Hey Mon Sanibel...Thoughts As 2016 Comes To A Close December 31 2016, 0 Comments
Wow, another year has come to a close. It always amazes me how fast the time flies. And it's no wonder that despite the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, taking a pause in the action to just reflect is good. I like to do a mental inventory of what I'm thankful for. Sure, like all of us, I've had a downer or two this year. However, the positives have far outweighed the negatives. So, by focusing right now on what I'm thankful for, it sets up 2017 to be a positive one. There are great adventures ahead!
Here’s a list of my “Thankfuls” for 2016. And, since so much of my time revolves around being on the water, I'll be sprinkling in a variety of thoughts pertaining to this – some straightforward, some philosophical.
I'm thankful for……..
- Being happy and healthy enough to wanna get out of bed each day and see what it brings. (Don't get me wrong though, there are some days that sleeping in is very cool.)
- Even though many mornings are pitch black as I prepare the boat for an outing, tasting that hot, robust coffee my wife, Barb, brews up for me makes it seem like all’s right with the world.
- The feeling of oneness with the Hey Mon, my 25 foot Parker boat. As I drop the hoist and ease her out into the water, there's a comaraderie there that can't be explained. It's pretty satisfying.
- Oftentimes, I meet up with some other guides like Matt, Darrin and Jason to throw cast nets for bait before our gigs. Lots of laughing, joking and smack talk goes on as we try to fill our nets with snow (a big time load of whitebait). It's also neat to know these guys stand ready to lend a hand on the water if it's ever needed.
- Greeting my customers for the day and watching their excitement of getting out on the water with friends and/or family members. As the day progresses, I realize that in some respects, I'm like an Ambassador of Joy. For me, it reinforces one of my key reasons for being on this planet.
- Helping kids learn how to fish and watching their excitement when they get a hook-up. I realize that I may be introducing them to an activity that they will enjoy for a lifetime.
- To all the dolphins this year that paid the Hey Mon a visit to just hang out or ballistically go airborne in our motor wake. Thankful too, for the manatee visits as they curiously wallow up to the boat with a look of, “Howdy, What's Shakin'”. How can you not smile back at a goofy, whiskered sea cow. I, mean, come on!
- To be able to participate in on the water celebrations including honeymoons, birthdays, anniversaries and even a celebratory wake or two. Perhaps best of all, hanging with families that just like doing stuff together. It's contagious. I feel like I'm part of the group.
- Watching my customers’ families grow older together. And, seeing just how much smack friends can dole out to each other is pretty funny. And darn if it isn't just plain fun to be able to look forward to seeing many of my same guests year after year.
- To revel in the fishing and shelling grounds surrounding Sanibel, Captiva and the plethora of other islands in the area. The many different species of fish we can catch on any given day is unparalleled to anywhere I've ever been in world. And whether it's for straight catch ‘n release or saving a few for table fare, we can usually get a pretty consistent bite and rods bending.
- It's a real pleasure to take some customers to a number of unique out-of-the-way, and oftentimes funky restaurants located up and down Pine Island Sound. Barb and I like to visit these with friends and families as well. There’s Black Beans ‘N Rice at Cabbage Key, great burgers and music at the Ragged Ass. And one of my all-time favorites, Fried Pickles and to die for cole slaw, among other good eats at the Waterfront in St. James City.
- Oh my, I'm so thankful for fresh Stone Crab and Shrimp from the Jug Creek Fish Market on Pine Island. Bring those bad boys and girls home and serve ‘em up hot and cold with icy brews. Can you say, “l’m thankful for Seafood Heaven on Earth.”
- As each day comes to a close in this paradise called Sanibel, it's jump-on-the-bike-and-ride time. Regardless of how tuckered out I may be, it's so pleasurable to pedal along while smelling the foliage, giving an occasional wave to someone or just getting lost in the freedom of the day. Oh, and I get kidded a lot because the only things I usually wear when riding is a pair of shorts and flops. Yep, I love Brian Piccolo and Mother Nature.
I can close by stating the very obvious that I know many of you can relate to. I am so very thankful for my relationships with neat guests and good friends. And most of all, I'm thankful for my family – my wife Barb, kids, Matt, Kate, Stef, Jeff, Sam, Jenny and grandkids, Sam, Ike, Jack, Brady, Lily and Sally. They make life pretty damn special.
Yep, I'm thankful to be spry and healthy doin' what I do. And, God be willing and the creek don't rise, I'm really looking forward to getting out on the water with you in 2017.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season! Thanks to all. And to all a good night. We'll see you in 2017!