I hate making excuses, but allow me to profer a possibility. My sister, Terri Hufnagle Ackley, is in town. She and I recently saw each other for the first time in over seven years. We hadn’t had any big disagreement prior to our separation. Our lives have just taken different paths.
She was spending her time with her kids and with her carpet business in southeastern Pennsylvania and at the beaches in Maryland. I had deserted the north and moved to Myrtle Beach, where my obsession with hunting sharks teeth led me as far away from society as I could get.
At 53, Terri is a year and nine months older than me. When we were younger, she did what older sisters do to younger brothers. She antagonized me. Okay, I even antagonized her sometimes. Our relationship is much different now.
We have had a blast for the last eleven days! We’ve been doing a lot of beachcombing. That’s what Hufnagles do when in Rome. My grandparents and parents first brought my sister, brother and I to Surfside Beach in 1970. Hunting sharks teeth has been a family tradition since then.
Having spent most of our childhood living along the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania, Terri and I always shared a love of nature. She especially enjoyed the live oaks, the ocean, the serenity of the beach, and the gulls and terns on her Redneck Riviera vacation. She didn’t get to see any dolphins, but Mother Ocean sometimes keeps her treasures hidden.
Terri and I also spent a few days with friends, still managing some beach time. We listened to a lot of classic rock and roll. Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, The Traveling Wilburys, CSN&Y and Led Zeppelin. Much of the music, including videos, was downloaded from the internet. I listened to a lot of Terri’s music when we were teens, so music long ago formed a bond between us. Her Fleetwood Mac and Stones albums rubbed off on me. I listen to both groups to this day.
Over the last week and a half, she and I have also shared a lot of memories and Memorex (DVD player) — catching up on old movies, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?, The Postman, Legends of the Fall, The Bourne Ultimatum, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diary, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, et al.
In short, it had been too long since we had seen each other. The waves and the winds helped restore balance in our relationship. The undying love of a brother and sister took care of the rest.