Boating across the bay, navigating shallow sandbars and winding through grassy marshes into the river, observed by egrets, cormorants, brown pelicans, and the occasional ‘gator on the banks.
Enjoying my mom’s crab-stuffed shrimp, trout amandine, oyster stew, cheese grits, coleslaw, and Key lime pie. Or just digging into a pile of freshly steamed blue crabs on a table covered with yesterday’s newspaper.
This is my Florida. It’s the Florida I grew up knowing, and it’s not changed much in the 28 years since I left. That makes me happy.
A Long Family History Here
My father grew up here, in Apalachicola, and we spent countless weekends and summers making the trek from Miami to visit Mother Pearl, my dad’s grandmother, a 4’10” sturdy little dynamo who dressed in a corset, calico dress, and seamed stockings every day. And then proceeded to work all day long in her garden and house well into her late 80’s.
Mother Pearl raised my dad during the Great Depression, and they lived off of what they grew in their garden and the seafood they caught. You would think my dad would have had enough oysters, crabs, and mullet to last him a lifetime. But instead, he says that his gills dry out if he’s too long away from the bay on which he was reared.
Fortunately, my mom has loved this special place just as much. And she loved Mother Pearl just as much, too. (In fact, Mother Pearl passed on her secret recipe for fried crabs to my mom, one that she refused to give up to anyone else.)
My mom and dad retired here 30 years ago and built a home on the bluff overlooking the bay. It’s peaceful and beautiful. And thankfully, somehow, it’s still unspoiled.