Growing up I have always had doing something at or in the water as part of my life. My parents were fortunate enough to be able to build a home on a lake in Georgia and I loved to go fishing and skiing as a child. Later in life when my parents went their separate ways my father found a shack of a place (this place was a shack!!) on another creek which fed into a lake on the Chattahoochee river and even at the young age of 13, I had a small boat which I could use to ride and go fish.
When I joined the service, my first duty station was in a small town in New Mexico which I referred to as the arm pit of the world. There were lakes within three hours distance and to continue in my enjoyment of being on the water, I purchased a boat. I camped frequently and skied with friends on the weekends. My military adventures took me to Florida and even Okinawa. Boating wasn’t always a part of my activities, but you can bet the water was. Fishing, skiing, and SCUBA diving are wonderful.
Fast forward a few years. I was divorced after a rough 7 year marriage and starting a new chapter in my military career. I met a woman who was also going through a change from a lengthy marriage. She was finishing up a second degree and I was starting the process of completing my first. We hit it off, almost immediately, and decided to get married after only 6 weeks of knowing one another. The downfall to this was I didn’t quite know she didn’t have the passion for being on the water like I did. A couple of years later we have a daughter and we started moving from base to base. Military life and the little one kept us so busy there wasn’t really a lot of time for water activities. We filled our time with camping, other outdoor activities, and lots of Chuck-E-Cheese.
We moved back to Florida for my final military assignment and then my dad passed away shortly after. This started a rough period for me and I started wanting to get back to doing things on the water. Not only because I enjoyed doing these as a child, but with my dad as well. By this time, my daughter is nearly 8 years old and we are planning for Florida to be where we will stay.
We buy a fishing boat after some back and forth discussions about it. My wife really didn’t want to, but I insisted. The first time we take it out things didn’t go so well, but we survived. I found out when she told me she didn’t like the water she meant it!! After a few trips though, she has become accustom to the water and even has become a pretty good navigator, but my daughter still doesn’t like boating all that much. That is partly my fault, but I hope as she grows older that will change. Her thing is the beach, which unfortunately I am not the fondest of and because of where we live to do the beach it becomes an all day thing.
So here we are, we have a boat and other water toys which do not get used very often. My father had left my sister and I a piece of property across the street from where he lived and also where I lived before joining the service. After some discussions, it was decided I would purchase my sister’s interest in the property. So now, we have a piece of property with an old mobile home a block and a half from the beach 3 hours from where we live. What do I see? I see a way for us too all enjoy something. I can take my daughter to the beach, get to go fishing, and get away from home without having to make reservations somewhere. My wife can hang out inside during the heat of the day (she hates the heat). We can take walks on the beach in the evening when it is cooler. I can take my daughter to the beach during the day without having to pack up and make it a day long trip and hopefully I will get to squeeze in a fishing trip or two.
So, I will start writing about the progress of what I am calling the “Family Getaway”. My wife is to some extent excited, although not as excited as I am, and I think once we can take our daughter she will gain some enthusiasm too. My goal is to have them both look at me and say “Hey dad, lets go spend some time together in St. Joe!” In the end, I hope to create some good memories for our family and make a place that one day my daughter will be proud to call her family getaway!!