Friday, June 30, 2017


Crows. Daytime they

perch and make a living using the naked top limbs of several old dead trees as their headquarters. As evening comes they fly across our hotel to the thick brush of several trees bunched directly across from us, a safe haven on a long island of marsh grass between Scipio Creek and Apalachicola River. 

My water-tank story is that when we moved to Apalachicola in 1984 the water-tank stood tall in the circle in front of Trinity Church. Summer of 1985 we had three hurricanes here. We left for the first one, an adventure for another blogpost. For the second we stayed in the rectory with lights off that night so the roving law enforcement wouldn't notice we were defying the mandatory evacuation order. I remember watching a bright spot off to the west of us during the worst of the storm as the eye moved ashore between here and Port St. Joe (or at least that's what I perceived). But the startling event was a tremendous crash, like an explosion nearby. The city water-tower down at the circle had been blown down by force of the hurricane winds, flooding water that washed down a part of the coping around the park out front of the church, and scattering metal parts all over. Some oil drum size orange street markers had been under the water-tank, and our first indication of what the explosion was, was a few seconds later as one of the orange drums rolled down 6th Street in front of the house. 

Within the next year or so, the city relocated the water-tank-tower up here near Scipio Creek, north end of town. Having loved its identifying location since I was a small boy, I was disappointed they didn't rebuild it in my front yard.

Visit to a town of my heart that I loved visiting with my father on his fish business in the second half of the 1940s after World War 2. In fact, I remember driving with him on Hwy98 east of here and Carabelle through Camp Gordon Johnson when the army still occupied the area in that end of the war time frame, because we had to stop for inspection by the MPs before entering and driving through. And seems to me our government housed German prisoners of war at Camp Gordon Johnson during that time. I wonder if any POWs managed to escape, blend in, and stay in America. 

Predawn. After five and before six, but the sun isn’t up yet. No lightning or rain, but now and then a far distant thunder boom. Now dawning. Photo effect of the screened porch.

And then I loved Apalachicola driving through here summers on the way to Camp Weed during the early 1950s, and coming here to the Dixie Theater with friends from camp when I was on staff those summers. After that, until 1984, a gap of thirty years for life to come along, happen and become part of the past, until we moved here in 1984 for a fourteen year visit while I was parish priest at Trinity Episcopal Church, golden years of living. 

In that time we watched Apalachicola evolve from a hidden quaint coastal fishing village into a tourist shopping boutique with shops, hotels and seafood restaurants, and the old nineteenth and early twentieth century houses restored into a quietly classy corner of creation. Days, the three blocks of downtown are thick crawling with tourists, visitors, but coming north four blocks it’s as completely bare of population as I remember thirty years ago, and the same potholes. We lived here at just the right time: this was home for our family of three, now back to two, and yes you can go home again.

Diamond Anniversary dinner last evening at the Gibson Hotel. Linda wearing her lovely earrings and necklace gift from beloveds who just returned from Dominican Republic. 

Gormley’s at the Gibson is the restaurant there, furthering Apalachicola’s stretch into the town's classy future. The chef, Brett Gormley, and his wife own the restaurant, quite an accomplishment for a young man. Brett and his sister Angela were small children when we were here years ago, I would have baptized them and presented them to the bishop for confirmation. Early in our years here, Brett’s grandfather Bill Joyner used to stop in front of the rectory, honk the horn, lean out the window of his old green Ford F100 pickup towing a cuddy cabin cruiser, and shout, “Let’s go fishin’!!” I’d drop my sermon notes, go climb into the passenger seat, and away we’d go up the river. We never caught one fish, but we’d stop and either anchor or tie up under a tree at the bank, and Bill would have brought a sandwich and a beer for each of us. A few years later, when Nicholas was a small boy, I bought that green F100 from Bill as my first pickup truck, and Nick and I enjoyed it around town for several years. 

One Sunday after church, I walked out the back, locked the sacristy door and down the steps heading for the rectory next door, just as a member of Bill’s family got out of a car and hurried up to the gate. “Dad’s at Weems Hospital, please come.” I was there with Louise, maybe Brett’s mother Beverly, and I think Annette, as Bill took one more gasp and stopped breathing and his daughter Anita murmured “Bye, Dad. See you later.” A few memories barely touch my involvement with Brett’s family over the years.

Gormley’s at the Gibson is now my choice for exquisite dining. Linda included oysters in her Guest Platter so I could have them, giving me four courses. Instead of a regular dinner, I ordered three appetizers. Seven fried oysters on spicy mayonnaise came piled delicately with the bitter greens that I like. Next, a bowl of about a dozen clams (not mussels) in their soup base; I saw the picture on the restaurant’s website and saw no need to resist. Penultimate, a bowl of Oyster Bisque, thick, slightly yellow orange and delicious, with Brett’s ingredients. Finally for my dinner, the oysters from Linda’s Guest Platter of grilled seafood. Two excellent desserts to close, and black coffee for me.

Upon returning to the hotel, we sat out on the porch for an hour watching as the crows flew over and settled into their evening roost, while just below observing a boat owner and spouse scrub their boat for an hour, complaining to the owner of the boat in the next slip about the mechanical problems they'd been confronted to deal with to restore the boat to seaworthy -- making it once again easy if I am ever forced to choose between owning a large boat and going to Hell.

After a stop for coffee and something sweet at the Apalachicola Chocolate Company, we may head for 7H. We plan to return to Oyster City for a wedding in October, and maybe for a long weekend at my birthday mid September.

DThos+ somewhere in +Time+  

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