I wanted to finish up my “Postcards from Pensacola” series on an upbeat note. Therefore, I give you Lektric Mullet, a party band that played at the popular Bands on the Beach concert series last Tuesday night. We stayed at a motel across the street from Pensacola Beach and we quickly became used to a flurry of activity from the news crews, so I didn’t take much notice when I saw the parking lot start to fill up with cars. When the cars kept coming, I ran back to the room to tell Mr. B. that something major must have happened. I figured the sludge had reached the shore, so I grabbed my camera and raced across the street.
It turned out that the free concert was the attraction, not a BP anti-attraction. What a relief. The plaza was filled with music lovers. It was a cognate of Gainesville’s Free Fridays Concert Series, with one major difference: Bands on the Beach had a beer kiosk. That would never happen in Gainesville, but otherwise things were much the same. We walked around for a while and then we paid to go out onto the pier. The music carried all the way out to the end, drifting along above the still turquoise Gulf. We took a few pictures and then got into a discussion with a former local, a woman who believed that the spill was part of a coming apocalypse. I looked at Mr. B. I’d said something like that myself on the drive up to the Gulf, suddenly and without much thought. It just felt that way, as if we’d soiled the edges of our existence.
This wasn’t as depressing as it sounds. The local woman was a pleasure to talk to as she reminisced about the way it had been. I thought back to the small New England fishing town I’d grown up in, with its lobster boats and occasional Great White sighting and the way the teenagers would drink beer at a place called the Pits. At that moment, standing on what felt like a new and threatening frontier full of oil and bushwa politics, I felt not sad but powerful. I vowed to write about it and I did, and many people read what I wrote. I hope I have told the story of Pensacola, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shores well enough so that you have seen it through my eyes.
And I want to go back.
Special thanks to Sasha Wilkins for tweeting my Sun opinion piece that let it reach many more readers than this blog ever would. Please visit Sasha’s blog to repay this favor and tell her Fresh-Squeezed Florida sent you!