|"the skinnin barn"|
It's not actually the end, and more than likely a great new beginning . . .
My mother is now settled in a 1927 Punta Gorda cottage, tucked neatly among the Palms and Oaks along the banks of the Peace River and expecting her first house guest this weekend. Although it seems she has always been right around the corner, it has only been a month. She is making new friends, playing cards with the neighborhood kids, and beginning to find her way around town. It is a wonderful thing to walk over for a Sunday morning breakfast after church, see her great grandson bounding with a smile up to her new little house, throw in a goat milking, cheese making session or two and The End is looking good.
The Beginning of The End.
I headed out on a Sunday afternoon for a road trip, Yemassee the destination, not with my usual calculated, organized craziness, but with a quiet and peaceful solitude, for this trip I would make alone. I pulled out of Punta Gorda, "Still Friends" playing comfortably in the background, a beautiful afternoon ahead of me. I was crossing through what I call "Old Florida", the part of Florida where there are more cattle than people, being behind a truck full of oranges is a fact of life, and wide open space as far as you can see, well that is until I hit rodeo's is Arcadia and Okeechobee, all reinforcing the "Old Florida" of my youth. Out of Okeechobee I headed north up 441, a light rain was starting to fall, a gray mist formed over the pastures until the green fields faded away and cows grazed in the magical mist. There were the familiar landmarks, the Dessert Inn at Yeehaw Junction and Ten Mile marked today by a flock of turkey's, I wondered if they knew Spring gobbler was starting shortly? The soulful sounds of the Carolina Chocolate Drops "Leaving Eden", played as I rounded the corner at Holopaw and headed into Eau Gallie, as the rains lifted, my mind wandered and the music played, for Mom was leaving her Eden, in the spring when the Turkey Roost would be at it's glory.
An overnight in Eau Gallie, and back on the road, the Florida sun shining up the coast, past Palm Coast, a giggle when I realized it is also Bike Week, past St. Augustine and into Jacksonville, my memories and the music of "Still Friends" solidifying my "Old Florida" and I drive on.
|Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Yemmassee, S.C.|
As I reached the pine covered driveway, the Dogwood and Azalea's greeted me like old friends and a quick beep brought my mother down the old brick sidewalk with open arms, reminiscent of Granny in Bell.
After a quick assessment of what had been done, what still needed to be done, and a little lunch we began to pack. In no time at all my secret weapon and surprise had arrived . . . it was my dumpster diving, adventure junkin friend from Alpharetta. Lifelong, really good friends are always hard to find, if you find one that will not only volunteer to help, drive five hours (two of which had no cell service) to help you pack the 20 years of dumpster diving, tag sale, road kill collecting parents of a childhood friend, be good to them, quite frankly, they are really hard to come by. After a brief meeting to determine the pecking order, even though I was clearly holding a coffee mug stating "the boss", it was determined Shirley (mom) was in charge.
The food pageant quickly ensued, you know the "parade", where all of us southern participants pull from their coolers a territorial, albeit colorful southern mix ranging from organic veggies to Carmel and sea salt cupcakes. Two days and twenty people could not have eaten this much chicken? There was a twenty garlic chicken and two of The Best X@!@XX Chicken Salads, veggie lasagna, and a week's bounty from Worden Farms, let's get to packin.
We laughed over the old stories of Eau Gallie, packed and looked for rusty treasures like crows for tinsel, the memories and stories of each object was told, and the thrill of the hunt still lingered. We laughed and talked into the night, the mornings greeted us with more packing, fresh ground and pressed coffee and a few more lessons to learn. I learned at a very early age not to open lidded containers on my mothers counters, my cohort recently learned that the hard way, dog food? She taught me to always keep your tetanus shot current, who knows where your next pick will be, besides you could be wearing crocs and a skirt . . .
really good lessons from a really good couch.
The skinnin barn and apartment were empty, the little house filled with items going to further destinations, and the house was packed minus the absolute essentials, however the garage (oh boy!) was the next order of business and our cut off time was approaching quickly. We filled our trucks, dug up day lilies, and enjoyed a quick tour of the old house at Richfield and the little church, it was time to say good bye, not only to my friend but to Turkey Roost. The remainder of the good stuff would have to wait for the next shift. . . for in the morning we were headed to St. Augustine to look for Mom's next abode.
We drove quietly past the azaleas, the dogwood, blueberries and figs, down the driveway lined with Pine and past the Turkey Roost sign one last time. . .
The twenty years I spent visiting here are years filled with great memories, crazy stories and the legacy of my parents and their time at Turkey Roost, Yemassee, South Carolina.