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In Pismo Beach today on my day off.  I needed to run to the closest Walmart to find an umbrella to use at SandDollar.  The weather has warmed, and I have no shade at my work location.  Mojo and I need some shade!  Pismo is just under a two-hour drive.  It’s been many years since I’ve been here, and it has grown and changed remarkably!  I will get some errands done.  Mojo is back at camp being looked in on by some fellow workampers.

At SandDollar Beach, I have befriended a homeless woman who sleeps on park benches and wanders Highway 1 and has been doing so since the age of 16. She is now 62, and has seen her fair number of trials.  Willow, is a product of the sixties.  Her father was an underwater demolition expert, so as she said, “We were lucky to ever stay in one place for a year.”  As I was leaving Plaskett this morning, Willow was on the side of the road looking for a ride toward Morro Bay.  I changed my plans of going to Paso Robles and chose Pismo instead.  Thus, driving right through Morro Bay I could give her a ride and pick her up on my way home.  Morro Bay is at the top of my list of favorite places, so this trip was not a hardship in any way!

What a delightful ride!  The weather was spectacular, and Willow turned out to be an easy conversationalist and certainly knows the central part of Hwy 1 like the back of her hand.  It was so much fun to hear stories of local characters and critters and the tourism growth of this area.

One story elaborated on some details I had heard about Terry Dennison, a hang glider very popular in this area in the 80’s and 90’s.  He was known by the name Terrydactyl.  He would climb up Plaskett Ridge, and then soar down to the ocean, swirling and spinning in absolute joy.  He eventually ended up hitting the rocks, not once, but twice, and lost a leg as a result.  That did not stop him, though, and he continued hang gliding for years. He was an accomplished guitarist and played frequently at the local hang-outs.

From the blog, RememberingTerrydactyl.wordpress.com, comes the following statement,

“Terry was one of a set of triplets, born in the back seat of a car 64 years ago in Hazard County, Kentucky. His birth certificate followed three years later. Terry was the product of a broken home… a runaway barely into his teens, a misfit who lied about his age to join the Marines, a family man, the proprietor of a rock shop, and once again a runaway when he showed up in Big Sur in 1985… all alone except for his Cadillac and faithful white Shepherd ‘Moondancer’. He has lived in a variety of abodes up and down the length of the coast, as well as a stint in the back country.

In his six plus decades on the planet Terry survived both of his twin brothers, one who was stillborn, the other who died as an adult in a NASCAR crash. He also survived regular childhood beatings from his father –to the tune of broken bones, two tours of duty in Vietnam, many a drag race with cars like his ‘69 Mustang Mach 1, a divorce, an untold number of fist fights, six paragliding mishaps, the ‘caregiver from hell’ (that’s a whole other story), two automobile accidents that in each case demolished the vehicle he was driving, a broken neck and back, a variety of broken bones, the loss of one leg and the crippling of another, a close encounter with a wood-splitter, and enough pain killers to render a small army unconscious.”

He obviously left an Aerial legacy in Big Sur, and I, for one, would have loved to have met him……may be someday …….

Moments of grace:  I am so grateful for all the “characters” in this world who are unafraid to take risks and truly know the meaning of freedom . . . Especially when coupled with their appreciation for God’s gift of nature!

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