I had decided to camp for a few days to write and work on equipment, so I headed a couple of miles downriver from where I had met Red and Beth, and I also made sure that I was far enough away from the nearest houseboat to ensure both their and my privacy. That was day before yesterday. I decided out of curiosity as much as anything to paddle back up river and then down the Chipola Cutoff. As I passed an occupied houseboat, I hollered “Good morning,” which led to an invitation to lunch when I got back. The benefactor, Charlie Pettis, also gave me a message for Doug at the store that I would find about three miles down the cutoff. I did meet that gentleman, who gave me a similar message (all in good fun) for Charlie. I also met Phillip Gaskin, the owner of Dead Lakes Sportsman’s Lodge. I bought the things that I needed, but Phillip didn’t have Jetboil fuel or pots and pans available, so he gave me one of his cooking pots — wouldn’t allow me to pay for it. I learned later that Charlie is a Wewahitchka city commissioner and Phillip is the mayor.
On the way back, Gene Martin, to whom I had spoken as I went down the cutoff, waved me over to ask about my canoe and then about my travels. Gene is a retired Florida DOT engineer, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable (for both of us, I think) conversation.
The day had gone so well that it couldn’t get much better, but it did. As Charlie and his son-in-law, Aaron Brock, were getting ready to leave, Charlie offered me the use of his houseboat. I was dumbfounded but found my voice soon enough to accept. He then proceeded to show me how to operate everything and where the food was, which he invited me to help myself to, and then how to lock the place up when I left.
So, I hereby declare and invite anyone to show proof that I am wrong that Wewahitchka, Florida is the friendliest place on the Chattahoochee-Apalachicola River system.