Earlier this month a South Walton landmark burned to the ground. In 1986, I visited The Red Bar for the first time, but it wasn’t The Red Bar … yet. Instead, it was our rally point. Our supply truck was better suited for the flatlands of South Georgia, not South Walton’s deep sand and steep dunes and couldn’t negotiate the climb off the beach. We needed a way home after our beach bonfire died out somewhere west of Grayton. Riding shotgun I thought to myself, this is cool. Little did I know just how cool it could get.

In 2009, I watched arguably the best Super Bowl since the invention of Roman numerals when the Giants stunned the supposedly greatest team in NFL history, the New England Patriots, 17-14. Even more poignant was that game was my amigo Joe Baker’s last Super Bowl. We watched it together; sorry Hubba Hubba, he was my best friend ever.

My favorite Red Bar memory was the Monday following a long weekend sometime in 1997. It rained most of the time and Susan and I have different recollections. She says everyone left because the sun came out, but I only remember the place being empty. We might not have been the only patrons, but assuredly there was more staff than guests. Someone put Van Morrison on; we sat and talked. A couple of years later she was Seaside’s accounting manager, and the rest is our history.

Death is the only thing with more finality than a catastrophic fire, but insurance can mitigate both. With life insurance you are alive or dead; it’s easy to tell the difference. Property and casualty insurance is more complicated than life insurance. Sometimes insurance companies use complexity to their advantage, but sometimes consumers unknowingly shortchange themselves.

Property and casualty insurance adjusters can low-ball claims, but consumers should learn the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost insurance before, not after, the catastrophe. Too often, people focus on the premium and not the coverage. After all, the chance of needing insurance is relatively small, but the premium comes due every year. Take this calamity as a learning opportunity and make sure your homeowner’s coverage is what you think it is.

Politicians and pundits rail against burdensome regulations, but there is a silver lining. In commercial buildings, modern building codes require sprinkler systems that are expensive to install and maintain. Water damage is no fun to replace, but it’s better than a pile of ashes. In addition to protecting property, sprinkler systems can save lives by putting first responders at less risk and allowing occupants the chance for a safe exit.

I look forward to The Red Bar rising like a phoenix. Not trying to throw shade on the South Walton realty market, we need character, not more McMansion rental homes.

You can’t always get what you want but Buz Livingston, CFP can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.