My favorite place is the Ken Combs Pier located at the end of Courthouse Road in Gulfport. A structure built for and used by fisherman from all over the area.
The pier jets out about four hundred feet into the saline water. Every hundred feet there are cabanas built to the left and right. Aqua colored tin roofs cover these additions and shade the wooden benches built onto the pier. It ends in a "T" formation and has additional benches for sitting and tables to clean your fish on.
But to me the pier is more then a place to ensnare a fish. Sometimes I find companionship. People of different races, diverse backgrounds, and various ages mingle together on a pier; the barriers that normally separate us are torn away. It also provides a place for solitude, allowing me to converse with nature, write a story, or read a book.
Some look at the pier as just a structure used by fisherman, but actually, it offers more than the eye can see. As I step onto it my senses come alive. I can feel the sultry sun touching me, warming my air-conditioned skin till the ocean breeze diminishes the sweltering heat. Then the pungent odor of dead fish tingles my nostrils, the smell lessened by the salty air. Penetrating my ears are the sounds of birds calling to each other overhead and the waters softly lapping the pilings below.
The mixture of nature and human contact nurtures my soul, providing a tranquility that I can find nowhere else. This is why a public fishing pier is my favorite place to be.
Coney Island in My Mind
I would really love to visit Coney Island again. The place is far from the bustling city and getting there is already part of the adventure. One can take the tunnel or drive but whichever way you take when one arrives in the island, it’s like being transported in time. There is that feeling of de`javu one gets when you see the heart of the island for the first time. Maybe it is because of the old films that featured the amusement parks or because as a young child you have had countless dreams of coming here. The place is filled with old buildings and structures that remind us of how our parents and grandparents might have enjoyed the Thunderbolt and the mermaid shows and the parachute drop and all the other parks when they where younger.
The merry-go-round, which has been the logo of the island, has been embedded in the minds of my generation. One cannot fail to notice the romance in the air and the sweet butterfly kisses of past and present lovers who had spent a memorable day in the ride. The air is filled with childish adventure and laughter, that when one is walking the streets one would surely smile and be filled with joy.
The place is like a giant playground without the technologically advanced rides and shows of today’s theme parks. It offers pure delight and tons of fun. It is a place where everyone is invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of the place and be like children once again discover how easier it is to smile and throw our miseries away.
The whole island is an amusement park with candy stores, taverns, night shows and a magnificent boardwalk. The chatter of children’s voices, the happy shrieks of teens, and the smiles of everyone tells one why this place was and will always be America’s happy park. The smell of popcorn and hotdog as one walks the streets to the parks reminds us of simple days when our wants and desires were simpler. The people are friendly and in keeping with the amusement business are always ready to make your visit to the island worth remembering. When one strolls around the commercial center, one can do so leisurely without the need to see everything, to ride everything and taste everything in one day, one keeps coming back to Coney Island because it is removed from the hurried, impersonal and rudeness of the city.
In winter, the place is like a giant ice kingdom, where everything is glistening white and silent. During this time, one can feel the sadness of the city, how it has been suspended in time, and like a bear who sleeps in the winter, it wakes up in the spring. Sadly, not many people visit Coney Island these days. Recently, the magnificent Thunderbolt has fallen from its glory, quite literally. It has lost much of its famous rides and has been stripped of its former grandeur, but nevertheless will always be an icon in America’s culture. The more important it is that we visit Coney Island again, by doing so we will help keep it alive and be a living heritage to our children.
Coney Island, wikipedia.com Retrieved June 26, 2006 from