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Ode to Sanibel Island – We Love You

September 29, 2022
Sanibel Shells

We aren’t the first family, or the last, to assign the Sanibel Captiva Causeway Bridge as our “happy lane.” For 25 years driving up and down the expansive white bridge onto little isles of land dotted with a few palm trees, and then up again and down some more bridge until the car landed on our fantasy island, was our favorite destination. Mr. Rourke wasn’t on the Island to greet us with a Pina Colada but we soon found one at our favorite eatery the Fish House, where the frothy drink accompanied a Grouper Ruben.

The Higginbotham’s Bowman’s Beach

I can still see the boys with their dark bangs adorning their cherub faces as we slurped milkshakes at the Island Cow during our first visit followed by the escapade of finding seashells in a Sanibel Stoop form. As the palm trees billowed over a couple decades, the boys grew as tall and thin as them, landing one of them at 6’4” tall. Hunting for seashells eventually turned into fishing expeditions with numerous captains with our favorite being Captain Rin Newmeyer, a native Sanibel man, who we still talk about today.

The Higginbotham’s – September 29, 2019

Every year whether the boys were in school or college, we coordinated our family vacation to this breathtaking paradise. Our last visit together as  family of four was today, September 29, 2019 to celebrate my husband and I’s 30th wedding anniversary on the white shores of the green sea. Married originally in a formal Catholic church was stunning and dutiful, but celebrating 3-decades of love with our two sons as our witness on a balmy, warm September night where we all loved to go was heaven sent.

Our boys took us to eat at Casa Ybel’s Thistle Lodge, our first long time rental home, as we shared our life- long Sanibel memories with the boys who could now drink real cocktails. After dinner, in the moonlight, we rode to Capitiva Island to a house we rented for the week leaving dear Sanibel behind. This special house, with the gulf and a pool and just the four of us together again, is where we danced and swam until midnight under the stars with it most likely being the last time our unit of four would be together alone, since the boys had plans to get engaged the following year.

Sanibel Palm Fronds

It’s impossible to capture the memories we made, the laughter we shared, the sunsets we witnessed together as we grew as a family on the white beaches and warm salty water. All I can say today, on my 33rd Wedding Anniversary, is how grateful I am to have renewed my wedding vows on the island that became so dear and meaningful to my family.

We hope and pray it can recover after yesterday’s catastrophic hurricane, not only for our family to return some day with grandchildren in tow, but for the thousands of people who call Sanibel Island their home too.  

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