Thinking about firsts….part 2

I wrote about 7 “firsts” a year ago. Some fond memories there.

Only one First this time. A sound.
A sound that is unmistakeable, and not just the first time it’s heard.
It’s the power. All that power. The sound of an ocean is a beautiful sound.
The first time I heard it was almost 47 years ago.

I had been at Ft. Bragg only a few weeks. I didn’t know the guy with the brand new Firebird all that well. Or the fellow riding shotgun. Dave and Dale, respectively.
The former a sergeant, back from Vietnam and with some high level security clearance job. Dave was a classic southern gentleman.
The latter a short timer; an E-2 who had been busted a few times. Dale was a classic bay area hippie.
Each of us had our own preferred drug: beer for Dave; weed for me; hallucinogens for Dale. We all enjoyed sharing; Dave was generous with his hash.
Some of the details of the trip are quite foggy. That woulda been the case days later, but some of the details seems like it was yesterday.

January 1, 1971 was on a Friday. It was just about 500 miles from the JFK Center for Military Intelligence to Daytona, Beach. An easy 10 hours if you can’t hit the road until after 5 on New Year’s Eve, and if you wanta make some stops along the way for refreshments and to feed your head. Just over 7 hours if you drive it with purpose, which we did on the return trip.

The three us welcomed the new year somewhere on I-95 in south Georgia. We made it to hotel row in Daytona Beach at about 3 in the morning that 1/1/71.
No reservations. The trip had been relatively impromptu after all.

Dave went in alone to secure a double room, not that there would be all that much sleeping in the 60 hours or so that we’d be in town.
Dave had this authoritative presence, so we expected securing a room to be a snap. He was a responsible driver too, all things considered.

After Dave had been rebuffed a few times (in spite of his smile and charm), we set a rendezvous time and place at 6 am at a Denny’s.
He continued the quest for a room, with Dale passed out in the back seat.
I headed to see an ocean for the very first time.
It was dark as I approached the Atlantic for the first time. At 22 and fresh out of Basic Training, 800 miles away from home…I was finally going to see an ocean!!

I heard it before I saw it.
I could discern the movement of the waves before I saw it.That sound was awesome….and awe inspiring.
It still is.
I can just sit and listen to it. Morning, noon or night. Anytime. Any place. Any weather.
Listen. Just listen to the power.

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