Cedar Key has always been one of my favorite places to visit. I can remember going with my Grandmother and Grandfather Knight when I was three years old; and the feeling of jubilation as I held her hand and jumped over the boards of the old dock. I loved looking through the cracks at the water below---hoping to get my feet wet just one time on a visit.
The old dock was really something and I am sorry a hurricane forced it demise too early eliminating more young children from meeting the fishermen and their boats; off the big round dock that seemed to reach to Cuba. I remember seeing a crab almost as big as I was---and I just wanted to touch it, but that did not happen as my Grandmother scooped me away in her arms.
The ambiance then and now when I visit are still great, but totally difference from years ago. The salt sticks to my hair and skin just walking on the beach, but I loved every second. I remember a fish market where we bought fish, but I do not remember at that young age of seeing a restaurant.
Surprisingly the years passed quickly and now we were twelve; all grown up and knew it all. My cousin Marti and I would visit when my Aunt Dora and Uncle Curlie took us for a day of fun in the sun. We loved Mullet, Shrimp, Scallops and Crabs. My aunt could cook anything and it would melt in your mouth. As I write this, I want to visit again soon.
Our family always went to the park and cooked on a little Coleman stove the best fish. I felt such a kindred spirit with the people who live in Cedar Key. I remember finding my first Sand Dollar at the end of the park road which was not much of a road then.
I found my treasured Sand Dollar on the other side of a tin building and I cannot recall what it was used for, but no one was there. This was before any commercial buildings were built. The only houses were homes that belonged to the people of Cedar Key. This was when the park had a diving board which I loved. My cousin and I would pretend to jump together off the board, but I knew she would not do it. I was the only one crazy enough to dive into the salty waters.
My cousin Marti and I walked in the cool salty water on the side of the tin building---we were about 12 then, and I screamed when I saw my beautiful Sand Dollar. I had it for many years and it was lost during moving---it took a piece of my heart with it.
And, I recall an elderly woman gave my cousin and me a cutting of one of her plants we were admiring on her little porch. Her home was half on the ground and half was sticking out in the water---it fascinated us. We looked for her home after a hurricane when we were teenagers and it was gone. That was sad because it was gone and we did not know her name.
We did visit the cemetery which had shells over every grave and left some wildflowers on graves with female names, hoping if she was there she would know we cared. This might sound silly to some, but we were savvy teenagers; therefore we thought we knew all the answers of life.
This was about the same time we wonder how we were born into families with parents who were not cool with us going out into a little boat with a girl who lived in Cedar Key and told us stories about what happened to people after dark who did not live there---she really scared the daylights out of us.
We realized our parents were smarter that their children and was happy to leave before dark.
It has been years since I visited a Seafood Festival in Cedar Key because I am always it seems busy with life. And, my best advice to anyone is live while you are young because being an adult sometimes put a damper on fun.
Marti and I had more adventures with this Cedar Key girl named Rosa Lee. I can still see her rowing the boat as she spit her chewing tobacco. Our eyes never left her face---we were hooked with an unbelievable character. We felt like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, on an adventure of a lifetime.
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