The 2018 Road, Day 29: The Cleansing Storm and Saturday’s Markets

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June 23, 2018, Tifton, GA-

After a short pass by Clemson University, which I found closed for the evening, I headed off to look for a campsite along  Richard B. Russell Lake.  Named for a conservative senator from Georgia, who was noteworthy as both a pragmatist and a parliamentarian, despite having misgivings about integrating whites and blacks at the Federal level, the lake, formed by damming the Savannah River, draws people of all ethnicities.

I chose the first campground on the South Carolina side of the river:  Calhoun Falls State Park.  The town was named for another senator, John C. Calhoun, who strode the floor of his chamber, orating in defense of slavery, whilst privately educating his own slaves back home.  Even the most seemingly venal of people can be complicated.

The Southland has always graced my camping efforts with a torrential rain, and last night was no exception.  Despite the cleansing downpour, with copious thunder and lightning, my tent and rain flap stayed put.  It also helped that the tent site is on porous ground.

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Here are some views of  the lake, looking towards the Georgia shore. Note that the soil along the shore is red.

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I made a stop at the camp store, for a bit of breakfast, before heading out.  Two sweet teen girls were minding the store and made sure I had fresh coffee and a scone, on this soggy morning.

Outside, the dock and its attendant were getting ready for a more promising day of sunshine.

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I took county roads to the town of Calhoun Falls, then to McCormick, before going on to Edgefield, the hometown of another of South Carolina’s more provocative figures:  J. Strom Thurmond.  Before Donald Trump, before George Wallace, Strom Thurmond stood for keeping things as they were, in bygone days- before coming to his senses in later years, and actually being mortified by those who cited him as an example of a man who could “keep the races apart”.

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I found numerous mementos of the Civil War, as was to be expected, and solid antebellum architecture.  Then, there was the turkey.  Edgefield’s more eclectic claim to fame is as the headquarters of the American Wild Turkey Association.  One of the men with whom I spoke had been to Prescott, and had hunted wild turkeys in our National Forest.

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I took in Edgefield’s tiny, but welcoming Farmers’ Market, purchasing a couple of gifts for my family in Florida.  Then I poked around a bit in Edgefield’s town square.

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Below, is the town’s memorial to its Confederate  war dead.  Being on the opposite side of the slavery issue, I nonetheless recognize that people of earlier times had to go through their growing pains.  Then, too, so do many of this day and age.

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Other memorials honour those fallen in subsequent conflicts.  This memorial stone commemorates World War II.

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I stopped in Park Row Cafe, for a muffaletta, which held its own with the more famous New Orleans versions of the sandwich.  I was greeted warmly by the young lady who I had met on the street, earlier.  The cafe’s manager, though, was a bit more guarded, wondering aloud about “the western Yankee”. She was quite glad to see me go.  Too bad, as the place has wonderful fare.

Down the road, and a bit north of the river, is Aiken.  It is home to another Xanga friend, who was not at home when I visited downtown.  I can see the attraction, though.  Aiken had a larger Farmers’ Market than Edgefield, and was considerably more vibrant.  I spent most of my time here in New Moon Cafe, a fortuitous discovery, as I was missing Artful Dodger.  I sat, nursing a Haitian pour-over, absorbing the positive energy.  I found this magnetic little cafe a great excuse for returning to Aiken in the future, even if Xanga friend is not around.  Here is a small hotel that might be of interest to those not inclined to camp.

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New Moon is all about power!

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I took this photo from a discrete distance as, underneath the signage, another patron was relaxing with coffee and the paper.

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Leaving salubrious Aiken, I wanted to make fairly good time getting to north Florida, before turning in. So Augusta, Lake Oconee, Macon and Andersonville all wait for another time.  I made a mental note, as to the exquisite beauty of Oconee and its Reynolds properties.  There is much also that Georgia has to tell, regarding the struggles of men with one another.  Americus showed the way towards amity, whilst Andersonville chronicles the flip side of Maryland’s Point Lookout, being the site of a POW camp for Union soldiers, just as the latter was for Confederate POW.

So, I stopped here, in Tifton, just off I-75, enjoying chicken salad at a Zaxbe’s.  I still am determined to make it at least to Ocala, tonight.

 

The Fast: Day 9- Contemplation

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March 10, 2018, Prescott-

My second Fasting Saturday featured the usual early big breakfast, and later in the morning, a visit to Farmer’s Market- important, since I missed last weekend, due to my tax return preparation.  That gave me enough food for the next three fasting meals.  I went to Ms. Natural’s, in early evening, and bought the last of Claudia’s Hungarian mushroom soup, to take home of course.  Wild Iris did not have a paint night, this evening, but I did break the Fast there, then headed back to Home Base.

