Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hudson Florida

The drive from St. Augustine to Hudson, FL was really nice. I dogged along on country roads, through small towns, and farm land. Jack behaved himself, and took me right to my cousin’s door.

What’s in a name:
Stumpknocker Campground
Bushwackers Café
Hillbillys Feed N Tack
Bulls Hit Stockyard

I haven’t seen my cousin, Sandy and her husband Gregg for some 30 years. We started catching up the minute I walked in the door. Non-stop catching up. And it didn’t end until after I left (stopped up the road to say goodbye again)

While we were growing up, Sandy and siblings lived in southern California, I grew up in Montana, but I spent some summers with them, and they visited Montana so, we have many common memories. I think the great Battle of the pin pricks, was one of the most memorable memories. I also remember complaining to my Mother that if Sandy could wear “boys jeans” why did I have to wear girls jeans (with the zipper on the side – remember those?)

Sandy was so-o-o cool as a kid, and loved to push the envelope. That translates into “Pushy Broad” in adulthood, but really, Sandy – a much loved and appreciated “Pushy Broad”

The other member of their household is Muffin – a Maine Coon cat (is that spelled right?) Muffin has the most beautiful soft jade colored eyes. I tried to get a good photo of her, but the vibrancy of the color didn’t come through.

As we shared memories and caught each other up on the past 30 years, we also started exchanging recipes. Sandy is another fantastic cook – how am I ever going to lose weight when I am being fed so well. She had recipes from her mother, and our grandmother also. More memories.

The Butcher Knife!!!
I have an old butcher knife that Sandy’s mother gave to me nearly 50 years ago. She said it had been my grandmother’s. This knife has a well worn wood handle, and an ugly black mottled blade, but it cuts and slices better than any knife I have ever held. My first husband used it to cut lead fishing weights, which broke off the tip, and threw it away a few times, but I always rescued it from the trash. My second husband threw it away a time or two, also. Since I have been divorced for many years, the question of “Me or the Knife”, always ended in favor of the knife. My mother has been telling me for years that it was used in Sandy’s Father’s tire business, which I hotly denied every time she mentioned it. Sandy has settled the question. We were both right!!! The knife began its life as a cutting tool in the tire shop. It had a long, rectangle, square ended blade. Each time it was used, it was heated to a red-hot condition. They would pull out a length of re-tread material (remember retreading tires?) and the knife was used to slice through the thick rubber. With use, the knife wore down to a normal sized knife blade, and was taken home to use in the kitchen.

My girls absolutely loathe the knife. I even bought a pair of butcher knives for them to use when visiting me so they wouldn’t have to use THE KNIFE. I am sure that when my time comes, the first things to be thrown out are my baskets, and THE Knife. Well, girls, Sandy has a request! If I go first, you MUST send the knife to her. For some reason, Sandy didn’t get one. She is astounded her mother gave me one, but she didn’t give Sandy one. Sandy’s two sisters and brother have the knives, but they are not sharing. So, I am changing my will to make sure Sandy gets my precious knife!!!!!

Sandy’s neighbor brought over some grapefruit for me to enjoy. My gosh they are huge. I’m going to try to post a photo of them. Please note, the plate used in the photo for size comparison is a dinner plate. They are sweet and red.

Around and about Hudson, Fl

We drove past Hidden Lake – a fly in community. Wow – Huge homes with even larger hangars, run-ways, planes, rv’s, and all sorts of big boy’s toys.

A still lake surrounded with trees draped in Spanish Moss

And gun laws – In Florida it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, and to defend yourself if you feel threatened. Beats the states that prosecute a homeowner who shoots a burglar breaking into his home.

Well, my visit with Sandy and Greg was cut short when Sandy’s best friend passed away in Arkansas. I headed for Alabama on a rainy morning. I took Hwy 19 north to Interstate 10. No rest stops on Hwy 19, so to keep my knees working, I would stop at large grocery stores, Wal-marts or K-marts to walk off the stiffness. Hey, it worked, and kept me out of the rain.

I'll see Sandy and Gregg again in Montana for our family reunion the middle of August, but also promised to visit them again next year.

Next time you hear from me – I’ll be in southern Alabama.

Bear Hugs

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