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"If you could paint a picture of your favorite memory, what would it look like?"

My favorite memory? More than a few come to mind.

Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house in Fordyce, a very small town in Arkansas.

Climbing the mountain to Neuschwanstein with Karyn and Bob, saving the one mark (a quarter) that the shuttle would cost for one beer later.

The freedom flotilla on Lake Catherine.

Driving from Banff to Jasper with my mom. Adrienne’s second Easter as she peeked out shyly from behind Rachel’s skirt.

All wonderful, painting-worthy memories, but one of my very favorites was chasing the sunset with Karyn and Bob in Florida.

Fall is the best time to be in Florida – as Jimmy Buffett sings in When The Coast Is Clear, “They're closin' down the hangout The air is turnin' cool They're shuttin' off the superslide" The kids are back in school. The tourist traps are empty Vacancy abounds

Almost like it used to be Before the circus came to town”

I was living in Arlington, Karyn and Bob in Canada, and we met for a much needed getaway in Indian Rocks Beach. Karyn and Bob took the scenic route, driving down the Eastern Seaboard, picking me up at the airport in Tampa.

What an adventure! We spent the weekend in a no-tell motel, had amazing shrimp at the original Crabby Bill’s and Karyn and I found wonderful things that made a lasting impression at the shops in Sand Key. It was my first whiff of Key West Vanilla perfume, first time hearing Denean. Both are still a part of my life, some 25 years later: Key West Vanilla is still my signature scent, “Fire Prayer” my go-to when I need to be still.

That Saturday morning we decided to make our way to Anna Marie Island, a place we thought we might call home at some point in the future. The island was relatively unknown; there were no crowds. After grabbing ice cream, we went across the street to a local bar – maybe Slim’s Place? I don’t remember the name, but I do remember lots of windows, high top tables and watching The Blues Brothers on the bar television. We had spent several hours there, consuming lots of beer, before realizing that other than the early morning ice cream and limited offerings of bar food we had not eaten. We were getting hungry. Options on Anna Marie Island were slim to none, so we headed back for Indian Rocks Beach.

We were taking our time, cruising along in Karyn’s Jaguar, satin beige, leather interior, when it hit us: if we hurried, we could see the sunset over the water. Bob floored it – we looked like a chase scene from an action movie, flying through the air as we bounced over the small hills. Jake and Elwood Blues evading the Illinois State Police had nothing on us.

Bob managed to get us to the beach with seconds to spare and we all danced in the sand, celebrating Mother Nature’s handiwork. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day! No green flash, but a sunset to remember.

I’m a photographer, not a painter.

No canvas but there are pictures in a frame.

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