Celebrating at the top of the lighthouse

Gracie Davis wasted little time.

The family photos completed last Saturday afternoon, she transformed into a near vapor trail as her grandsons attempted to keep pace on the steps leading up the Cape San Blas Lighthouse.

Within just a moment, Gracie was a few steps ahead and the rest of the Davis clan was left playing catch-up.

Davis, described as “80 years young” by her son, was celebrating her birthday and fulfilling her fondest wish for the special day.

Having turned 80 on April 12, on Thursday, Davis traveled from her Marianna home to a daughter’s residence in Port St. Joe for a birthday gathering of children and grandchildren.

That was just the cake, however, with the icing in the form of her excursion to the top of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse and a view her son characterized as “spectacular.”

Even gusty stiff winds, and, my, oh, my, they were blowing, failed to slow Davis who emerged on the platform nearly 100 feet in the air before any of her younger descendants.

And provided a suiting smile and wave.

“I love Port St. Joe, I love this lighthouse,” Davis said before her climb.

When a reporter noted that he, frightened of even step-ladder-level heights, had never attempted a trip to the top of the lighthouse, Davis was quick with a verbal elbow to the ribs.

“Everybody should climb to the top of the lighthouse,” she said as a wide smile creased her face.

Her son, Andy, said this was her desire for her 80th birthday and noted mom was no novice at the lighthouse, having first climbed the structure last year.

Andy also noted there was something of a connection for the Marianna family since they hail from the same county that Ducky Johnson Movers call home.

The company moved the lighthouse from Cape San Blas to its new home in Port St. Joe’s George Core Park.

The family, including Gracie, has been making frequent trips to Port St. Joe since 2017.

“We just enjoy coming down to Port St. Joe,” Andy said. “We love it. The community is great. The people are great.

“Mom climbed the lighthouse last year at 79 and she is ready to do it again at 80. She’s excited.”

Gracie Davis is one of eight children, born in Red Level, AL.

She is the mother of four and, since 1980, has lived a life of retired leisure in Marianna, enjoying “life and grandchildren,” Andy said.