Florida, early 1980s

Florida, early 1980s

Here is an image from the distant past, again from the early 1980s, not reproduced all that well because I just laid the slide onto the phone screen then copied it with the 5D2.  The original camera would have been a Pentax MX, using Kodachrome.  The location was Lake Tohopekaliga, shot during the trip I mentioned not long ago when discussing the untimely death of a relative.  My grandfather moved near this lake in the 1950s from a farm in Kentucky due to illness.  He enjoyed a great many days fishing here even though he didn’t seem to be much of a fisherman during his farming and railroading days.

I have a few stories still lingering in my mind, mainly those he would repeat during our yearly visits.  He liked to tell the story of wade fishing in the lake, I think it might have been at the mouth of a canal leading into the lake, when a large alligator swam up to him while he was standing chest deep in his waders.  They looked at one another in the eyes for a good while and so not knowing what to do, he reached out and rapped the gator on the nose with his rod.  The gator looked for a bit longer then just turned and swam off.  He would laugh and laugh about this first person encounter of a Kentucky farmer with a gator.

He had some fishing pals that produced stories too.  Such as wade fishing with a preacher who wore a big straw hat for sun protection.  He was chatting with the preacher while casting, but heard something and so turned around only to find the straw hat floating in the water.  Where did the preacher go, he thought?   Then up popped the preacher from under the water, he had stepped in an hole and gone completely under.  Hahaha!

Another friend went out with him in the boat on a clear day but up came one of those severe Florida storms.  The lake became rough with tall waves and the only thing that could be done was to point the small V-bottom boat straight into the waves and forge on- no matter what the direction might be.  He said they would climb the wave and then the outboard motor would pop out of the water when cresting the top, making the motor rev-up and whine until able to cut back into the water.  My grandfather would laugh and laugh while telling what his friend would say and look like.

We spent quite a few days on this lake during my yearly vacations there and I think about it quite often.