- I came here on November 3, 1955, born another grateful "Son of the South", later I realized that I had inherited a few too many of my daddy's restless genes. For as long as I can remember he just had a plain ole natural or unnatural desire to go. Usually somewhere far, more times than not, as far as he could. People, friends and loved ones the like often wondered why, but the fact was, he just plain liked it, and the more he went the more he wanted. He was born enjoying being somewhere he'd never been, and from that moment on he never stopped.
During the hazy days of my youth, uncles, grandfathers, cousins and friends, wooed me to their world of woods, mountains, swamps, rivers, creeks and oceans. They seemed amused at creating a problem I would eventually learn to live with for the rest of my perpetual childhood. My hero my Dad, and his unmapped ramblings, became the norm for me and the family.
He sent for me once when he was down in Costa Rica, I got into San Jose late at night and had to find my own way to the hotel. I remember waking in the pre-dawn from a fatigue induced coma listening through the open window as a million roosters voiced their disapproval at a faint glow creeping across their starry sky. The smells and sounds of a foreign land imprinted on my soul just as the foreign visa was stamped in my crisp new passport. Unknowingly or not, Daddy had put the first nail in the coffin of a young vagabond to be, and so began, formally, the education of a prodigy that would earn a PHD in "life well wasted".
The first time he carried me to the Rain Forest the Contras were still active in the region. Flying up the coast towards Nicaragua there was nothing to see but Beach, Jungle and the Caribbean. In the cabin of that old wore out Cessna we carried enough fuel in 5 gallon cans stored in the back seat, for the return trip. We put down on my first bush airstrip complete with the usual menagerie of cows, chickens, goats, and horses dodging us and each other. There on the banks of the Rio Colorado, just before emptying into the Caribbean, a famous old Fishing Lodge was strategically nestled and used for our base of operations. From this headish perspective I finally began to relate and appreciate my fathers stories of the South Pacific during his Navy days of WWII. Dad, myself, the river and the jungle, began to merge and flow like the rain through the canopy overhead to the forest floor below. We all sank into the dark loam of ancient composting organic matter as our history converged for a while with that of the forest and took us a long through the seeps, cracks, crags and trickles to the river, brown, brackish, swirling, ever flowing on to fulfill its God given right of both muddying and nourishing, the crystal clear Caribbean.
For the time I spent there the days were for the jungle, Ocelot Tracks, flocks of Yellow Napped Parrots, Howler Monkeys, Olive Tangers, Tink Frogs, Wild Peccaries and rain. I still remember the great dugouts gliding along with my daddy in the prowl pointing the route he wanted, watching the forest, surveying the amount of marketable timber that the forest would yield. But the nights, the nights, the nights were special, memories of those times spent there are forever with me. While my dad and his crew sat around the fire considering the information gleaned from the day's survey, the native boys would invite me into their small dugouts to fish. They shared with me my first warm Costa Rican Beer and showed me the Tarpon of the Rio Colorado.
From those small boats we fished by lantern light, catching mostly small snapper, jacks and bait fish. Occasionally the Big Silvers would visit and play with us, breaking off our hand lines and sometimes if we held on too long, dumping our small crude boats of all on board before following the bait fish up the river to their evening dinner. Down there I spent the day living for the night, dreaming, just like I do now, dreaming of, well you know what I was dreaming of.