Apalachin Community Press, July 2000

Some Observations from the Hill by HH Brown

As my wife, Ag, and I got older, she got so she dreaded the changing of winter into spring. It started with her being asked to help drive two of our neighbors who had both lost the partners of their first marriages and so were not young when they married for the second time. This must have shown Ag what a vast difference there was spending March in Florida or having to put up with a month of mud on the farm. The next year she took her sister and our oldest granddaughter and then we managed so that I could go along. She had met this couple that ran a horseshoe shaped complex consisting of some old style Florida buildings and some modern cottages. The landlady's brother was a farmer in Maryland who had a little 23-feet fishing boat that he kept in a marina nearby. Their father who, though he was nearly 87 years old, still ran a crabline summers in Maryland. He had always been a hard worker so when he had a chance to go out fishing on the ocean with his son he hated to come in. His son, whom the old man always called Buck, was careful to watch and not stay out in bad weather if his father was with us. One day we were about 20 miles out and the breeze which had been blowing steady til then, started to come a lot stronger. The old man was afraid his son would want to go in so he said, "It's coming right down, ain't it, Buck?"

To go from Sebastian where we stayed into the ocean you have to cross the Indian River which really isn't a river but a narrow body of water between the East coast of Florida and a narrow strip of land which supports the highway, A one A. Right east of Sebastian there's a narrow waterway, the Sebastian Inlet. Water flowing from the Indian River through the Inlet always seems to have a strong current, in fact there's a sign warning people passing through there of the danger. One day, coming in from a day on the ocean, Buck seemed nervous for the breakers were rolling straight into the mouth of the inlet and this sometimes meant there would be a shallow place if you followed a breaker in. Buck had just gotten far enough into the inlet to be past this danger when we heard a strange buzzing noise, the teeth on his power shaft had stripped. There is a long jetty on one side of the inlet which is curved enough so that a boat without power could smash into the side of the jetty. Buck quickly ducked into the small cabin and brought an anchor through the opening in the prow of the boat and threw it overboard. We were only a few feet from the rocks along the side of the jetty when the anchor caught some thing and Buck cleated the line up and we were swinging in the current. He called the marina but there was no one there right then that could help us and when he called the Coast Guard, the nearest boat was an hour away. Just about then a boat came in off the ocean, pulled alongside Buck's boat, threw him a line and started to tow him up the current. He called out to them that his anchor was caught in something. They stopped and let Buck try to free the anchor but when it wouldn't come loose they towed him and what he was fast to into the still water. Then the two men in the other boat and Buck pulling straight up found he was caught in an old Palmetto root which had been all but submerged in the bottom. They took off with the root in their boat and when Buck called them later that evening and asked how much he owed them, they said they had gotten more than 75 pounds of sinkers and lures from the root.