A Fun Week With Family in Florida!
by Rachelle Siegrist
We landed in sunny south Florida last Monday afternoon, where we were met by my parents, nephew Tyler and niece Haydyn. A couple hours later we were in Okeechobee and were joined by the rest of the family for supper. Monday was spent hanging out at home, while riding the four-wheeler, taking boat rides and playing in the mud. The weather was also perfect for a picnic by the pond, so we did just that, while watching the fish striking and birds flying overhead!
Tuesday we headed over to Ft. Pierce to spend the afternoon at the beach. As I walked over the little rise in the sandy path leading down to the ocean, the first glimpse of the clear turquoise blue water nearly took my breath away . . . It was absolutely beautiful! The brilliant blue skies above and accompanying ocean breeze made it even better as we waded out into the frigid water, waves crashing at our knees.
It was a perfect day for building a sandcastle so we got to work, and sometime later finished what we named Whnt Castle, derived from the first letter of the talented builders’ names. Complete with a moat and adorned with seashells, it was quite the showplace! Then back to the water we went before taking a leisurely walk down the beach. It was truly a delightful afternoon!
On the drive home, we took a little side trip to explore Bluefield Preserve. My late Granny Beth grew up in Bluefield and my Dad worked there as a teenager, so it’s a historical place for my family. Being passed by about a dozen speeding sheriff vehicles and one fire truck, each one encasing us in a huge cloud of dust when they flew by, added to the excitement! We’re still not sure what it was about, but when the helicopter started flying over, we figured it wasn’t good, whatever it was, although there may have been a sale on donuts somewhere!
Wednesday brought another adventure, as we started out for a boat ride up Taylor Creek.
The engine refused to crank, so after replacing a part, we finally got it working. However in the midst of trying to get it going my poor Dad hurt his knee. Nonetheless we went out anyway, and had a ball! After a short ride, Dad and Wes dropped my Mom, the kids and I off on an island, and they went fishing.
We had a ball building a stick and moss teepee against a large tree and building a fake fire upon which we cooked empty snail shells and other natural finds on top of our makeshift grill. After getting my mom settled down on a ground-level mechanics chair, which had been left there by someone, the kids and I started making jungle animal calls each time a boat passed by.
Now the funny part about it was that we all hid each time we did it, leaving my poor mom sitting abandoned and alone atop the sandy hill for the passing boaters to see and point at, thinking she was some crazy lady and was responsible for all the weird noises! Each time we all laughed and laughed, and the kids couldn’t believe it when a helicopter came, directly flying over the island!
It did so 3 times while flying quite low, the kid’s eyes growing wider each time it passed over us! By the time Dad and Wes returned, the kids were in a complete state of hysteria as they recounted it all in between laughs and giggles! Leaving the island we enjoyed a ride along the river, stopping a few times for the boys to catch more fish! Our fun day on the water and island had made us hungry so we ended it at Pizza Hut.
Sadly Dad’s knee was quite swollen by Friday morning, so he, my Mom and I spent most of the day at the VA hospital, and left that evening still not knowing exactly what was wrong, as they couldn’t do the MRI. So Saturday morning while my parents slept in, Wes and I joined Marshall, Tyler and Haydyn, to go fishing on Lake Okeechobee. Within minutes they had caught the first Speckled Perch of the day, so I became the designated driver using the trolling motor, while the rest fished. It was a beautiful morning and great to be back on the lake once again! After a couple of hours, several more good-sized specs were added to the collection of keepers. Then, noticing black clouds forming and hearing a couple claps of thunder, we headed back in, and somehow miraculously beat the storm!
That afternoon we dyed Easter eggs, drew and painted little paintings with the kid’s Itty Bitty Art Kits we gave them, while it stormed. And guess what was for supper that evening . . . You guessed right . . . fresh fried fish, cheese grits, and cole slaw!
Sunday my brother and I spent much of the day riding bikes, one of our favorite past times! We rode my favorite, Grassy Island Trail, which was peacefully gorgeous as always, with Tyler joining us later to ride the STA Trail. There we saw over two dozen alligators ranging in size from less than a foot to over eight feet, and got to watch both a Great Blue Heron and an Great Egret swallow fish! Later that afternoon, Wes and Marshall hid the Easter eggs, then we turned the kids loose and before long they had found them all, although they needed some assistance to reach a few of them.
After supper that evening we took one last boat ride in the pond and rode the four-wheeler on the trail for awhile. All too soon the day had ended and it was time for goodbyes. Early Monday morning, we headed back to Tennessee, this time bringing my parents back with us!
Until next time . . .