An excerpt from the short recollection “A Pirate Looks at…the Mountains.” The complete story is found in “PATHWAYS” and may be downloaded or purchased through Amazon at http://goo.gl/v7SdkH

Springs, my parents’ employer, was truly a family-oriented employer who wanted to give back to the communities that provided the labor and raw materials for their mills. Springs Park on the Catawba, golf courses, bowling alleys, and my favorite, Springmaid Beach, the benevolent owners of Springs provided all.

The facilities at Springmaid were primitive. Bring your own…everything. Built in the late fifties, Springmaid Beach reflected Col. Springs’s military background, austere and Spartan. Concrete block buildings built with concrete beds with mattresses thrown on top. You brought your own towels and sheets and were responsible for cleaning during your stay and before you went home.

There was a large dining hall that provided family-style meals at breakfast and dinner. You were responsible for providing your own midday meal, so we ate a lot of fifteen-cent hamburgers. After a day of sunbathing, body surfing or fishing off the pier there were evening softball games, volleyball, shuffleboard, or badminton that provided a family experience.

In the summer of my fourteenth year, I discovered that family beach experiences were not necessarily what teenagers wanted… but I was stuck. It was just the nature of the beast. I had also discovered the Beach Boys along with Jan and Dean and their songs about surfing, hot cars and most importantly…tah, tah, tah, taaaaaah, GIRLS! Well, I was too young for my driver’s license and would have been armed with a four door Galaxy 500 that would not spin its tires in dirt. I swam like a rock and had never been on a surfboard. Soooo, “how you gonna get girls?”

Dress the part! White cotton ducks, a starched white shirt with vertical wide blue-gray stripes and a black nylon shell jacket if it was a little cool in the heavy nighttime sea breezes. Accessorized with oxblood penny loafers and no socks, I was too cool for school! Dang that flat top!

The cool thing, and a prayer answered from heaven, was there were other teenagers near my age who were not happy about family beach trips either. One was a fifteen-year-old guy from Lancaster who had access to his parents’ shiny burgundy 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport. Got wheels! Hot wheels with a 327 V8 and a four-speed that would spin its wheels on anything.

There were also teenage sisters who we found would happily ride in it, one fifteen and one thirteen. The thirteen-year-old was a slender and athletic brunette who wore her sedate two-piece like any other prepubescent teen girl. There wasn’t much to cover up. What has happened? Girls didn’t look like women fifty years ago. Beef hormones?

Can you sing, “Little surfer, little one, made my heart come all undone, do you love me, do you surfer girl, surfer girl, my little surfer girl?” There was no real “pairing up” but to be near a member of the opposite sex…who seemed to want to be near me…. “Heaven, I’m in Heaven…” for five days until her family took her home to…I don’t remember. All I remember is sitting on a bench that last night feeling the electricity of our touching shoulders. There was a very sedate goodbye kiss, but it WAS A KISS NEVERTHELESS!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, something to write home about. That was a stupid statement.

I know, the title has nothing to do with the story, except that I was looking at the mountains when I thought of it.

Don Miller has written two other books reflecting a life spent teaching and coaching. They, along with PATHWAYS may be downloaded on Kindle or purchased in paperback at Amazon.

Forty years of coaching and teaching in “WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING….” http://goo.gl/UE2LPW

An irreverent look at FLOPPY PARTS http://goo.gl/Saivuu

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