Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jenny's Journey

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Jenny dances with her dad while they lived in The Bahamas. Submitted

People have told me for some time I need to write a book and to be honest, I don't know where to start or what to say exactly. So here it goes...

I want to tell my children stories about living in the Bahamas and sacrificing candy bars with my dad every night on the rocks by the crashing waves so Docia, the voodoo priestess wouldn't "get me" - maybe I'll save that for when they're older. Or, how I watched as my mom was held up by machine gun by Bahamian customs officers while I hid under our house. Or how I had to take a boat to school as my dogs swam behind our little boat.

I also want to share my dad's stories from Trinidad/Tobago when he was a teenager. He was a very avid photographer, fishermen and hunter, and I am blessed with a ton of pictures and letters he sent home to his mom and dad in Memphis.

I want them to know about their crazy nut grandmother "Michebird," who was the most amazingly kind and free-spirited woman I have ever known. She was wild! I aspire to be like her. You see, I lost both of my parents at a young age and so I value memories and I treasure pictures. I want my children to have me long after I'm gone.

As a little girl, my parents owned and operated a fly fishing resort (Deep Water Cay) on the eastern tip of Grand Bahama Island. To access the island from the states you would probably fly into south Florida, board another plane for Freeport and then drive about 1-1/2 to 2 hours to McLean's town. Once in McLean's town you would board a ferry boat and travel about 5 minutes by boat.

There is a runway on the island for small aircrafts to fly directly into. To say its isolated is an understatement... especially in the early 80's.

I cannot imagine the courage of my parents moving out there with a small child. There weren't cellphones, internet, cable... heck there wasn't running water or electricity all the time. There were times we bathed from a cup and flushed the toilet with ocean water collected in buckets. To make a phone call we had to go by boat to an out island (Sweetings Cay) and find the operator.

Deep Water Cay is a world famous fly fishing resort that was established in 1958 by two fishing legends: Gil Drake Sr. and longtime Field & Stream editor A.J. McClane. The island is surrounded by "deep" water, thus the name.

However, it's in the middle of prime flats for Bone fishing (the grey ghost). Men and women from all over the world would come to fish the waters and experience the life.

Oftentime (back then) women would fly in and fly right back out because it was too "rough." A lot of these ladies were expecting pina coladas and lying by the pool. We had a pool... sometimes... it was more about the world-class fishing, the sites, the people and the food... not the beach combing or lounging.

I remember once a gentleman was drinking a cocktail and one of the evening ladies (the cooks) said to my mother, "Miche, theys froggies in the ice!" Tadpoles had gotten in the water supply and were frozen in this man's drink. Thank God he was boozing... Mom said, "go fill his glass some more." He never noticed and seemed to have a wonderful time. Ha!

I often went with my parents to get our guests from the small runway on the island. We would drive down in the "people mover" a rig my dad had engineered, I guess, hooked to a John Deere tractor. One time a guest we picked up noticed my accent (I guess I picked up something) and he asked my mother, "What are y'all?" She said, "me one I be Bahamian mon!" We were...

Jenny is originally from Tennessee, but spent her childhood in the Bahamas on a small fly fishing resort, Deep Water Cay Club. She lives in Lebanon with her husband and two children. Recently she began blogging her childhood memories and letters her father sent home (Memphis, TN) from Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1960s. Follow along at

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