Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On The Road

I got home from work at 6:30, parked the Bonneville under the house and greeted Cheyenne.This stage of the day usually requires no more effort than walking the dog, feeding the dog and passing out, but instead we all three piled into the car, my wife at the wheel, the trunk full of stuff and took off. I passed out in the passenger seat, my head stuffed in a squashy pillow, the seat back and Cheyenne snoring behind me.Mainland Florida was in Full Summer Mode yesterday with heavy rain, bright sunshine, car wrecks and back ups on I-95. My wife woke me at Starbucks in Homestead where she got a coffee and I got the steering wheel after breakfast in Boynton Beach's famous Jewish Deli called Flackowitz's. Stuffed full of corned beef hash we pressed on. It was 95 degrees outside and everyone was wilting.South of Jacksonville we filled up with gas, the fusion was proving itself comfortable and easy to roll down the freeway at 80 mph. I am still not happy with the fuel economy barely getting 25mpg at home but here on the road it has gone up to 27mpg which is a little less than I used to get on the 6 cylinder Maxima. I was supposed to get better than 30 by down sizing to a four cylinder car. I did notice that at this Indian River Dust Catcher stall they sell Souviners with is another way of spelling Memories, no doubt. Let's cut back on school spending shall we? People are just too smart as it is.These Key West imitators at least had the nuts to take their convertible roof down. Too bad the weather wasn't cooperating with their derring-do spirit. we kept our sunroof firmly closed.I next woke up in Georgia as I was nodding off again. I find these coastal marshes quite attractive though living among them and their very brown, dark waters, would be a different matter. Only 120 miles to a motel room. So at last we arrived in Savannah 12 hours after we left ramrod key. I was tired, no doubt about and I am pretty sure Cheyenne, good sport that she is, was just as ready to get out of the car as was I. Our la Quinta Hotel (dog friendly $56) wasn't far from the historic district but walking the squares of Savannah was going to have to wait till morning. We all of us had dinner on our minds.With Cheyenne fed we got back in the infernal machine and followed the wife's phone to dinner. It looked closed the first time we passed and as it was almost 8pm we looked as though we had lost out.It doesn't look very prepossessing does it, this little storefront miles from the Historic District (what Conchs call Old Town, in Key West). It was open, and the view from inside was of the major four lane highways charging about outside! The local's Savannah...From what I can tell Ma Randy started this place decades ago in World War Two and the food is still amazing if you like soul food.My wife was pretty sure her favorite appetizer, Fried Green Tomatoes, used to be written where the blank spaces are on the board.we were the last customers of the day and we were lucky to get in.A cheerful young woman, a bright spark, took our order and asked where we were from. "I thought so," she replied looking at the car I had backed into the space. "I saw your Monroe County tag." Huh?No one knows that "Monroe" is the county where Key West is the seat. Unless you spent 14 years in Key west before coming home to Savannah to run the family restaurant. "It's too expensive," she replied to my question about why she left. "Besides 14 years is enough, don't you think?" I was guessing she had burned the candle at both ends in Key West.Back at the motel the room next to ours was looking like something out of the Bates Motel with the curtains waving idly and a pile of bed clothes in the middle of the room. It looked as though they were drying out a disaster. Dinner, meatloaf,stuffed pork chop,rice, yams, beans, mac and cheese, washed down with Red Stripe beer was splendid, and here is a picture.
We sat up watching a TV show called Hells Kitchen, where I saw Chef Gordon Ramsay has transitioned from the BBC to American TV and still says "Fuck" a lot. Here they bleep him out. A lot. Poor middle class America, TV Land still thinks you don't know what "Shut the Front Door" really means. The Red Velvet cake was delicious.
Cheyenne, a messy eater, got some rice for being a good passenger.
And so to bed.

Closed Cemetery

The city Sexton announced recently that the Frances Street Gate to the cemetery would be closed so now the only way in is through the main Margaret Street entrance. Anyone coming to the Frances Street side will see this:In locking these gates the Sexton said it was in response to rowdy behavior and disrespectful people bothering mourners in the cemetery. The idea is that the cemetery will no longer be a through street across the middle of the town. A few years ago the city commission voted to ban motorcycles and scooters from the cemetery on the same grounds. Indeed I took the banner picture of this blog the day before the vote, as I thought a picture of my Vespa was worth having. The Frances Street side of the cemetery is well fenced these days: There has been the expected outcry from cyclists who liked to cut across the cemetery but the Sexton isn't budging. One letter writer to the paper suggested it was up to the city commission to make the decision but no one has chosen to grasp that nettle.It's a picturesque trail through the graves. The Key West cemetery is a well known landmark with above ground graves that always grab tourist's imagination. The water table is high in Key West and below ground burials aren't very practical.
You can imagine what it would be like in there if people were walking their dogs through the graveyard, so it's hard to argue with this sign.
I have always had a soft spot for this place and I enjoy bringing a picnic lunch here and eating among the graves. Personally I don't view it as being disrespectful, rather it's a way of incorporating death with life.
There are lots of well known last names dotted through this place.
I expect that, given enough time people will get used to the closure and the practice of crossing the cemetery from Frances to Margaret will be a memory for us old timers to taunt the newcomers.

Perhaps after a time of punishment the powers may relent and perhaps the lock will go away and with no fanfare at all those of us who care to may get to spend some time crossing the graveyard once again. One lives in hope.