Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Four Month Frenzy

My mom, the 2014  Buzzard Queen, dressed incognito for the Mardi Gras Goodland Boat Parade. (left)My son and daughter at the Old Marco Lodge on a fun Sunday night. (right) PHOTOS by MELINDA GRAY

My mom, the 2014 Buzzard Queen, dressed incognito for the Mardi Gras Goodland Boat Parade. (left)My son and daughter at the Old Marco Lodge on a fun Sunday night. (right) PHOTOS by MELINDA GRAY

Melinda Gray

As this season, my first here in Goodland, draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on what it means for me. I’ve made so many friends in just a few short months. Some will go north for the summer and come back next season; some I expect to say farewell to permanently as they continue on from here; and some will stay in Goodland, and we will pass the long, hot summer together.

I can honestly say I am looking forward to the emptiness of the island, but will also miss all of the friends who are leaving and the frenetic activity I’ve become accustom to.

Visiting for the first time in December and moving here just two months later, I missed a busy October and November, but I still will be experiencing “firsts” for months to come.

That is why I’ve decided to devote this issue’s “Goodland Life” column to a quick wrap-up of what I’ve experienced so far this season and what I’m looking forward to before it comes to an end.

Working for Coastal Breeze News, I’ve been lucky enough to cover stories right in my own backyard. I’ve celebrated the 30th Annual Mullet Festival, two GCA Pancake Breakfasts, the annual GCA Spring Fling and the Mardi Gras Goodland Boat Parade.

Unfortunately, I missed seeing my mother, Carol Bryant, crowned this year’s Buzzard Queen. After all, I had to go back to Ohio and pack up sometime. I also missed the GCA Annual Holiday Bazaar, the GAA Arts and Crafts Fair and the Annual Harbor Arts and Music Festival, but I am looking forward to writing about them next year.

I am especially excited for the annual Spammy Jammy party hosted by the Little Bar on June 28, Stan’s End of Season Bash on May 2 and the Fourth of July Luau at Marker 8.5, complete with a pig-roast and an island party atmosphere. I’m also hoping to fit in a few more “Sunday Fundays” at Stan’s and some happy hours at The Old Marco Lodge.

Marker 8.5 stays open year-round, but the other local establishments each take a turn at closing for a summer break, though no dates are set in stone.

It’s this hectic pace I’m living in that has me wondering how I will pass my time as it all comes to a screeching halt for the summer. My son will be heading north to visit his father in Ohio, leaving my daughter and me to come up with creative ideas to stay entertained, yet cool. I still will be working and looking for stories here in Goodland, but all work and no play will make for a long, dreary off-season.

That is why I’m hoping everyone feels comfortable enough at this point to talk to me about whatever is on their minds. My predecessor, Natalie, has prepared me for what I can expect to be a slow couple of months for news.

I want to formally thank each and every one of you who have talked to me for my articles, read what I’ve written and offered such unexpected praise and feedback. You have made me feel more welcome here than anywhere else I’ve lived. I now consider Goodland my home, and although I can’t promise to be here forever — as there are so many more places I still want to visit — I can say that I will always come back home.


Melinda Gray studied journalism and political science at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Before relocating, she wrote for The Vindicator and The Jambar in Youngstown, and is currently a contributing writer for an emergency preparedness website. Melinda now lives in Goodland with her two children. She can be contacted at or 239-896-0426

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