Seeing Signs

My youngest daughter and I headed down to Florida two months ago. It was her Spring Break and she was looking forward to a respite from the Vermont weather. I was happy to be visiting with one of my brothers.

I like a day at the beach just as much as the next guy. But I also like to do a bit of exploring. So, on one of the days, I suggested visiting an orange grove. Because Florida has miles and miles of citrus farms. Plus I like orange juice.

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There were no tours on this particular day so we scoped out the place and sampled some of the different fruit slices that were being offered. Bought some freshly squeezed juice to bring home.

Leaving the grove we began a version of what my daughter calls, “Moose Hunting.”

You might ask, “What on earth is that?”

Here’s the short version. Said Mary never.

There are many signs posted all over New England highways.

Bear Crossing-Stay Alert

Moose Crossing-Stay Alert

Deer Crossing-Stay Alert

Or the one I observed this past weekend in Vermont.

Wildlife Crossing-Stay Alert

It’s like they (the sign makers) just sighed, gave up and lumped all the animals together. Lazy scuts.

Back to my point. For all of these roadside warnings it is very rare to see a moose.

Deer? Yes.

Bear? Maybe.

Moose? Nah.

They exist, for sure, but no one actually ever sees one.

Enough with the warnings already.

So when my daughter and her college friends go exploring it’s called, “Moose Hunting.”

Sort of like rambling.

Whoever is in the passenger seat will give directions. Knowing they won’t see a moose but keeping hope alive.

“Go left.”

“Go Straight.”

“Go right.”

In the end they will arrive at some random town/destination. It’s just a fun way to get out and explore.

On this day in Florida, my daughter was in the passenger seat as we we left the citrus farm.

She said, “Take a right.”

And then another right.

My brother follows her directions. Drives a bit.

There is a cemetery on the left hand side. He slows the car.

He says to me, “Because I know how you like cemeteries and history.”

What he actually thought was probably more along these lines, “As good a place as any to stop for a smoke.” 🙂

Looked like a nicely maintained cemetery. We drive in and pull to the side. Lots of trees dripping with Spanish Moss.

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We get out and stretch our legs. Have a look around the area.

There is a big tree with things on it. Signs that say “Truth” and “Respect.” Another one says something like, “Thief or SOB. Think before you steal from the dead.”

I’m not sure what all is going on with that tree.

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To the right of this tree is another one. This also has something posted. Looks like a “Reward” sign is nailed to it. We get a little closer to see what exactly it is.

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Oh my goodness. It is the unsolved murder of a young boy. His grave is behind the tree where the “Reward” notice hangs. His name was John Welles and he was killed in July of 2003.

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This town appears to be very small. Seemed like a few surnames dominated the cemetery. Probably the founding families of the town. Welles was one of the names.

It is always sad when a young person is taken too soon. But horrific when it is an act of violence. This poor family never having the opportunity for any type of closure. No one ever being held accountable for taking the life of their child. Someone getting away with murder. Sixteen long years for his loved ones.

We looked around the rest of the cemetery on our way out of there. Confederate flags provided a pop of color on some of the older graves.

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Took a last look and we were back on the road.

Now we were very curious to know more about what happened to poor John. Surely, there would be tons and tons of information on such a case. The killing of a young white boy from a small Southern town, descended from settlers, would most definitely be plastered all over the news. I imagined reading about on-going campaigns to reopen the case, reward offerings, articles, etc.

So, after dinner, we put Google to work. What we found was next to nothing. His obituary and one article from a “Most Wanted” type of site. Quoting his mom. That’s about it. Very, very strange.

His mother, after the murder, posted more than 350 notices on billboards in three counties asking people if they had tips to contact police. Apparently, it didn’t help at all.

John’s obituary here.

His mother’s plea here.

Seemed that John arrived home from Walmart that Sunday morning at 11:30am. Within five hours he was found dead in a creek near his house. It was originally thought to be a drowning but an autopsy showed that he was shot in the eye first and then put in the water.

How does something like this happen in a small town on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of summer? No one sees anything? No one knows anything? Why does there not appear to be any interest in solving the case?

So bizarre.

I did come across another article about a young man who was also found dead in the creek. About the same age as John. Found that to be a bit curious.

