Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I'm going to make this confession here in this private place (limited to the viewing of only those who have internet access.) Then I'm going to move on. And frankly, I blame my mom. The last couple weeks we've been at the beach. I'm not a beach person. My beloved is a beach person. I'm a Type A person who tends to go NUTS at the beach. I'm not into the whole suntan lotion, sand between the toes, and skin cancer thing. (This despite the fact that this little spot in Pensacola Beach is like holy ground to us.) I get by during our beach stays by activity. I'm up early for a bike ride--often down Ft. Pickens Road to the end of the peninsula. Then there's the trip to get two papers (USA Today and the Pensacola News-Journal) which I read over my sticks-and-twigs cereal. Then my brief appearance at the beach, followed by lots of tennis and the daily mecca to Joe Patti's seafood to pick out the amberjack, shrimp, or grouper. Then I cook what I "caught." But amid all that, there's plenty of time to read. This year I took a book on the Congo (King Leopold's Ghost) and another on Paraguay (At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig), along with a book my mom gave me. It was Nicholas Sparks's book that I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Three Weeks With My Brother. He interweaves a travelogue of his trip around the world with his older brother, Micah, with the amazing story of their lives (stark poverty, loss of parents and sister, etc.). And it made me want to read one of his novels. Now, I don't know many guys who read Sparks's novels, even though they're regularly right at the top of the bestseller list. So, I snuck into Barnes and Noble and bought Nights at Rodanthe . . . then went back for The Wedding and The Guardian . . . and then once more for The Notebook. So here is the confession: I read five books by Nicholas Sparks. In the absence of a new Grisham novel and after a summer of coaching eleven- and twelve-year-old boys, it was a nice escape. I liked that Sparks's faith is interwoven in the stories without overwhelming them. Plus, I liked that all the stories were set in coastal North Carolina, where we lived 2 1/2 years. But how in the world does a guy (former track star, no less) write so well about romance and women's intuition? I'm thinking of Jack Nicholson's explanation from "As Good As It Gets," but let's not go there. The man's just creative and gifted. Well, I'm back home. Thanks for the reading detour, mom. I walked in the door to our house Sunday night, and there were two Sports Illustrateds waiting for me. Ah, Rick Reilly . . . .

11 Comments:

  • My wife, Lea Anne - a beach person. Me - not so much. It's as though she clocks in as she crosses the dunes onto the shoreline. She parks the umbrella, cooler, lounge chair, stacks of reading material, et al - fully prepared to be there at 9 AM and not a thought of leaving before 5 PM. Don't even suggest it.

    Me? I've learned to fly stunt kites - the two-fisted type that perform loops and turns and power-dives at unsuspecting dogs, It keeps me occupied, yet still providing competition with anyone who thinks they can fly one better!!!

    Yeah - I'm relaxed.

    By Blogger Kevin Hammond, at 8/10/2004 08:09:00 AM  

  • Wow. This degree of confession makes me a little uncomfortable. Shouldn't you be sharing this with a therapist instead? Someone should definitely be getting paid to hear all of this. :-)

    I read almost 1000 pages (of Steinbeck and Sinclair, though) on my one-week beach vacation to St. Simon's Island, GA a couple of weeks ago. Five years of living in Pensacola was enough beach to last me for a lifetime. But the kids -- and my wife -- love it!

    How 'bout them Rangers??

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 8/10/2004 08:53:00 AM  

  • Okay, now I feel better about the world. Well, except for the Nicholas Sparks discussion. I'm gonna refrain from going there.

    But the beach thing: I guess it's because I've got typical red-headed coloring -- i.e. I have no color. I'm ... kinda transparent with hints of pink. I have to wear sun block while driving to work -- and it's a 17 minute drive. Well, that and the fact that sand always manages to get where sand should never manage to get. Everywhere. I don't believe that God created sand. I think it's probably a result of sin, like death only worse.

    If God intended us to go to the beach, he wouldn't have put it outside, full of sand and guarded by jellyfish.

    By Blogger Q, at 8/10/2004 09:47:00 AM  

  • Dude, Evidently you are getting dangerously close to that point in life where your estrogen level exceeds the level of testosterone. Both the reading material and then the ability to confess such are excellent examples of this phenomenon. Thanks goodness for the bike ride......I was scared you were going to say a carriage took you where you wanted to go! Try mixing in a little rugby with the tennis, and try and OD on Reilly for a few weeks to get your system back to normal. If you find yourself talking on the phone for hours, please seek help immediately. They got shots you know.

    Hoping you come out of this,
    David

    P.S. By all means, stay away from all of the Malls.

    By Blogger David U, at 8/10/2004 11:21:00 AM  

  • hey mike--this is actually from Lela. . .thanks for confessing on the Nicholas Sparks books. Matt makes fun of me for reading them. He calls them "books you can buy at Target". I find myself unable to put them down until they are done (even at 3am) and I always weep openly at the end.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 8/10/2004 08:47:00 PM  

  • Having had no beach time whatsoever this summer is what makes me weep. But aside from that I'm thrilled with a guy who is able to walk into Barnes & Nobles, purchase these books, read them and find some true value in the writing. Hey, a good story is a good story. Nicholas Sparks must be a good storyteller or the women of America wouldn't keep him on the bestseller list. Maybe I'll sneak one into the car on Geof and my trip to Phoenix in a couple of days and read it to him. Now there's an idea.

    By Blogger Candy, at 8/11/2004 05:26:00 AM  

  • See? Even Matt has to pose as his wife in order to admit to reading those things... ^_~

    By Blogger Q, at 8/11/2004 05:36:00 AM  

  • Oh, Quiara ... I thought we were friends ...

    Anyhoo, Lela's comment made me think of a penetrating question. Mike, why drive all the way in to Pensacola proper to Barnes & Noble to buy all these books? After all, there's a Wal-Mart very close to Santa Rosa Island that, I believe, could satisfy THIS level of literary need! :-)

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 8/11/2004 05:49:00 AM  

  • Matt, it's okay. The first step is admitting you have a problem...

    By Blogger Q, at 8/11/2004 06:01:00 AM  

  • Matt, I'm with Q, brother. Go ahead and admit it. Lela didn't write that post -- you did. It's all right. You've already confessed in your blog that you helped introduce goofy songs to Churches of Christ in the 80s and 90s. Now you can just admit a little more. "I'm Matt Elliott, and I, too, have read a Nicholas Sparks book."

    By Blogger Mike, at 8/11/2004 07:35:00 AM  

  • I am so proud of the two of you! Mike, for atmitting to reading, enjoying and gleaning information and emotinoal satisfaction from truly good books with great messages ~ now just reach for A Walk to Remember and Message In A Bottle and you'll be complete brother! And Matt, it's ok dear. Being a Sparks reader only shows you're sentimental, in touch w/ your feminine side, emotional and not afraid to show it. Now, if you start redecoratiing the house in Pottery Barn and Laura Ashley, that's when you REALLY need to worry!

    By Blogger Mae, at 8/11/2004 08:53:00 AM  

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