It’s a story that has all the feel of a social media post that went viral. Except that it happened in Lebanon.
Jenny Bennett has called Lebanon home for a number of years. But she spent a large part of her childhood growing up in The Bahamas on a fly fishing resort.
“My parents owned a fly fishing resort about 90 miles east of Freeport on an island called Deepwater Cay (pronounced key),” Bennett said. “It was world famous — started in the 1950s — there’s a lot of stories out there about famous anglers.”
Actor Michael Keaton, TV news anchor Tom Brokaw and the Prince of Monaco are just a few of the names that came to the 3-mile-long island searching for the coveted bonefish.
Known for their elusiveness and difficulty to catch, bonefish have earned the nickname “The Gray Ghost” and catching one is a notch on any self-respecting angler’s belt.
Bennett’s dad, Owen Hughes, grew up in Memphis and was called “Buddy” by family and friends. As a teenager Buddy’s parents would send him to a camp in Trinidad and Tobago called Camp Caruso.
“It was there that he learned how to scuba dive, how to fly fish, and how to spear fish,” she says. “That’s where he got the bug to go to the islands and figure out how he could do something there one day.”
When Bennett was 13 her parents sold the fishing resort and moved back to the United States but kept a house on the tiny cay with Edgar Faust, her father’s childhood friend.
Bennett has been back to the island and the house a few times since her childhood. However, Hurricane Dorian — the deadliest hurricane to ever hit The Bahamas — destroyed the house this past September.
“Everything’s gone. There’s lumber everywhere. The couch is gone. All of the contents are in the ocean. I have friends that they’ve never found,” Bennett said.
But then there’s her dad’s fishing hat.
Friends recently went back to Deepwater Cay to survey the damage. Hugh Faust, son of Buddy’s friend Edgar, was sorting through the rubble when he found a Daiwa visor still on the peg it had been on by the door of their house.
It belonged to Buddy. The Fausts had kept it there as a memento since he left the island 25 years ago.
“I think it’s the sweetest story that they had kept it there all this time. And for it to still be there with those kinds of wind speeds (185 mph) bearing down on it for three days,” Bennet said. “I literally felt like dad didn’t want to leave the island.”
“When Dorian was hitting the island, I told someone, ‘If dad was alive he would still be there on that island.’ ”
It turns out that a small part of him still was.