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Personalized gift shares father’s love of birds

November 30, 2016
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A hand-painted and designed present now adorns the end of one part-time residents driveway for all of his neighbors to see.

John Lester's 28-year-old daughter Caroline knew her father enjoyed the birds that grace the island, so she decided to surprise him with a mailbox that has osprey painted on one side, and sanderlings on the other.

"It was a total surprise and I was really excited," John said when he opened the present.

Article Photos

John Lester stands with his personalized mailbox, a gift his daughter made him, with an osprey.


Eleven years ago Lester and his wife, Deb, purchased a house on Sanibel and named it Osprey Landing because the property used to have an osprey nest. One of the features that attracted Lester to the home was the painted murals that covered many of the interior walls. When the walls had to be painted, the murals disappeared, which was another reason he enjoyed the painted mailbox so much.

"She's always been good at art," Deb said of her daughter's talent. "She likes to do it as a hobby."

Caroline, who lives in England, is an Oxford graduate and economic consultant. Before she painted the mailbox she practiced on many cards perfecting the birds.

When the Lester's return to England the personalized mailbox is replaced with an ordinary one, so he can keep the treasured mailbox in the best shape possible.

The Lester's first trip to America was a trip to Disney with their kids. It was not until John was standing in line for a hamburger that he found out a place called Sanibel existed. Once John told the gentleman he liked quiet, birds and fishing - he was instantly advised to take a trip to Sanibel.

The family drove to Sanibel and arrived at West Wind Inn after the sun had gone down. The following morning when they woke and the sun was shining they said "wow," which eventually led to John looking for a place to purchase.

Now, when the couple comes down a few times a year, they take a taxi from the airport and walk and bike everywhere they go on the island, affording them with the opportunity to really appreciate the wildlife that also calls the island home.

John has since retired. He owned a computer company in England.



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