I’ve always loved the water. I guess you might say it’s in my genes. My dad was born in a tiny village in Greece called Kastoria, a community built around a beautiful lake.
At 13, he immigrated to America with my grandfather and left his beautiful lake behind but not its memories. As a child, I remember his telling the stories of his life on the lake and always dreamed of one day going back there with him. It took a while, but I did.
My dad never missed a chance to pass along that love for the water. I grew up fishing with him at places in our home state of Alabama like East Lake, Lake Purdy and Lake Guntersville. I didn’t catch much – except my brother’s thumb one time as he strolled behind my errant cast – but just the presence of water made me giddy and calm all at the same time.
It’s hard to explain, but water has a way of doing that to people. It draws them in, bringing out their reflective side, inspiring them, getting them excited about the prospects of the day just begun. It delivers them a sense of calm when winding down at day’s end with some of the most spectacular sunsets around.
I have often said the county where I now live, St. Clair County, Alabama, is doubly blessed. It has not one, but two lakes within its borders. And much like that little lake in Kastoria, cities and communities grew up around them and thrived.
In St. Clair’s case, Neely Henry and Logan Martin have been the catalyst for economic development, a climbing housing market, tourism and that refuge for thousands of people that evokes giddiness and calm all at the same time.
It’s no surprise to me that I spent the latter half of my life on Logan Martin Lake or that I spent so many precious days fishing off my own pier with my dad. Bream, Crappie, Catfish, Bass – they all wound up on Daddy’s hook sooner or later. He didn’t seem to care much what he caught or if he caught anything at all. Just being there was his best catch of the day.
I often think about all the days I have spent on the water. Even as I write this, I draw my inspiration from the shimmering lake I can see just outside my windows’ gaze.
As the weather warms, it’s that excitement of a new beginning, a new season that seems to define the essence of lake life for me. It’s like that Christmas present under the tree your parents won’t let you open just yet. “Soon,” they say. But ‘soon’ can’t come soon enough.
The same holds true for lake season. While ‘soon’ is indeed just around the corner, you can sense it just can’t come quickly enough.