It is my sincere hope that one day John’s family will finally receive the answers and justice they truly deserve. That one day they can finally take down the sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moving Forward

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A lot of grocery stores, retail shops and restaurants have these concrete things in their parking lot. I say “things” because I don’t even know what they are called. Some might be freshly painted and not look as tired as this bad boy. But it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. What truly matters is not driving your car over it.

Almost every time I return to my parked automobile, if there is an open space in front of me, I will choose to go forward. Okay, always. Why would I go backwards if I have the opportunity to move forward?

Reversing just takes more.

But when I choose to go forward I also have to consider something very important. Is there an obstacle? Wait, is there……? Is that thing underneath my car??? Because I always have this flicker of doubt when I am about to shift gears.

It’s like a mental block. Wait, I’ll call this thing a concrete block.

I consciously look around the lot to see if there are any other tell-tale blocks. And folks, this happens in places I frequent. I should already know if they’re there! How is it possible that I have a second of indecision about going forward every single time? In familiar places?

It’s like I say a prayer, “Please, God, don’t let there be one under the car” while immediately kicking it into “Drive.”

Am I some type of maniacal thrill seeker? It’s almost like I’m living on the edge. Yup, I’m going anyway.

Yes, there’s a good chance I might run over the concrete block. But I’m going anyway.

Of course, that doesn’t happen. I have yet to actually run over a concrete block.

But I think about it every time. Just for a second.

Wishing you all a week of moving forward. And if there’s an obstacle in your way? Say a quick prayer and go anyway.

 

I am, by nature, a curious sort. Born that way.

The other day I was looking out the back window at the birds.

I said, aloud, “Wow. So many Blackbirds.”

“Wonder where they’ve all been.”

“Why are they called Red-winged Blackbirds when they sure look orange to me?”

“Wonder why they have that orange on their wings anyway?”

Turned away from the window and my husband was staring and laughing at me.

He asked, “Are you done talking to the window?”

I replied, “Just curious is all.” 🙂

I figured the red (or orange) blaze probably had something to do with males displaying their bad, colorful selves to attract the ladies. I knew, since I was a little kid and learned (much to my dismay) that the pretty red Cardinal was the male, that the boy birds were nothing but a bunch of show-offs.

But my curiosity is not sated by my guessing or figuring. It’s actually stoked. I am so curious that I have to actually go and look this up later. I use the Dewey Decimal system. Okay, I just google it. And then I am satisfied. Sort of.

According to the different sources I checked there is absolutely no mention of orange. Just red! What?? Even if you google “Orange-winged Blackbird” it automatically comes up with “Red-winged Blackbird.” Like it’s a gaming system that’s been “fixed.” I typed orange!!!! I’m just wondering who has money on red! And how much????? LOL

For me, because curiosity is inherent, it just means that the day I am not curious is the day I’m not myself.

Message for the week. Be true to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#15

Woke up to snow on the car this morning. Not much. Just enough to remind a person not to get too cocky when it comes to New England weather.

Here is number 15 on the “We Will Get Through This Cold Spell” list.

Grab a pencil. Or a laptop. And start exploring/researching three places you would like to visit when the weather starts cooperating. Doesn’t have to be a big, expensive trip. Might be in your own backyard. It usually is.

Could be a hike. Or a restaurant. A farm. An ice cream stand. A festival. Wine trail. Antique show. A picnic area. Cheese trail.

Write them down and then post the list where you will see it. A visual reminder of sunny days! And let’s face it, we both know that lists are way better than our memory banks when it comes to actually bringing a thought to life. Getting it done!

I have TONS of things I’d love to do. Places to visit. I hope to get a few of them crossed off my spring/summer list.

Latest addition that I just have to share with you.

It’s a lavender farm. Only a few years old. Looks gorgeous. As lavender fields are wont to do. Located in Connecticut. What a great excuse for Northeast folks to take a day trip and lap up some beauty!

Supporting farmers. Buying local. Soaking up the scent. Being outdoors.

Have a look at Lavender Pond Farm if you are interested. Share with any friends that might also want to put this on their own “To Do” list.

While you are on their site have a look under the tab “About” and read “Our Story.”

A line from a children’s book, “Miss Rumphius” written by Barbara Cooney becomes a part of this family’s journey.

“What have you done to make the world a more beautiful place?” 

A shared favorite of the owner and her mother. Often read and enjoyed. Especially during her Mom’s final days before she succumbed to cancer. After having lived with it for more than a decade. She sounded like a very brave and special lady.

