Posts Tagged ‘directions’

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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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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There are a couple of reasons I don’t always use GPS while I am out driving.

The first one is because I sort of feel that if there is total reliance on this little gadget then I might not ever really learn how to get from one place to another. Of course, this stubborn refusal has resulted in me getting lost. On more than one occasion.

Second reason is that the thing drives me absolutely batty. I am in a constant state of, “This coming left? Wait, this one? The next one? Now?? Now?? Oops. Missed it.”


Usually adds on eighty four miles to my destination.

I remember watching an episode of “The Office” when Michael Scott follows the directions from his GPS and drives right into a body of water. He yells, “The Machine knows!”


The other day my friend and I were going to check out a new shopping center downtown. She was in charge of the GPS. According to “the machine” it’s time to take a right hand turn. More of a u-turn.

I ask, “This one or the next one?”

She says, “Looks like this one. Just take this one.”

I do. And who is driving past as I am trying to do so? A policeman on a motorcycle. He makes a face at me and tells me to pull over to the side of the road.

My friend is almost shoving her phone under his nose so that he will understand that it is not our fault. It’s the machine’s fault!

He totally didn’t care. 🙂

Today, I am wishing you all clear direction! On the road and in your head.




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About four years ago, in California, my Annie conveniently found a lost dog at a local park. We ended up taking it home with us. She wanted one in the worst way. After having this jumping, spastic, barking Jack Russell Terrier for about six hours I secretly vowed never to get a dog. While vacuuming tons of hair the little rascal shed all over my black leather car seats I secretly repeated that vow.

Anyway, that day I was trying to figure out a way to find out where the dog’s house might have been. I think there were tags on the pup but when we called the telephone number there was no answer.

I saw a mail truck in the distance and thought,”Now that is a person who would know everything.” Couldn’t catch up to him.

My parents have had the same mailman for years. Charlie knows everything. Who died, moved or got divorced. How many pets, kids and vehicles.

So no one would know the homes or streets better than them. In the old days it would have been the milkman. How many phrases originated from that occupation?

“She’s been around the block more times than the milkman.” Or if a child doesn’t look like the father who got blamed? “It’s the milkman.”

Sometimes we just have to look at the obvious. Usually right under our noses.

I was reminded of this today when talking with a group of ladies about getting lost. About how I don’t use GPS here in Kuala Lumpur and find myself lost time and time again.

One time, I drove by the same prostitute three times prompting Annie, “Mom, is that a stripper?”

Well, in a way.

Anyway, I relayed the story to the group and one of the women from Louisiana shared a story of her own.

Her mom (with the kids in the car) got lost. She saw a prostitute and was stopping to ask her for directions.

The kids were like, “Mom! But she’s a prostitute!”

While it could have been a lesson in humanity sometimes it’s not the right moment. She turned around toward the backseat and told them, “And no one knows these streets better!”


Sometimes the obvious is right under our nose.  Just have to look for it and use a little common sense.

Oh, one more thing. Two years later we became owners of a jumping, spastic, barking little Jack Russell Terrier mix that sheds all over the car seats.

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