Living alone gives me a lot of time to spend in either contemplation or in fantasizing.  I much prefer the former.  There is simply too much to be done, and a lot of it is in specialized, precise activities.  I need to know how to meet each challenge, head-on.  Fantasy entertained me, in my loneliness, but never got me far.

So, with the aid of various fasting meditations and reading so much that is inspiring, here and elsewhere, I enjoy this time of looking at matters from several angles.

Beyond the Big “So What”

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January 20, 2018, Prescott-

I began the day, hopefully about my own schedule, which mostly entailed going to the Farmer’s Market (very much appreciated by one of my surrogate daughters, who runs the place, in light of the rain and wind); and reading the plethora of posts which my peeps here on WP have produced, over a three-day period.  Shortly, I will head for Game Night at Wild Iris, and a few hours of “changing the channel”.

What a difference five days make, but you already knew that!  I have this thing about my love being unconditional, which causes one of my favourite gadflies on WP to roll his eyes and wonder what kind of idiot I am.  No matter; everyone’s experience is different, and as I said last time, I can’t be like everyone else- or anybody else.

My erstwhile best friend is still a friend, but has indicated, strongly, that she needs a hiatus.  No harm, no foul; my life is speeding in unexpected directions.  One of those could benefit her, and several other people, but things in that area are very fluid now, and it’s best I wait, before discussing them here.

I am also being given more responsibility within my Faith group.  This will compel me to do better at something I’ve never done well:  Think on my feet.  My middle brother is excellent in that area, and has taunted me about my slowness, on a few occasions.  I am primarily a pondering, methodical soul, but that should not prevent development of quick rejoinders.

So, here I am, ready to go out, on a possibly snowy night, to enjoy Board Games and cards with people I either have never met, or barely know.  Love is love, and lasts beyond many a throwing up of hands and yelling “So what?”

Thoughts on A Morning World

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May 20, 2017, Prescott- 

My spirit got me out of bed at 5:45,

just because this time of year,

with work winding down,

and the relative relaxation

of June approaching,

fills the spirit

with affirmation.

It’s easy to get off track,

when competing agendas,

of straight and narrow,

clash above my head.

This morning,

there is no such noise.

The lively Farmer’s Market

is always good for

several minutes of relaxation,

and live music,

even if one has to sit

on a curb,

as the tables are occupied

by people I’ve not met.

I’m just not so forward, yet.

My shyness goes back

a long way,

but no matter.

Let everyone

just enjoy themselves.

I think of a little girl,

whose name I know not,

who greets everyone

at school with

a hopeful smile,

and those she trusts,

with “Good Morning!”

Would that we could

all bring ourselves

to do the same.

I think I am going to buy

and put up, a hummingbird feeder.

It’ll be by the front window

during June,

and again from

August, forward.

I think I am

going to get rid

of lots of other stuff

in June,

and again in August.

I am going to make

Superior to Globe,

my getaway mainstay,

from September to May.

There is no romance,

that’s not the point.

There is intense spiritual energy,

vortical sustenance,

in many parts of the Southwest,

but especially along

that Copper Road.

These are my thoughts,

in this Saturday morning world.

Now it’s time to do a few errands,

pull a few weeds,

and eat a hot dog,

in honour of  Armed Forces Day.

Happy Weekend, one and all!

 

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XXVI: Three Bounties

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April 22, 2017, Globe, AZ- This Earth Day will long be remembered, to the core of my being, if for no other reason than being welcomed by a new, and  wonderful, friend, as she and her employer were trying to get set up for their busy Saturday.

I thought SunFlour Market was open at 8, but as the owner-chef, Willa, pointed out, the shop opens at 9.  It helps to check the website.  No harm, no foul- I was given a heaping plate of  the most savoury biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had, and stayed out of their way, while set-up continued.  I will be a semi-frequent visitor to this unassuming gem, over the next few months, at least.  It may well be that I become a regular, starting in August, but that’s to be decided in a month or two.

Kathy and Willa welcome their patrons with lots of love and good cheer.  As another example, a young couple came in, for a salad breakfast.  The ladies fussed over the vegetables, for a good twenty minutes, making certain only the best  produce went onto the plates.  The husband pronounced their meal, ” Some of the best food I’ve had, in Arizona.”

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There is also a mini-Farmers Market,  Saturdays, 9-1,from October-May.  The summer market is in Globe, 23 miles, and 1,000 vertical feet, to the east.

I spent a couple of hours in Globe, as well, given that another devoted friend has recently moved to the copper-mining mecca.

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John and I went to another well above-average restaurant, The Copper Hen, for a reasonable, and well-appointed, dinner.  The fare is Mediterranean (Italian and Greek), with the hours being definitely European. (There is a 2 1/2  hour break, between lunch and dinner.)  Rooster and hen motifs abound, but this is not a chicken-oriented menu.  The beef, ham, fish and vegetarian dishes are every bit as wonderful.