This lavender farm is not just paying homage to the farmer’s memory of her beloved mother. It’s also this family’s way of making the world a more beautiful place.

Totally on my list.

All of it.

 

 

 

#14

Just back from a busy couple of weeks.

Spring has sort of sprung around these parts. Ah, the longer days are most welcome!

But I will give you one more tip for surviving until the temps climb a bit higher.

Cleaning was mentioned in a past posting. I promise this one does not require any cleaning. At all.

Just organizing.

Pick one thing. You know it’s out there. Something that you’ve been avoiding. Doesn’t even have to be a big project. It could be your purse! Or a junk drawer! Or files/piles of paper. It’s all about bringing a little bit of calm or joy to a person when the task is completed.

I am working on a couple of projects at the moment.

Here is my recent coup.

Organizing the closet.

Was I really only wearing the same old clothes because I chunked up and couldn’t fit into any of the old ones? Or was it because closets appear to eat up all the other clothes when one is not paying close attention? Lost in the mess?

I read an article some time ago. It mentioned, when conquering the closet, using matching hangers. So that all of the clothes hang at the same level and looks organized.

Hmmm. I thought I could do this.

There were a few other tips that I followed.

One was determining real estate. Stuff a person never wears shouldn’t be taking up prime space.

Another was categorizing by sleeve length.

Then color code. Use the rainbow as your guide for color coordination. White clothes first.

I wanted our closet to not just be easy on the eyes. I wanted the closet to be easy.

So I bought all new hangers. Black, slim, felt hangers at a local discount store. Heaved all mismatched plastic and wire hangers. Sayonara!

It’s not perfect but it’s better. I found that using just one type of hanger makes items so much easier to see and find.

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These are just a few photos. The new hangers weren’t strong enough for my husband’s suits so I continued using the wooden hangers. Just made sure they all matched!

That’s my latest suggestion for passing the time while waiting for warmer days.

Happy Spring!

 

#13

Lucky 13.

It’s now the first of March and winter is still with us. Here in the Northeast we have some of the white stuff on the ground and more in the predicted forecast.

So my list of ways to cope with the long winter continues.

Clean something.

Not just organize. That’s another posting.

But give something a real good going over with a bit of elbow grease. You’ll end up organizing in the process.

I chose my fridge.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Only you will take joy in this completed task. No one else will notice. No one else will care. Ever. At all. But you will. You will notice and you will care.

Back to me. I chose the fridge because it was time. Way past time. After the holidays. After the kids have returned to university. After ignoring it. After giving it a swipe here and there.

A refrigerator is a big to do. The big guns needed. Taking out drawers and such. Scrubbing the fossilized lettuce on the clear plastic bin. Gosh, I think it’s lettuce. But who can really be sure.

It’s a place of hope. For that half used something or other. The promise of what could be.

With just one more recipe. In the near future.

It’s like I imagine the would be thoughts of jalopies resting in a junkyard. “Maybe someone out there will need a used part and come get me. So I’m not a has been.”

That promise never happens. At least in our house.

But what does happen, and I will admit it makes me sad and happy at the same time, is this. Sometimes those hard choices about promises are just taken out of our hands. Decisions made for us. Not by us.

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At first glance it looks to me like one of those fabulous aerial views showing us beautiful little islands and possible volcanoes in the middle of a Habanero salsa.

Or dead field mice.

Oh my gosh! A picture can tell a thousand stories. Like a Rorschach test.

For the record. I have a ton of glass containers so I am not even sure how that can even made it into the fridge. Please don’t judge me. But it did and happily resided there for awhile. A quiet and unassuming neighbor pushed into the background. Not needing any attention. Until it was time to spruce up the neighborhood.

Then it had to go.

I cleaned that fridge until it looked shiny and new. Every drawer pulled out and washed. Dried up puddles from old vegetable goop all gone. I sniffed containers of sour cream and eyeballed the cream cheese packages. If anything looked like it could be a candidate for the next new antibiotic I heaved it.

I will leave off for now.

Secure in the knowledge that you will wisely choose a smaller cleaning project. That you will never accept an invitation to eat at my home. That you wont ever crave my pumpkin pie.

Have a lovely weekend! If it’s snowing be careful on the roads. If it’s not snowing be careful on the roads.

Spring is almost here.