WELCOME, AGAIN: Cedar Key– 2 Point – OH!


HELLO, HELLO – CEDAR KEY 2.0!

BACKGROUND: For five years, John and I flew over the NW section of FL on our way home from Sarasota, FL. Soon after wheels up in Tampa,  the land below would become a vast, empty space with nothing but wiggly roads.  It inexplicably beckoned me. Pressing my face to the airplane window, studying that empty space, I felt a longing, a tugging to explore that territory. Finally, happenstance brought us there –  to Cedar Key – in the middle of a seemingly empty coastline. My longing did not get us here. My longing gave me a direction and a dream. How it all came to fruition was the surprise … and the surprise continues to unfold.

After a glorious three months in Cedar Key last year, during which I felt I’d found my tribe, I was then offered the Job as Event Coordinator for the April Annual Arts Festival. So our stay upped to a 5 month stay.

Art Festival Post Card

Art Festival Post Card

Like last year, we don’t know how we will feel about Cedar Key after 5 months of being very in the mix with every group in town. Nor do we know how the town will feel about us after the festival. It works both ways. So once again we dive into the unknown … with our eyes and hearts wide open.

DEPARTURE DAY: Our departure from New Hope to Cedar Key was late due to an unexpected trip John made to his daughter (Laura in VA) who  had a horrific car accident (miraculously unscathed). Then we had a great renter for the house pop up – (another Laura) – the day before we were supposed to leave. All good luck.

Driving straight down 95 was a relatively easy ride, (note the passing sights)

Piggly Wiggly - how did they come up with that supermarket name?

Piggly Wiggly – how did they come up with that supermarket name?

 What is holding them in??

What is holding them in??
I'm not moving from this bed!

I’m not moving from this bed!

until we stopped for the night in Lumberton NC – just north of the SC border – and were sorry for it.

Anynight USA

Anynight USA

I chose Motel 6 for the price and dog – never again. Besides being too spare, the location was scarey –  just off the highway, warning signs PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK and plexiglass covering the local convenience store worker. Locked behind our room door, with BIG RED just outside, we were grateful Daisy has such a BIG bark – used 4 times before we  settled and slept through the night.

The saddest thing about that area was the “HISTORIC LUMBERTON”.   As “Video Killed the Radio Store”,  Big Box and Chain Stores have certainly slaughtered small town America.  Driving into the town, off the “chain slathered highway” we saw gorgeous houses leading to a substantial 8 block downtown with terrific, turn of the century buildings – all mostly empty. Geez, it was so sad to see. It was so easy to imagine it full of citizens and society. When will the muckty-mucks of commerce wake up to the fact that COMMUNITY is the only way to build a safe, productive society – take away the center and the work = community stumbles.  Any  ideas as to how we take our Country back?

At first light we zipped out, stopping at an I-HOP in Florence SC where John got ticked off by bad service – like I rarely see. 

"We've been waiting a half hour already! Where is our Breakfast?"

“We’ve been waiting a half hour already! Where is our Breakfast?”

After that, it was an easy cruise to Jacksonville, FL, where we spent a delightful afternoon and evening with ELLEN, a dear friend of the family – who was her joyous, warm, delicious self.

Ellens Screened Porch

Ellens Screened Porch

Ellen Emerson & Laura in Pontra Vedre

Ellen Emerson & Laura in Pontra Vedre

On Sunday, we cruised toward Cedar Key, driving through St. Augustine (busy, busy, busy), stopping to ride the carousel.

St Augustine Carousel

St Augustine Carousel

Wheee

Wheee

Found the tiny, old town called Micanopy (mick-ah-nope-ee), claimed to be the oldest towns in Florida. Dripping with spanish moss covered old trees, old buildings and lots of antiques. An old-timer told us about the town’s history and art festival and …. well, ya know … ya just get to jawboning down here about one thing and a tuther. 

Micanopy

Micanopy

Micanopy Old House Antique Shop

Micanopy Old House Antique Shop

More old Micanopy Homes

More old Micanopy Homes

Love these whimsical fences!

Love these whimsical fences!

Cedar Key View from Bridge 4 As you Enter

Cedar Key View from Bridge 4 As you Enter

ARRIVAL:  As the sun was aming to set, we crossed Bridge Four into Cedar Key and we were flushed by the  island’s beautiful wilderness We were also welcomed by friends as we rolled up our street: Lonna and Martin, 

Lonna and Martin Dickenson our neighbors

Lonna and Martin Dickenson our neighbors

Neighbor Marsha Schwartz came with welcome flowers. But the abundant tangerines on the tree in the backyard had been picked clean by the former renters who now rented the place on the water across the street. Hmmmm. I was looking forward to our Tangerine Juice.

