Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Little House on the Key

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in."
Robert Orben

The thing about vacations is that they never seem to last long enough. And walking in the back door always feel like you never left. There is something comforting, yet a little disconcerting, in that.

Sweetie and I only packed one suitcase but managed to somehow fill the whole back end of the car with stuff that we might or might not need on our short journey to the other side of the state. Well, it would have been short, but we missed a turn off which would have taken us due west. Instead we took a more zig-zaggy route. But since we had nothing but free time to be together and lots of highways to travel, we enjoyed the ride. I think there is a life metaphor in there somewhere, just not sure where!

When you travel the back roads of Florida you see lots of scrub pines, signs that advertise the sale of cold beer and worms, rusted out tractors, mobile homes, saw shops, Bar-B-Que shacks (aka "Bubbaque") and place names like Wacahoota and Waccasassa. There are big stretches of pasture land studded with just one or two gigantic, moss covered, oaks. It begs the question which came first? In the pastures that had livestock, the shade of tree seemed to be where the in-crowd hung out. Somewhere near Waldo I felt a loosening between my shoulder blades, my bones were relaxing.

[The Little House]

[One of 6 cats from next door who came to make our acquaintance.]

[Or maybe he just wanted to come inside!]

We arrived at our destination, The Little House, in Cedar Key in the late afternoon. Our check of the house didn't take long, because it was, in fact, little. Small in size, but large in ambiance. The purple steps and porch seemed to beckon us in as the living room said, "Hi ya''ll! Come on in, take your shoes off, set a spell." The Little House is the kind of place I sometimes dream about running away to for a time of undetermined length. A day, or week, or month? I'm not sure if I could stand being that far away for very long. I think two days was not quite long enough.

Unlike other Florida cities and towns, there is not much to do in Cedar Key that doesn't involve fishing. There were other water sports to participate in, but both Sweetie and I decided not to tempt fate by crawling into a kayak, curling our legs up under our bodies and not being able unknot ourselves at the end of the trip. So instead we drove around the island that retired fisherman and productive artists call home looking at ramshackle "fixer-uppers" that sell for a quarter million dollars. Since this was the historic day that the Chilean miners were being rescued, I admit we did spend some time sitting on the edge of our seats in front of CNN brought into the house by satellite. I DID NOT, however, have my computer with me for three days. I thought I might run the risk of Internet withdrawal that could be as bad as alcoholic DT's but it didn't happen.

Our second day was spent walking in and out of art co-op galleries, visiting the Chamber of Commerce and driving to the nearest town, Chiefland. The highlight of this jaunt, and perhaps the whole vacation was stopping along side the two-lane highway to take a picture of some cows. "Hello, Cows" I hollered as if they were long lost country cousins. Lo and behold, it was just the right greeting, as up popped a few cows and a couple of donkeys to see what all the commotion was.

I've been reading about donkeys on the Bedlam Farm blog so I wasn't the least bit scared about sticking my hand over the fence and scratching their heads. Donkeys are suckers for a good scratch. I can't explain exactly why, but driving with my Sweetie, walking through the tall grass on a coolish but sunshiny day, and talking to animals who seemed to understand what it meant to pose for a picture, was just what the doctor ordered to open up my heart and say thank you. I don't mean this in a bad way, but I didn't think of my father all day.

And just like that the trip was over. We took the long way home, but got here in time for dinner. It didn't take long for everything to fall back into place. Dad had fared well under my sister's watch.

Speaking of my sister. Having Linda Lu here, even for a very short time, is almost as good as a vacation. I have to take her to the airport this afternoon and I'm already feeling a little sad. I've said it before but it bears repeating - living at opposite ends of the country from some of my favorite people stinks!

Wishing for you some time to slow down and reflect,
Merry ME


Pamela Jones said...

Sounds like a sweet, cool breeze blew through you, Mary...and I can't think of anyone I'd rather picture as Breezy right about now than YOU! Here's hoping that the memories of purple porches and friendly cows and itchy donkeys will stay with you for a long, long time.

Laura Paine Carr said...

Blessings, Dear One,
I've been waiting for your return to posting. So glad that you took some sweet time with your sweetheart. I love the metaphor...enjoy the ride.