Florida at last. We arrived at the Crestview home of Bud’s Uncle Paul and Aunt Donna Friday night. This is our fifth visit to the sole surviving sibling of his father, and they are always great hosts. Donna makes the best brisket and Cole sat outside with Paul Saturday morning and had a long talk about snakes (they have a lot of them there). It’s one of Bud’s few connections to his Arkansas roots: They spent time reminiscing about the Black Oak general store and relatives lost to alcohol, accidents, or just age. Donna and I went antiquing in Milton while the guys hung out and went for a bike ride — if we can’t relive the past, at least we can buy pieces of it. I was very restrained: Saw lots of cool things but few bargains, spent $12 on gifts. Goods are better but prices are higher than in the junk stores in Florala. The item I most wonder if I should have bought: a foot stool allegedly made in Italy where the base was a kneeling camel carved out of wood topped by a leather cushion. If it had been $15 instead of $50, it would have been mine.
Bud’s friends and family have provided us comfort on our voyage. His cousins Gail and Jack gave us a gift certificate for Olive Garden that was welcome respite at the end of a long, hard day of driving Thursday. How lovely after all the road food to sit and sip some cabernet and eat pasta. Okay, it’s not Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink — but hey, that’s coming. Tonight, Miami!
Graffiti in bathroom at BP station outside Tallahassee (where there are daily reports of oil conditions at the beach): “Boycott BP: Not one drop of gas in our tanks until every drop is out of the gulf.” Bud stopped there, not me. It’s taken a vestige of the British empire to inspire a grassroots environmental movement.