SETTLING IN: 

7 DAYS LATER: A week after our arrival – we can barely believe all we’d done.

Cedar Key Beach - Park

Cedar Key Beach – Park

Monday the 17th  and the next three days, I zipped around town – meeting festival committee( great group),  getting introductions, making and distributing posters for the January festival FUNDRAISERBev and Kathy selling tickets to the January Fundraiser

Bev and Kathy selling tickets to the January Fundraiser

and dealing with a computer hacking that took me 6 hours and tears to get fixed. 

Six Hours trying to get UNHACKED

Six Hours trying to get UNHACKED

Having a job – a highly interactive one – is going to make for a very different year. But, we sincerely feel, it will lead to exactly where we are supposed to go – even though we don’t know where that is, yet.

Kathy of the CK Emporium and Peter, President of the Arts Center

Kathy of the CK Emporium and Peter, President of the Arts Center

Chief Virgil and Miss Frances at the City Hall

Chief Virgil and Miss Frances at the City Hall

Getting settled was not as easy as last year. The owners, Boyd and Tom, had not been back in 8 months – so the place lacked  their spit and polish. It had a moldy odor and was not as clean as we’d found it or left it last year. After a phone call, Boyd agreed to replace a BR carpet – the mold source – and we got it done quickly then  scrubbed down of the place.

Johnny Clean

Johnny Clean

As my cousin Dee says: “I like to start fresh, so I live in my own germs”  Our full day cleaning frenzy was fueled with a robust bloody mary and capped with a G&T –

We slept well that night.

John found the cement paint - freshened the steps and painted the back platform!

John found the cement paint – freshened the steps and painted the back platform!

Backyard set up with Dee Lights and the Cowboy cooker and new work table

Backyard set up with Dee Lights and the Cowboy cooker and new work table

DEC 23rd  We joined a real southern Christmas feast, up the street at Miss Wilmas – with her sons Kenny, Kevin and Keith and their families.

Southern Feast

Southern Feast

Grits and Greens, Black Eyed Peas, Fried Mullet (fish), Casseroles of Squash, Lasagna, Mac & Cheese and Sweet Meatballs and Pork and …. oh, well, it was mighty fine … right down to the Peach Cake and Chocolate, Chocolate Cake. Sitting outside, we listened and inquired and got to know each other: Making Strangers into Friends. I’ve noticed a certain way Locals inspect us with a jaundiced eye and locked jaw, until we show some interest in them.  Then they open up like a dried jasmine flowerbud in hot water – unfolding petal by petal – revealing their own brand of exotic beauty.

Alex serving the sweets

Alex serving the sweets

We also supped on fresh and steamed oysters with Lonna and Martin and their most gentlemanly son, Owen and his sweetheart Tatiana and her sister Alex and Tatiana’s three rambunctious boys who could shuck oysters like I’ve never seen!  Tatiania and Alex are Serbian born and raised, but followed their father to the US in their later years.  Lovely people, all.

In between those two events, we drove over to SHELLMOUND, a preserve by the Suwannee River – to walk the paths. What sublime beauty.

Daisy loves shellmound almost as much as ball

Daisy loves shellmound almost as much as ball

Shellmound  it was chilly!

Shellmound it was chilly!

The Nature of Florida’s Nature Coast is spectacular. And SHELLMOUND  is the inspiration behind the Mosaic Tile selected as the design motif for the Art Festival, representing the indians who populated the area for millennium and who created the mounds (hills) of shells. A Must See Spot!

Dec 25th we joined 5 other couples at a brunch – what a fun, diverse group – and stories, stories, stories.  Interesting people with sophisticated background populate this island along with the long-time families and shellfish industry and artists.

We also established our routines – bicycling to the park behind the cemetery, doing the fitness routine set up among the trees. I remember seeing it the first year and wondered “who does that?” Now it’s me!  All the while shooting the ball for Daisy to chase.

Then Jeff and Suzanne showed upJeff and Suzanne Krieble

Jeff and Suzanne Krieble

so we made a reservation at the ISLAND HOUSE restaurant upon their arrival.  OK, that’s enough for now.  More to follow soon with lots of pics!.

It has been very busy with this new job but I’m working hard to keep a blog too.  Thank you for your patience.

Lots of Love from Laura & John  & Daisy – in Cedar Key Florida, where all is right.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Iris Lauber on January 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I enjoyed reading about your fantastic adventures. I’ll look forward to your next update. So happy for you! Pet Daisy for us. Sending love.

    Reply

  2. Posted by LInda Erickson on January 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Great to read your stories again. I always look forward to them Love the picture of Daisy on guard. And let’s hear it for cleaning under the influence!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Maura on January 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    YAY!!!!! It’s back…I can’t wait to read more 🙂
    xoxoxox

    Reply

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