Since the time I wrote this story two years ago, my grandmother’s house has withstood another hurricane. Mom said she couldn’t endure another clean-up after a flood, so she and my dad worked hard over the past eight months to have it raised from almost completely ground level to preserve it. It looks a little different now that it’s a little bit closer to heaven, but every bit of the character is still intact, including the pine floors and paneling, which is an absolute miracle since other nearby houses, including one neighbor’s, was completely devastated from Hurricane Hermine last fall.
My grandmother was big on saving; she even saved wrapping paper after she removed it from gifts. Remembering her and all the work my parents put into saving this practical little house my dad’s father built with lumber from his sawmill, is something that will be continued to be treasured for generations to come, no matter how many storms come and go. My grandmother would be so proud of everything my parents saved.
Miraculously, the house looks almost completely like nothing ever happened because of their restoration. In fact, when boaters pass, who haven’t seen it since the hurricane, they always look over and point in astonishment.
The house still has more work to be done. It’s been an exhausting labor of love for my mom and dad, but I don’t think they’d have it any other way, especially when they see their grandchildren enjoying it as much as they have and my dad’s parents did.
I wrote this story below in 2015 without a thought in my mind about the house ever being destroyed like the neighbor’s house next door. Funny how time and trials change our mindset.
Unfortunately, my grandfather who built the house passed away before I was born, so all I’ve ever known about him has been through stories, stories like I’ve written about my grandmother and why I love Steinhatchee (even more than Dog Island)…
Steinhatchee: More Than Scallops
Every time I go down to Steinhatchee, I remember the fun I had as a kid, swimming in the river and making the best mud pies in the dirt driveway at my grandmother Dickert’s river house. At the time, I was her youngest grandchild. She spoiled me with Coke, homemade divinity and, most often, ice cream sandwiches. But, the greatest gift she ever gave me was her love and time, and she had a lot of both to give.
I loved my grandmother Dickert and learned so many skills from her: how to sew, be self-sufficient, be prayerful and how to be content, even though I didn’t realize I was learning it at the time.
Being at the river house brings back so many fond memories of her, especially when I wrap myself up in one of her colorful handmade quilts. But, being at the river also reminds me of reasons I should be thankful to be alive too.
When I was a little kid, my big sister saved me from drowning in the river in the middle of the night after I ran to get something off my dad’s sailboat, which was docked next door in front of my uncle Jerry’s house. I could have died that night, but God allowed my sister to find me and save me from drowning after everyone started asking where I had gone and ran to find me outdoors. All I recall from that dark night was my sister pulling my long hair really hard and lifting me from the water. I never thanked her for it… At least I didn’t until a few years ago after watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and reflecting on how my own life could have ended that very night. Funny how memories like that come back to us as adults that we don’t even think twice about as kids.
Though my grandmother has been gone 22 years now, her spirit is forever a part of me and still such a part of our experience in Steinhatchee. I never appreciated it much before, but her home is pretty much the same as it was when she was alive: practical and simple, much like the person I have become, though I still have a ways to go to be more like her.
It’s a gift to spend quality time in Steinhatchee. Even with the seemingly millions of boats from all over, instead of just the locals, competing for the biggest scallop catch in the quickest amount of time, time still slows down to me when I’m there.
Most people only hear about the scallops that can be found in Steinhatchee, but to me, Steinhatchee means so much more.
… And now, our boys will have their own stories to tell their children about their own history at this house. Miranda Lambert once wrote a beautiful song about “The House That Built Me,” and this is one of those houses that brings back those memories I never want to fade.