Interesting Encounters


While making a brief stop to fish in the Oklawaha River where it joins the Silver River that flows out of Silver Springs, Florida, I met Dick Kloss. He was putting in his home built cedar strip racing canoe to paddle up the Silver River, about 6 miles, into Silver Springs.

I learned that Dick is the oldest man to ever swim across Lake Huron - frankly, I didn't know anyone had.

He had recently retired and lived six months in the Silver Springs area and six months in his home province of Ontario, Canada. He said his wife had bought him a campground and put him back to work.

I promised to bring my canoe and look him up next trip.


Note: The following story has been fictionally enchanced.

One day, while I was fishing a remote pond in the Florida Everglades, this chap, who I subsequently named Harry, came crashing out of the mangroves. After the initial shock of our encounter, we began to study each other. At first he was rather standoffish, but he did seem interested in the coffee I was brewing. I fixed him a cup and he began to warm up to me. I then fixed him a mess of cheese grits and we became best buds.

Through the use of sign language which we both had learned somewhere, I was able to determine that he had lived in the Everglades all his life and had no know relatives in the area. He did, however, have a faded newspaper clipping in a locket around his neck that spoke of sightings of beings like himself in the northwestern part of the US. He was hoping to get there one day and look them up.

I told him I was on the way to the Universal Studios theme park near Orlando, Florida and suggested he come along. He had not heard of Universal Studios but did ask if I had ever heard of Disney World.

Universal Studios would not let him enter the theme park until he got some shoes and took a bath. I ran him through a car wash and gave him my old blown-out flip-flops.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our visit and while we were there a PR lady approached us and asked Harry if he would be interested in a job at the park. After considerable discussion, they agreed on a 5-year contract and Harry started immediately - posing with little kids and old guys for pictures.

Here, I am bidding him farewell and wishing him luck in his new career - with the promise that we'll get together and go fishing the next time I'm in the Orlando area.