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Young essayists detail their visits from friends

Editor's note: The Junior Journalist Club is co-sponsored by the Citrus County School System and the Citrus Times to promote writing. The fourth-grade essay winners wrote about a visit from a friend.

My Friend's Visit

Homosassa Elementary School

When my friend comes to visit, first I will take him to my Grandpapa's fish house. If we arrive early enough, we can watch the sun rise over the Homosassa River. We could fish off the dock and might catch trout, redfish, jacks, bass or bream. Last summer a tarpon was caught there.

I will show my friend the different kind of birds that fly on the boats like the pelican, herons and egrets. We could watch my brother catch blue crabs. He puts a piece of fish in a trap and the blue crabs climb over the edge to get inside the trap to eat the bait. These crabs have claws so they want to pinch you.

Second, my Grandpapa will take us in his boat to the head of the river where the water is cold and crystal clear. We will watch the monkeys on the ropes that are on Monkey island. We will look at the springs. We might see a manatee because this is where they like to come and play. Hopefully we'll spot a raccoon washing his hands in the river and some ducks swim by. Last year we saw some alligators as they were hatching out of their eggs. Thank goodness we never did see their mom!

As we head toward the Gulf of Mexico we will pass many islands that were made from discarded oyster shells by the Seminole Indians. We will see one called Alligator Joe and the famous Tiger Tail Island. On this island, Florida's first senator, David Yulee, built his mansion. It was burned down during the Civil War by Union soldiers and all that remains is the 50-foot chimney.

When we reach the gulf the water becomes salty. Sea gulls fly overhead and dolphins like to play along the side of the boat. The fishing is great out here. I even caught a baby shark with my first "Snoopy" fishing pole!

Back at the fish house, my Grandpapa will clean any fish we caught. We will take them to my Nana to cook for us. Whenever we have company, we like to have a fish fry. Nana fries the fish outside. We will also eat hush puppies, coleslaw, grits and baked beans.

After we eat, I will take my friend to see the remains of the Yulee Sugarmill. The site was once the center of a 5,000-acre sugar plantation. We will see the boiler that turned the wheels that crushed the cane. We will see the pans that boiled the molasses to make the sugar. The mill was in operation until the Civil War. Union soldiers didn't destroy it because they thought they could use it after the war was over.

Then we will cross the street to see the Old Mill Gallery and Print Museum. Here we will see one of the first printing presses. We might print cards with our names on them and the date of my friend's visit.

Finally we will sit on the dock and watch the sun set over the Homosassa River.

My Friend's Visit

By Michelle Copple

Citrus Springs Elementary School

If my friend Lauren visited me in Florida, I would take her to many places. First, we would go to the Rainbow River because there are lots of things to do. For example, canoeing, swimming, snorkeling and, of course, going tubing down the river.

We could have seaweed fights with gushy seaweed, since tubing takes about four hours and there's not much to do while you tube. It would probably be scary to her, because of all the Florida alligators or snakes that could be swimming in the river while we're tubing. But when we're done tubing, Lauren would see that the animals just left us alone.

After a day at Rainbow River, I'd ask Lauren if she'd like to try golf at Little Pine Par 3. This course is close to my house and not expensive. I would let her use my clubs. Then I'd take her to the driving range and we would hit a bucket of balls so she could get used to the clubs. If Lauren was doing good, I'd make her feel even better by calling her the next Tiger Woods.

For refreshment, I'd bring Lauren back to my house to have a juicy orange from my own backyard tree.

Since this is Florida and we usually have hot weather, I would save one of her last days to spend on my favorite lake. This would be Lake Weir. We could do things with our speedboat such as teaching Lauren to water ski or have her pulled in our big pink tube.

Afterward, we could have a cookout using our special boat grill while we're anchored in a shallow area. We would end the day just relaxing.

In conclusion, I hope El Nino won't change any of my plans!