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In between the two visits, I took a 1 1/2 hour drive over to Safford, an agricultural community, in the Gila River Valley.  The region was having its first ever Multicultural Festival. It was a small, but heartfelt, effort, and I certainly hope it is repeated, fo ryears to come.  I focused on two events:  A martial arts demonstration, by a dojo of local youths and a talk on African storytelling, by an Arizona State University professor.

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This mighty girl did break the slab, in three blows.

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The presentation on African storytelling clarified several peoples’ misconceptions about why many African-Americans communicate, in the manner they do.  One example is that Africans, traditionally regard timeliness as “in its time”, rather than “on time”.  Another is that the African worldview sees no dichotomy between spiritual and physical.

Below, the presenter, Dr. Akua Duku Anokye, reads a short passage from an African folktale.

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Here is a slide, explaining the gist of her talk.

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I must have some of this, in my gene pool, as doing things “in their time” means more to me than “being on time.”

 

All good days come to an end, to make way for other good days.  The sunset over Globe bore witness to that truth.

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With these bounties, I am refreshed and ready for a Sunday of yard work and around-town tasks, then a solid work week.  I will return, to Superior at least, on May 6.  Have a great day, one and all.

 

 

The Road to 65, Mile 78: All Love’s Labours

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February 14, 2015- Panama City, FL.  Actors have an open-ended mission:  To relieve tension in their audience, but also to incite thought.  This is as true of those who devote themselves to small-city “stock” theater productions, becoming more intimate with both their audiences and their crews, as it is of those who stride the Red Carpet on awards night.

The rehearsal on which I sat in, this lovely north Florida morning, was intent on taking the viewer/listener back to childhood:  Specifically, it addressed the Spelling Bee, on the surface level, and the issues of parents living through their children and the resulting effects this brazen, immature vicarious life has on the child, on the more crucial, underlying, level.

Two hours of love were put into this endeavour, at least from the actors’ perspective.  There will be more, before the February 20 presentation.  The troupe presents before school groups, so this play will hit home, for any child who is in an activity for the sake of his/her parents.

I started the morning watching my hosts’ dogs play, in the back yard.  Dogs have the right perspective:  Only do what feels right, do it as a team, and mess around a bit, while doing it.

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The actors have the team thing down, and so will get through the production quite well.  My host is one of the best at this, and while messing around is not on her agenda- there is no one who has more fun with her work.

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The Martin Theater, where the production will first be staged, is a venerable institution in Panama City, and was a key USO site during World War II, when north Florida was a key staging area for the European Theatre of the conflict.

The murals on its south wall reflect the spirit of that time of national teamwork, and determination.  Womankind in those days was far more than Rosie the Riveter.  Style and grace remained key elements of maintaining morale.

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After the two-hour practice, there was a new mission:  Lunch.  Where better to begin this important search, than at a Farmer’s Market.  Panama City has a fine one, in the St. Andrews neighbourhood.

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We found lots of arts, crafts and fresh vegetables, but a complete meal required crossing the street- to Little Village, a lovely old house that was converted by its owner into a small restaurant, bar and gift shop complex.  It reminds me of a similar arrangement in an airplane hangar, at Oceanside, CA.

SAM_4068 Little Village is certainly well appreciated by the residents of Panama City:  The place was packed, and we got stuffed by the amazing Veracruz-style Mexican cuisine.  Music was provided by a pianist-singer, evoking a cross between Billy Joel and Carlos Santana.

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I was beginning to think that I might end this journey looking like these fellows.

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We decided to walk off the meal, as best we could, and drove to St. Andrews State Recreation Area, first visiting Gator Lake, an encounter with a swamp environment.  The signature creatures were nowhere to be seen.  Of course, it was early afternoon, and alligators usually prefer to be out and about in the morning.

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The sand here is the whitest I’ve yet seen, being largely the result of shell deposits.

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Needless to say, Host and I were both in our elements.

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The afternoon would not have been complete, though, without going across the parking lot and seeing the fabulous stretches of pure white sand and rather feisty surf.SAM_4091

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This was a very full St. Valentine’s Day.  As much as sourpuss revisionists like to put down the Patron Saint of lovers, I like to think his devotion to his chosen mission was a path of love, much like that of the actors whom I watched last night, and this morning.

The theme of real love continued on into the night, as we sat in my hosts’ living room and watched “The Good Lie”, wherein Reese Witherspoon teaches, and is taught by, four refugees from Sudan.  We did so in segments, around the work of loving parents who put their son and his needs first.  Later this evening, with my exhausted hosts gone to bed, I had the pleasure of talking with another house guest, an amazingly insightful boy of twelve, for about ninety minutes of free-ranging exploration of just what is needed, in order for families that are fragmented, to reconnect and ultimately thrive.  I think the man-child will do just fine.