Last Saturday was our biggest event of the year, Lighthouse Festival. I spent months planning it as I have for the past three years. This year I handed off the leadership portion to two of our very capable staff members since I was going to be gone to Tallahassee the weekend prior. I asked them to finish up planning and oversight of the event, and run it the day of. It turns out this was providential since I spent that day nursing a very angry digestive tract. Stomach flu is not a pleasant experience and it brought back memories of my encounters with seasickness, first aboard the ferry that takes you from Long Beach to Catalina Island in California, and the second aboard a large catamaran sailing off Maui. Even the toughest folks can be brought to their knees by it. I often wonder how those who made the Atlantic crossing during the past few centuries managed, considering it took a couple of months to make the trip. We who study history hear some pretty horrific stories about what conditions were like aboard ship in those days.
Welcome Sentinel
But then to see a tall tower with a spiral of black and white stripes, standing majestically on the shore, wearing it’s bright red hat. What a joy to see this sentinel, all dressed up for your arrival, signaling an end to your misery. It would be no surprise to learn that they carried the memory of that wonderful moment, that lighthouse, with them for the rest of their lives. They would pass that story down to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And then imagine if those generations could actually still go and see that tower…
That is why we do historic preservation… it’s not so much about the lighthouse, as it is about people and the importance of their story.