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Déjà vu all over again

“It’s like Déjà vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra

Driving down the long stretch of road that cuts through the middle of the Gulf Shores peninsula, trees frame the road on either side. But just beyond the trees, the Gulf of Mexico flanks me to the south and Mobile Bay to the north. Compared to the enormity and power of the surrounding bodies of water, this little finger of land seems so very small. And while there is evidence that the power of Mother Nature has taken its toll here, there’s also so much that has withstood and overcome her power. Pastel colored beach houses dot the beaches on the gulf side, cottages and cabins line the banks of Mobile Bay.

To the best of my memory, Thanksgiving, 2010 marked my first visit to Gulf Shores, Alabama. And yet, there’s something eerily familiar about this place. Memories are funny things. There are some moments I seem to remember with vivid clarity while other moments I’m quite sure I’ve forgotten completely. Then there are those memories somewhere between the two: like a word on the tip of your tongue that you just can’t seem to call forth from the recesses of your mind.

Or a place you know you’ve been before even when you know you haven’t.

There is a grouping of houses right off of Fort Morgan Road that brings forth that feeling of Déjà vu. It’s not that I know I’ve been in that particular neighborhood, but I’ve been in one just like it. For the life of me, I can’t remember when or why I was there. I know (I think) it was a family vacation. What’s so frustratingly unclear is if it was before or after my parents divorced. Whether it was when we were pretending to be a happy, intact family when we were anything but, or if it was afterwards, when my mother scraped together enough money to take her four kids on a vacation like they’d never had before. One without yelling or arguing or waking up at four in the morning and you’d better go to the bathroom before we leave because we’re not stopping until we need gas.

I’m grasping at this memory. But like a heavy mist, it dissipates when I try to reach out and grab it.

I need to remember it.

I think it’s important somehow.

Every had one of those Déjà vu moments?