I didn't take the long way, I started late and had to drive the super-slab (I-75) south and was pleasantly surprised that the decade long road work in south Georgia was finally completed and the ride was smooth and painless. I dialed up Foxy 97, an excellent station with a heavy rotation of classic R and B out of some nowhere place called Statenville. As Alicia Keys schooled those tuned in on the virtues of a woman's worth, I took in those long lonesome vistas of green stretching out below the giant sprinkling crawlers.
|Lochloosa in my brother's domain|
The first stop was to see my brother in a little town east of Gainesville; very near Cross Creek where the author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and wrote her famous book "The Yearling". You talk about lonesome, this is a land as flat and endless as you ever saw. There's nothing here and there is no "economic recovery" either. I love it though, its where I was born and believe that my cells know that I have returned because I am operating on a different frequency now. There is no way to escape a certain melancholy with these trips to Florida. The story is both beautiful and messy and the easiest way to tell it is to simply say that Im glad I live in north georgia where my history is a short one and of my own creation.
I stopped at roadside fruit and nut establishments and bought the requisite bags of grapefruit and oranges, admired the air plants tucked into shells, postcards with gators biting the asses of beach babes, salt water taffy and those pitiful hermit crabs that are doomed to die in some yankee tourist's terrarium.
I love roadside Florida, the tackier the better, so I was delighted to happen upon this mexican tin and pottery junkyard that was situated under some beautiful oaks at the crossroads where one tractor trailer after another passed by loaded with either slash pines or oranges.
I will sometimes divert from my destination to drive around in old neighborhoods with classic cracker houses looking for a salvage yard. I am on the look out for double loop fencing, a certain old timey Sears garden gate, metal bendy rocking chairs and the tacky metal door decorations that support a screen door; usually featuring herons and cat tails or possibly gators. If I had the means, I would purchase a cracker house and have it broken down, shipped up to Georgia and re-assemble it. I am trying to create at Chickory something that looks like "grandmother's homestead" if in fact, I had had a grandmother with a homestead. In other words, an idealized idea about how it was but wasn't.
|This house has the gate I want|
Now I am at my Daddy's house and I am having a sweet and meaningful visit. It is a very good thing. Just like with my brother, our time always involves driving around "looking at stuff". All of us in this clan visit in this same manner. Next post: out at the ranch.