Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
Shortly after I left the town of Key Largo I found the old road again. The land was narrow along here and I found myself walking close to the ocean. In the Dove Key area I came upon a man working in his woodworking shop. He hailed me and said,
“ Where you going?”
Dusting a bunch of wood shavings off his arms he introduced himself.
It seemed that Mr. Schry was retired and kept himself busy with various wood projects, and I found out later some other businesses.
“It’s getting pretty late, you need a place to camp?”
“Sounds like a good idea,” I answered.
“Come along back here. The water is right behind my house. The breeze will keep the mosquitoes away tonight.”
“I’m happy to hear that.” I told him where I had camped last night, up on the top of the motel, and he was amazed.
“I’m an old Keys man, some might call me a Conch,” (born and raised in the Keys), he said, “I’m 69 years old, been here a long time. In fact I remember the railroad running along here. I’ll leave you to your camp. You can get some water up behind the house. There’s a spigot there.”
I dropped my pack in back of the house down towards the shore, grabbed both of my canteens and headed for the water spigot. A real break! While I was getting some water Mr. Schry came out with a heaping paper plate of lasagna.
“ The missus wants you to have this,” he said.
“Gee thank you, I haven’t eaten this good since I started my hike over a month ago!”
Thank the Lord for Mrs. Schry’s good cooking! I thought, as I scarfed up the delicious food. After that great supper, I had a swim in the boat basin area. There was no beach back there and the coral rock was too rough to sleep on. I looked around and found a partial sheet of drift plywood. It worked ok for a place to put my sleeping bag on. I set up camp and then settled down to sketch. There was a broken lobster trap amongst the coral rocks and a real nice palm tree nearby. While I was doing this, I watched as a long legged bird fished. In the night I woke and noticed that the tide was up. The moon was bright and beautiful. The mosquitoes were very light but I still used my mosquito-net hat. I was up early in the morning. As I was walking by the house, Mr. Schry waved and hollered out,
“Bye and good luck,”
“Thanks for everything,” I said.
I had a later experience with Mr. Schry. When I got to Key West and settled in with my uncle and aunt, I wrote and sent a thank-you card to Mr. and Mrs. Schry. I told them that I was so very thankful for their wonderful hospitality. They had gone the extra mile by letting me, a perfect stranger, stay in their backyard...and then serving me that wonderful plate of lasagna. To my great surprise they wrote back to me immediately in care of my uncle and aunt’s address.
The Schry’s letter…..
Your nice letter was received as we were getting ready for a short business trip here and other places in Fla, in relation to my TV Tower business.
It’s seldom, these days, that one, like yourself, will take the time to write and thank one for a favor. Pleased to know that you enjoyed your nite in “Dove Key”, especially the lasagna.
If your by this way, anytime in the future, your welcome to stay by the ocean and perhaps have another dish of lasagna.
Good luck on the balance of your trip.
Very truly yours,
About the Author: After getting out of the Army Bob Kranich backpacked from the Georgia border to Key West in a 40 day adventure walk across Florida. His recently published book A Walk Across Florida is available from his website or Amazon.com