My husband and I were very fortunate to have had the privilege of living in an apartment on the river for about 15 years. I intended to live there until I was 92 and went out with a toe tag. We had the ideal apartment.. right on the main dock with the canal at our back door. We could just jump in our boat and take off and go fishing whenever we were in the mood. We were very fortunate to have some wonderful neighbors and we made so many wonderful and interesting friends. Pete and Jane were our best friends and we would spend our evenings gathered on the dock talking, laughing and fishing. Weekends we would gather for a low country boil or we would hop in the boat and go look for gators or just cruise down the river gazing at the stars. Sometimes we would just cut the engine and drift with the tide and talk and laugh like crazy. Many times we would go to the Landing by boat and have dinner or go watch the fireworks on the holidays.
Even when the weather was cold, the dock was a favorite gathering spot. Someone would bring out a TV and we would set it up and watch the Jags play. We tailgated right there on the dock. I sure do miss those times and they are wonderful memories. We spent many weekends fishing with our nephews, Clayboy and E-III. Catching “reds” was our favorite thing. Sometimes we would fish all day, catch our limit for the boat, run out of food and drinks and we would head back home to reload and do it again. Unfortunately, most times the trip back out resulted in nothing. But there was a lot of camaraderie and we really had a lot of good times. Sometimes it would be so hot that we would get in the water and tie a rope around ourselves so we wouldn’t get washed away because the St. Johns tide was so strong at times.
We had a special place we would fish on the St. Johns. We would come out of the Ortega River and head straight across the river to a spot that we could always identify because it had a red roof on the boat house and housed a boat called the “Capaloa”. We caught so many reds in that area and that was most always the first place we headed. That summer was referred to as the “Summer of our Dreams”. In the following years, we were never quite able to recapture it, but the memories linger and they are certainly happy ones.
Well, as it has been said, all dreams have to come to an end and our life as we knew it on the river, finally ended. The complex went condo and unfortunately we could not buy our unit. By that time, we had sold our last boat and it was time to move on. It was very sad as we watched our friends leave, one by one. It was very quiet and lonely.. no more laughter filling the night air… I think we were the last to leave of our group and for me it was a very sad day. So now we are in another apartment complex on the water, which is where we love to be … and life goes on. So now we fish at the Nassau Sound and Huguenot Park and we really enjoy it. Our grandson, Hunter, who is now 13, loves to fish and really enjoys going fishing with us. We have spent many happy hours fishing in the sunshine and loving life and hope to continue to do so for many years to come.