The fire at the Jersey Shore - the loss of an iconic childhood dream scape

Ashes to ashes, the priest with the blackened thumb says a Wednesday near spring each year.

But death and rebirth don’t favor any one season.

We’ve lost a few near and dear to nature as summer draws to a close and we move on.

Then the fire came to the beach.

Thankfully, none died in the blaze but it only further tipped the unbalance we’ve been feeling along the Jersey Shore the last while.

It was a bit of death for a piece of sandy heartland recovering from illness.

They had hell and high water backwards in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights as the boardwalk went up in flames ten months after Sandy Storm drowned the place.

The loss of an iconic childhood dream scape attacks a sweet spot of the mind.

Bruce Springsteen’s newly released “Born in the U.S.A.” was the soundtrack that summer in Seaside.

The hot girl from New Egypt I met at Great Adventure was working a spinning wheel game on the boards in the Heights. Happily, I wasn’t far from her, hawking the dart and balloon stand on the Fun Town Pier in the Park.

Our teenage romance burned out faster than the real blaze. The game I had worked was only feet from where the fire began last week.

Those boardwalk spots are charred ruins now, but you can’t burn memories.

Old thoughts also recall many Irish over on summer J-1 visas working the boardwalk end to end for years.

I’ll never forget the pizza man from County Down.

One young one from Tramore, County Waterford, stands out and we are still friends to this day.

Like the resolve in the days and weeks after Sandy Storm, all concerned pledge to rebuild and return stronger.

I suppose if you don’t believe that you give up. A faith of building, rebuilding and moving on keeps the soul alive. Don’t move and you’re dead.

With that in mind, Honey Badger and I found ourselves at the animal shelter in Madison the day after the Seaside boardwalk turned to ash.

It was Friday the 13th, nearly three weeks since we lost our gun dog Fletcher.

Our new boy seemed to have found us.

While finishing up the adoption paperwork Honey Badger’s phone rang. It was the vet down the shore. Fletcher’s ashes were ready for collection.

After a wet-eye moment, we clipped the lead on our new rescue.

Ashes to ashes, it was rebirth in autumn as the leaves began to fade red and brown.

Then we led the Aussie Shepard mix out the door of the shelter into the cool air of our next season. His name is Saoirse.