthie." It is just wrong, but so incredibly funny. Especially when she walks in, now a plastic surgeon, with the perfect nose. Here is a little sample.."wee, wee, wee, wee."