17 Mar 2011

Skidaway and Beyond

Posted by Sam

March 13, 2011

Even though it has been cold in the Southeast this winter, we see the temperatures in Bend every morning and shudder. Our TV weather channel is set to display the weather for the  97702 zip code, so that’s what comes up first.  It keeps everything in perspective for us. We are in Georgia, where so many trees are blooming, looking a little stark in their beauty, as they are still leafless, but they are blooming. The tulip trees, bradford pears, redbud, are all shouting spring. As a kid said to me the other day, “It don’t get no realer than this!”

We finished the park at Skidaway Island and did very well. Once again we were stunned by the contrast in lives just moments apart. Justice Long John Thomas was raised in a trailer park just off the Diamond Causeway, which leads over the Moon River to Skidaway Island. It could not be farther in economic levels from the sweater sets and pearls of the Island itself. Trailer parks here are not manufactured units set into landscaped terraces and built to look permanent. They are rectangles of tin and plastic set in mud at angles which approximate rows and are identified by the flotsam out front of each of them. The rust can be identifiable, too.

At the entrance to the park is a huge United Methodist Church, which was advertising a “spiritual concert” last week. I went down to hear it and was surprised to find there was not a person of color in the church. Oh, there were two black kids in the children’s choir, but I’m sure they are adopted. I’ve never seen such a homogenized group. They were mostly old, very well tailored, thin and respectful. The choir was very good, but needless to say, there was no clapping and no amens. The children’s choir was small and sort of a musical bone thrown to the few young couples, but the bell ringers, all women, white haired and gloved, were wonderful.

Once again we have missed our chance to go to the Tick Museum. Statesboro has the largest display of ticks in the world and it’s on our (my) list of “really want to sees,” but it is only open on Wednesdays between 3:30 and 4:30. Hard to make it.

Cotton is king again in Georgia. If you are going to buy new sheets, better get them now. Because of floods in Indonesia and poor crops in China, or wherever the cotton has been grown before this year, the price of cotton has gone from $l per pound to $2 per pound. Every available acre is going into Cotton in Georgia this year. I can’t remember the numbers for certain but it seems like the paper said there would be 15,000 acres in cotton, compared to 2,000 acres in peanuts, in the area under discussion. Wish we could be here to see it planted.

I’ve written often about the southern civility that so defines this area. Very often it makes it difficult to sell, because the prospective buyer will tell me what he thinks I want to hear, when he has no intention of buying. It makes the process long and sometimes irritating. Not so much anymore, now that I understand it. Not long ago I heard civility raised to the nth degree when an elder statesman referred to the civil war as “that recent unpleasantness.”

If you ever get to Savannah you must drive out to Sandfly (on your way to Wormsloe Plantation and the Isle of Hope) and stop in at Violet Garden. I met a woman named Laurie there, a free spirit from the Chicago Art Institute who loves cowboy boots. She asked about our lifestyle, as a lot of people do, and astutely went right to the heart of the trades: a limited wardrobe in exchange for experiencing a lot of places; personal freedom at the price of the laundry from hell, and the killer: never enough room  for shoes. Especially cowboy boots. Laughing with Laurie and sharing a few kindred “I knoooowwwws,” made me realize that this lifestyle also trades off travel for close friendships. I rarely meet and enjoy someone I could share so easily with. Or maybe I meet them but don’t have the time to realize how much I would enjoy  sharing with them. Laurie is just so beautifully out there, it was easy to connect. I bought a tiny copper vase and she gave me the orchid stem that was in it. It touched me so much I was a little shaken. Somehow it reminded me of the time when I was newly married, living five miles outside town on a ranch with no car and my husband asked me what I did all day. “Oh, I’m training the chickens,” I told him. I didn’t realize how isolated I was.

We are at Jason and Jamie’s right now. Drove the car up from Savannah to see the doctor about my blood sugar numbers. We are having to start over in getting established with doctors now that our insurance change has gone through. On the way up, an 8 hour drive, we stopped at a traffic light in Wilmington and the car died. People very quickly stopped for us, directed traffic around and pushed us into an area where we could be towed. We spent the night in a motel, kindly delivered by tow truck, and got a rental car the next morning to come on up to Havelock. That was last Friday; the bad news came Monday morning. A broken timing belt. It will cost us about $4,500. It’s just devastating. And we still don’t have the car. We are going to Wilmington tomorrow, Monday, and wait for it. We need to get back and pick up the Bird; the nice folks at Metter have let us leave it in exchange for some computer work Dave did for them.

As always, it has been great being here with the kids. We have the big bedroom upstairs and can nap when we (I) want. A special treat was the birthday dessert Becca made for Grandpa. It is a gourmet cupcake built to resemble a sandwich. The bottom layer is cupcake, then comes a layer of swiss cheese (rolled out lemon starburst), ham (pink starburst), lettuce (corn flakes rolled in green icing), onion rings (another starburst), and topped with a doughnut bar. It was served with french fries (crinkle cut angel food cake strips). Give that girl an A!!

Love to all,


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