On the Edge of La Port
TX Sylvan Beach
Going down Fairmont
April 2004– If you ever find yourself in a conversation with my father, you will agree with me when I say that he is not the easiest person to talk to, let alone get along with. Everything has to be done his way, right away, or get out of his way! Some people would even go as far as to say that he is “scary,” just ask one of my ex-boyfriends! Not, me. No, sir! I know the secret to getting along with him is just to agree with him, tell him how great his hair looks (and DON’T stare at his balding spot), and tell him how brilliant he is. And the fact that I’m his baby girl makes it a little, well, a lot easier for me. But some wont take the time to do all that and just take the easy way out and label him as “scary.” I guess it easier for then that way.
My father is a great man, with many talents that come easy to him. He is great at fixing things that aren’t broken, breaking things that are fixed, and crushing the dreams of a little girl whose only wish is to get a pony for her birthday. (But that is a whole different story) He gives great advise, he is always there when you need him, and he is the best damn fisher man I know.
As far back as I could remember, going fishing in the Lopez house was like an Olympic event. Everyone would go crazy when my father would announce a fishing trip. Bringing home the “big one” would be like the gold medal and you would have the honor of gutting it yourself. But since my two older brothers and I started high school, we didn’t want to go as much anymore, so my dad started going alone. I guess he figured that we were too old to spend time with our old man.
More than anything, I was shocked when I woke up, that day, to the sound of my father’s voice penetrating through my door screaming, “Maria! You wanna go fishing?” It only took me but a few seconds to realize what had just happened and with a great big smile on my face I yelled back, “Yeah!”. As I watched my father gather everything that we were going to need, I found myself remembering the last time we were at our spot. I caught the biggest catfish I had ever seen. It most of been 14 inches long, and I hoped for the same luck that I had that day! After about 15 minutes of packing and making sure that everything needed was in, were finally ready to go. All that was missing was food, drinks, and most importantly, bait. For those items, we decided to stop at a store on the way to save a little bit of time.
It was around noon when we finally left, and it was a long 35 minute drive down Fairmont Parkway on that hot Sunday afternoon. What made the long drive a little bit worse was the fact that I had to drive! I was more nervous driving with my father beside me then when I had to take my driver’s test. The most difficult part was fighting off the temptations of wanting to turn left to a Starbucks, or right into a shopping mall. Much to my surprise I managed to drive past all those man made obstacles. At the end of the road, and after countless “its turning red, STOP!” and “your going too fast, SLOW DOWN!” we finally reached Sylvan Beach.
Sylvan Beach is not at all a beach, as the name suggests, but rather more like a park. There is no sand, no swimming, and no bathing suits. What you would find is grass, swings, monkey bars, benches, and the most annoying ingredient: NOISY CHILDREN! Some might even know Sylvan Beach as a reception hall that is located 100 yards away form the park when you are facing Galveston Bay. If we had a choice we wouldn’t of stopped at all, but since we still needed bait, food, and water to get us through the day we had to stop. The store next to the park was the only one near by that sold fresh shrimp, so we stopped there and bought what we needed. Without even thinking about it twice we turned right leaving the park and noisy kids behind in their artificial world.
We were driving along side the coast now, but Galveston Bay was no where to be seen. What seamed to be endless rows of big, fancy two story houses were blocking the coast. It only took about 5 minutes to leave all that behind and as the pavement became a dirt road we were finally at our spot. My perfect spot is not much to look at, mostly dirt everywhere and patches of grass here and there. On the edge of our spot is a small little cliff, from which you can climb down to fish from the rocks that are found at the bottom. Those rocks weren’t always there because most of them are just chunks of cement put there by man. Dirt, some grass, rocks, and dirty water was all that our eyes could see. As we step out of the van, with a great sense of triumph we stand still for a moment and remember the last time we were there. Good times. As my father begins to get our fishing rods ready I stand still at the edge of the cliff and continue to look around. I notice that the houses are a little bit closer, and begin to worry that one day our spot might not be there for long. But as quickly as that worry came it was gone because I remember that this place is to escape all our worries, fears, and doubts. Even if it is for a few hours, this is our haven from all that.
I’m not sure what it is about his place, but whatever problems you might have are lifted from you and taken away, even if just for that time spent there. Here it doesn’t matter how much money you owe, what you got on your SAT, or what classes your failing, here you can completely loose yourself. Even my father is easier to talk to, and you don’t even have to suck up to him! All you really need to worry about are the seagulls that a re trying to eat your bait when you leave it unattended. Cast after cast, the hours pass. All there really is to see is ocean as far as the eye can see. Now and then a big cargo boat would pass by creating a low tide, and then when the boat itself is but a spot in the horizon, an army of waves would attack the rocks at the bottom of the cliff as if they wanted to escape. Cast after cast, we sit there watching the sun twinkle in the murky waters, as we eat some chips and talk about life. I always find my father’s stories about his childhood, adolescence, and young adult life fascinating. My favorite stories, though, are the ones where he is trying to win over my mother. Those are the best ones.
As the ocean breeze plays with my hair, and the smell of the ocean tickles my nose, the hours pass. As the sun is setting, the sky transforms into the most magical purples and blues your eyes have ever seen. As you sit there soaking inn all the magical colors you realize that soon your going to have to leave this wonderful place. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter who caught the bigger fish (me), but what truly mattered that day was that we spent one more day together at our spot. Everything great has to end sometime, and sadly, the hours pass, the bait is all gone, and the day has turned to night. It is time to head home to rejoin our family and return to civilization. And as I drive away, I look back and feel that I’ve taken with me a part of our spot. My experiences there have been nothing but joy that nobody can ever take away!