“I feel like I’m arriving in a dream sequence, like I’ve been here before in my dream life,” I said to Joe after we had been in Cedar Key, Florida, for all of five minutes. We were checking into a fuchsia colored camp office. A man in hip boots was dumping oyster shells from buckets onto the drive-way and spreading them out like we would spread gravel on ours. Breathing in the salty sea air, I felt at home, and as though we had be transported in time, dropped off onto a quaint island fishing village where something magical was about to happen..
The mullet fish at Annie’s Café was fresh and the weather was warm enough to sit on the deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. We hadn’t told either of the two former Floyd Countian couples who now live in Cedar Key that we were planning to visit. The café waitress, who knew one of the couples, Pat and Tom, brought us a phone book so we could call. They weren’t home, but we left a message.
The Gulf that surrounds Cedar Key looks more like a bay than an ocean. The sand is bright white and egrets, ibis, and herons outnumber the gulls in some places. Walking barefoot with Joe along the shore after lunch with shells jiggling in my jacket pocket, a truck hauling a boat pulled up beside us. It was Pat and Tom! The looks on their faces were priceless.
Then it was old home week in front of Willie and Gina’s place, the second former Floyd County couple, where we had all convened. When I hopped out of Tom’s truck, my friend Willow’s jaw dropped. She and her mom, Liz (also a longtime friend), were also visiting from Floyd, but none of us had any idea the others would be here. It was a spontaneous rendezvous line-up that probably wouldn’t have happened if we had tried to plan it.
We admired Willie’s antique bike collection and shucked some fresh oysters in the front yard, catching up. Some were drinking beer while others sipped tea. Gina showed me around, pointing out her banana, fig, and pomegranate trees. The sun slipped down low and my bare feet got cold. Someone offered to lend us one of the bikes, but we had our own. We made plans for a ride the next day to explore the rest of the island.
Post note: Terri from Island Writer also lives here in Cedar Key. We hope to meet up with her as when she gets back from her book signing journey.
Photos: 1. Hibiscus flower. 2. Bath house at campground. 3. Gulf birds 4. Floydians in Cedar Key. 5. Willow, Colleen, and Liz catching up.