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Mini Adventures and Big Blessings

My sweet Sunshine Boy came home from his Freshman year at college to spend the Labor Day weekend with us!  This was one happy momma, just to have him back in our home.  But when we discovered that Mr. Sunshine and Sunshine Angel both had to go to work on Saturday, my precious son invited me to spend the day with him at the beach.  He really knows the way to his momma’s heart!  (And maybe he missed me just a little??)

Before we left for Indian Rocks Beach, we decided we’d stop at a Chick Fil A on Ulmerton Road and have lunch.  Sunshine Boy asked if he needed to take his wallet, and I said no.  And off we went!

We made it to the Chick Fil A on Ulmerton Rd. nearest the beach, pulled into the drive-thru, and placed our order.  As we were pulling up to the window, I reached for my purse and found…NOTHING.  Uh-oh.  I put the car in park, got out, and started frantically searching for my purse….NOTHING.  I forgot it.  I hopped back into the driver’s seat and asked Sunshine Boy if he had his wallet with him.  “No mom, you told me I didn’t need it.”  So, there we were with no cash, no credit/debit cards, no ID, no drivers’ licenses.

We got to the CFA window and I started gushing apologies profusely, telling them we would have to cancel our order.  They just smiled at me, nodded their heads kindly, and spoke some kind of jibberish I couldn’t understand in my embarrassment and shame at wasting food and their time.  As I pulled away, they started to flag me down and I stopped the car.  They said they understood that these things happen, and they were blessing us with our food.  What??  We drove off with our hot chicken, waffle fries, Chick Fil A sauce, and grateful hearts.  That’s just one more reason why I love this company!  (Side note:  as a former CFA employee, Sunshine Boy was not surprised that they gifted our food to us.  But he was grateful that this CFA was just as sweet about it as the one he used to work for!)

So, what do you do when you’re about 45 minutes from home and realize you have no money, no credit/debit cards, and no driver’s licenses?  You press on toward the beach like a good Sunshine soldier, of course!  Off we went looking for free parking!

We pulled into a park near our favorite part of the beach, and discovered that not only did it have free parking, it had plenty of parking on the Saturday before Labor Day, a bathroom, and a beautiful boardwalk nature walk!  Since Sunshine Boy and I are almost always up for an adventure of any size, we decided to walk the the Nature Walk to its end at the intra-coastal waterway where we found 3 kids unsuccessfully trying to catch fish, and heard oysters “snapping” as they spit water below us.  (Sunshine Boy also forgot his sunglasses, so he was reduced to wearing my high-fashion white-framed glasses so as not to go blind in the Florida sunshine!)

Nature Boardwalk

Nature Boardwalk with high-fashion sunglasses

We managed to make our way back to the car, unload our stuff, get it set up on the beach, and hop into the water with a raft.  The sun was shining and the water was calm.  We floated around for a while, then spotted some storm clouds to the east and thought we should get out and dry off in case we needed to make a hasty retreat. (Florida storms can be dangerous!)  As we lay on our beach chairs floating into and out of a beach-induced coma-like sleep, the storms stayed just to the east and we never had to suffer one second without the sun’s rays beating down on us!

Storms behind us as we sit in the shade of our umbrella.

Storms behind us as we sit in the shade of our umbrella.



We finally packed up and headed home.  As we were driving away from the beach, I asked Sunshine Boy to look through the car for all of the loose change and see if we could scrounge up just enough to stop at The Pie Factory in Largo.  They sell the BEST Key Lime Pie!  He found a total of $5.36…SCORE!  That’s enough for us to share a piece of pie!



So we stopped at The Pie Factory and stood at the counter with a handfull of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, trying to decide on only one piece of pie to share.  I kept trying to convince Sunshine Boy that he likes Key Lime pie as much as I do, but he wasn’t falling for it.  So, we finally settled on the Salted Caramel Apple pie.  The sweet man behind the counter asked me if I wanted my own slice of Key Lime pie, and Sunshine Boy and I laughed as we told him the story of forgetting our wallets and only having enough change to pay for one.  When it was our turn to pay for the pie, we again apologized to the woman at the register for paying with just change.  The sweet man behind the counter walked over to her, whispered something to her, and slid a slice of Key Lime pie across the counter “on the house”.  I literally teared up at the kindness!  We were so happy just to get one piece of their delicious pie!  To have them be so generous was just the icing on the “pie” of our day!

Salted Caramel Apple and the BEST Key Lime pie!

Salted Caramel Apple and the BEST Key Lime pie!

We thanked them profusely and took our pies out onto their deck to enjoy the breeze.  As we were sitting there eating our pie and chatting, Sunshine Boy looked at me and said, “Mom, don’t freak out.”  Uhhhh, that’s not good.

He nodded to a spot on the deck behind me and I turned and saw a baby squirrel making a beeline toward my feet.  I don’t have a fondness for squirrels, and especially ones that are bold enough to walk up to me.  When he jumped onto my foot, I jumped and let out a squeal!  Sunshine Boy took my phone, told me to be still, and took pictures of this flip-flop infatuated baby squirrel!




Eventually, the squirrel lost interest in me and turned toward Sunshine Boy.  As Sunshine Boy backed up, the squirrel followed him.  The faster Sunshine Boy moved away, the faster the baby squirrel followed.  I retrieved my phone in time to get a video of Sunshine Boy practically running to the end of the deck, pie in hand (to protect it from the squirrel), only to toss the pie on a table and hop the railing to escape the baby squirrel!  (Sadly, I cannot get the video to load into this post.)  I had tears dripping off my cheeks from laughing so hard!


Baby squirrel in hot pursuit of Sunshine Boy!

I managed to go retrieve Sunshine Boy’s pie and meet him back at the car where he was waiting for me, sans baby squirrel.  We got into the car and ate the rest of our pies, and headed home from a fantastic day of mini-adventures and big blessings.


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