Jan 26, 2020

The View from Denise's Office Window

Yesterday I was on Amelia Island, it was a brisk, sunny, fill your lungs with fresh oxygen kind of day; glorious. 

I went on a 6 mile bike ride from Amelia Island Plantation down to the tip of the island and visited the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park. I've been over this bridge many times when driving up the coast on A1A from Jax to Fernandina Beach.  This time I was able to walk on the beach and on the actual Crady Bridge where many people spend hours and hours fishing. It was a wonderful experience.  

I love water, I love the manifestation of bodies of water, oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds, swimming pools, water fountains; the connection for me is immediate. I love the movement, the ebb and flow, the currents, the vastness, the mystery. 

I felt right at home on the Crady Bridge, taking in as much of the Nassau Sound as I could. There was a swift current running under the bridge, water racing towards the Atlantic, the surface of the water alive, speaking to those willing to listen.  

The George Crady Bridge was originally built in 1948, in 2003 it was named in honor of George Crady, the Florida State Representative, who spearheaded support to save the bridge for public fishing use. It was closed to vehicular traffic in 1999 when a new bridge spanning the Nassau Sound was built. 

So basically there are two bridges side by side, one for transportation over the Nassau Sound and then the Crady Bridge right next to it, for the state park.  In the photo below you can see the fishing bridge in the foreground and on left side of photo is the bridge used by vehicular traffic to cross the sound. 

The state park has a small bait shop ran by Miss Denise and her husband.  I'm sorry I did not get his name.  Miss Denise is a joy, her and her husband have been running the bait shop since 2015.  She gave us all the information specific to fishing, license requirements, best bait to use, fishing records, a wonderful guide of practical and historical information regarding the bridge and Mr. Crady.  

The small bait shop was filled with photographs, all the walls were filled with photos of visitors and large fish that had been caught. Miss Denise provided highlights of the "record" catches, I remember her telling us about a flounder that was caught that weighed 22 lbs.  

Miss Denise was filled with energy and joy, her hospitality was heartfelt. I almost wanted to give her a hug before I left the bait shop. I did comment to her that she has the best "office" view I had ever seen.  This is a photo of the back of the bait counter, the window framing the Nassau Sound.  

On the bike ride back I thought about Miss Denise and how people like her make the world a better place and how grateful I was that I had met her.  I thought about how grand life can be even in the simplest of ways and settings.  In that small bait shop I felt completely at home with a person I had never met.  I know I will stop at the Crady Bridge again and visit with Miss Denise.