homepage logo

Shell-a-brating time in Sanibel

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

To the editor:

Forty years ago I came to Sanibel to vacation with my parents and grandparents. A wide-eyed child who didn’t know what lied ahead.

Growing up at the Island Inn, filled with tradition and families who always came back, it was a magical time. Today, life on Sanibel is still magical and full of love, beauty and tradition.

When I walk the beaches, I never have expectations, just hope, faith and possibility. As a ritual, I always pick up the first shell I find. I never allow myself to be too proud to not enjoy a barnacle or shell that is imperfect. One can always find a way to see beauty in what most consider a pass.

Today, forty years later, I did just the same. Predawn, my neighbor fired up her car; the muffler needs work. I knew she was off to shell. It had been three days of a west wind. I told myself to get up and get out there. I also made a pact with another neighbor that was a competitive sheller two days before, and said “game on.”

Who would have dreamed or created the “perfect moment from a perfect storm?” Not me. At approximately 6:54 a.m., at my toes in front of where I first shelled as a child, where the Island Inn used to raise a flag and have breakfast in honor of the shellers, I found my first Junonia!

Alligator tears of joyso many memories flashing through my head. I never thought I would be so honored or blessed to find this imperfect yet perfect shell.

I called my parents. Mom answered, as she thought a distress call. She was up for private morning devotions. I was tongue tied with enthusiasm and completely incapable of articulation. I was holding a Junonia. The embodiment of so many meanings. So emblematic of the symbolic ways one must believe anything is possible.

After a few moments documenting the find, a selfie time, I went upstairs for coffee and to share with those I love the most. Mom and Dad each held her, treasured the moment. We all knew this was a time and day to simply reflect on all the wonderful times we have shared as a family on Sanibel.

Now, time for new beginnings!

Christopher Obetz

Sanibel Island