With papers to grade and record
Straightened then erased the white board
Got shooed out of my room
By a teacher who knew
South Padre awaited our arrival.
South on I-35 for a half hour drive
To give my husband a kiss
Tossing clothes, toothbrush, and suit in a bag
Beach toys boarded the truck
We gave New Braunfels the wave
As we headed down to the beach.
Fighting off sleep after a long week
Pulling into Aries Drive at Padre
Once stepping afoot
Out in the night air
Took a breath, the coughing began
Then sneezing, our eyes tearing as well.
The luggage all stowed in the beach house
We heard a recital of tales
From grandchild to grandchild
From daughters and son
The stories lead us to conclude
The culprit of all our discomfort.
Fish bones poked and protruded
From their sandy grave
Others stank as they rotted
Not far from the shore
Red foam swelled up from the algae
Came and cut their lives short.
Surfers braving the roughest of surf
Driving for hours for the thrill
Riding wild waves in the wind
Best of conditions for salt water cowboys
Riding astride, only to be tossed by red tide
For they hacked, and itched and retreated.
The grands undaunted marched through the dunes
Remembering sculptures of lore
Buckets held tight in their eager young hands
Dared to walk the red tinted land
Floating on boards though outnumbered they tried
But the red scourge drove them back home.
Weeks of plans and hopes for this outing
Though a family together is what mattered
The three who flew from Rocky Mountains
Missed the balmy side of the isle
Instead of salt water we played in a pool
As we all sang the red tide blues.
The photograph is an actual picture taken by my daughter, Audrey Keel, Audrey Keel Photography, early on Saturday morning during our weekend at South Padre Island during the terrible red tide. October 2015