Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

You Can Fill Your Time, or You Can Use It

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

You Can Fill Your Time, or You Can Use It

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Longenecker, Shorelines columnist

Thoughts from a Sunday morning breakfast and beach walk:

The already bright summer-like sun was cooking with gas (hydrogen, I believe) at 9 a.m. during my return journey from a fine repast. A light west wind stoked the furnace and the 6-inch waves offered no challenge. The water temperature was in retreat at 74 degrees, down from 80 just a few days earlier.

My mind wandered back to activities of the previous day.

The first photographs ever taken of me in action as a surfer date back to the summer of 1964. I was quite disappointed. Not in David Silver's photos, but in my very ungainly appearance. If you remember the episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine is caught dancing, you possibly can understand how my stance and lack of style had been rendered on film.

Friends never said anything. Surfing was so new that we weren't very critical. If one could catch a wave and stand up, one was a god, but my photo appearance was quite ungodly.

Only two more known photos of my surfing days exist. The best was taken by Jerry Hoey during a wonderful three-day swell, circa spring 1967. My style had improved, but my love of surfing never has waned despite my limited amount of style.

I handled the basics pretty well, and then surf kayaking took over in 1970. Photos taken in 1971 while I was in the kayak were much more encouraging. I looked rather professional and competent in those pictures.

All of that began to flow through my brain the day after my bike and first aid workshop for 35 Scouts from Mandarin. We met at Hanna Park's primitive campsite for about five hours of biking and first aid lessons. Some of the young riders rode in a bit ungainly manner.

The well-chaperoned group listened quite well. Many could put tires onto rims as they learned how to fix flat tires. The "bites" part of the first aid session quickly became an impromptu snake lesson. It was a wonderful day.

My hope is that even one or two boys will become enthusiastic bike riders. We had split into three biking groups by age, led by two or more adults between more formal lessons. …

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