Thursday, March 20, 2014

Final Piece of Real Estate

To some, this post will seem a bit morbid or depressing. It's not. You see, The Colonel and I just purchased our cemetery plots, which if you really think about it, is most practical. As we all know, no one gets out alive.

The Colonel and I love the cemetery we chose to be buried in (many, many years from now of course). It is the second oldest in the county (established in 1886), we often eat our lunch in it and we have twice given historical, haunted tours in it near Halloween. The county's historical center wants to do the tours again this fall. The Colonel, Darling-Sister-In-Law and I cannot wait to be part of it again.

The process that eventually ended in the purchase of our final resting places began with a visit to the Public Works office. Cookie, the lady who is in charge of the sale of plots, was on vacation, but her fill-in gave us a map of the cemetery that showed which plots were still available for purchase and told us Cookie would be back next week.

We took said map to the cemetery and began walking the areas that had plots for purchase. As we looked at the numbers on the map, we noticed the number for lot 728. We walked to where we thought lot 728 would be. There was no numbered marker on the ground to let us know if we were on the correct lot. We became excited to know that lot 728 was open for purchase.

When Cookie was back from her vacation, The Colonel and I paid her a visit. "We would like to purchase two plots in lot 728 please." Cookie, "That is not possible right now. It has not been surveyed yet." Our disappointment was short lived when Cookie said she would put our names in the book for lot 728, plots 7&8 with a yellow Post-it Note, as a sort of "dibs", even though that was not regulation. She told us we could purchase our chosen plots once the area was surveyed. Cookie did not know when that would be. She did say she was retiring in September of this year and The Colonel and I hoped the survey would be completed before Cookie's retirement. We liked working with her (her fill-in was very nice too, but Cookie has been doing this for many, many years).

During one of our cemetery sojourns (we visited it often, we really wanted plots in lot 728 once they became available. I will tell you why later) The Colonel and I noticed a survey crew among the headstones. The crew was making its way to where we thought lot 728 was. We were pleased to know that the survey of the cemetery was progressing.

It was about two weeks after our first meeting with Cookie that we discovered lot 728 had been surveyed.

I called Cookie to confirm this, which she did, and told her we would be in to make our purchases the next day.

It was good to see Cookie again and see that once my check was signed and handed to her, she officially put our names in the book for lot 728, plots 7&8. No more yellow Post-it Note!

Why all this hoopla about wanting to be buried in lot 728 (even Cookie agreed with the legitimacy of our reason)?

The pinnacle of The Colonel's 20-year career with the U.S. Air Force was when he was Commander of the 728th ACS (Air Control Squadron).

It seems as though it is our destiny (and fortune) to be (many, many years from now) laid to rest in lot 728 in our favorite cemetery.

See the nearest, little, white marker in the foreground of the picture below? That marks the corner of lot 728, plots 7&8. Notice the tree line in the background? Behind those trees is Alligator Creek. We like that our plots are near the creek.

This is the view from our plots as you look towards the older section of the cemetery (the white marker marks the corner of lot 728. Our plots are just to the left of it).

From our plots you can see Wal-Mart. It is the tallest, tan building in the background, right of the telephone pole. Wal-Mart will come in handy for any visitors who wish to purchase flowers to place on our graves (hint, hint, Yam and Spud).

We walked around the cemetery after we purchased our plots. We walked primarily in the newer section where our plots are located. There were some interesting gravestones there like that of Miss Daytona Beach 1944 and the little bench with its funny saying.

I performed a subdued jig of sorts upon my future grave, just to be able to say I danced upon my own grave. This reminded me of an episode of one of my favorite television series, Northern Exposure, where Ed buys Ruth-Ann a grave for her birthday and they both dance on it at the end of the show.

The Colonel will have a military headstone to mark his resting place and I will have my own headstone. I am in the process of deciding what I want it to look like and what to have written upon it (a somewhat daunting task).

We have more on our final wishes, to-do list, but it gives us some peace of mind knowing our final piece of real estate has already been purchased.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Bit of an Evening with a Fellow Writer

We have lived here for going on 8 years now and we recently visited a great, local bookstore for the first time. The Colonel and I can't explain this. How did we miss this gem for so long?

The Colonel heard about Copperfish Books and its location from someone who sits on an educational board along with him. He came home from the board meeting and said we had to check it out.

We did check it out. The owners of the bookstore are two friendly ladies. Their bookstore carries used, new and antiquarian books as well as greeting cards and gifts.

While there we saw a flyer about an upcoming discussion about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' memoir, Cross Creek. Rawlings wrote The Yearling as well as other books. I purchased the memoir and signed up for the discussion group.

The discussion was attended by about a dozen women. It was nice to drink coffee and talk about the book. It was also nice to meet new people...strangers are just friends we haven't met yet. I am on Copperfish's email list. I want to attend more of these discussion groups and attend some of their other book related activities.

Last evening I did attend another Copperfish Books activity. The bookstore was filled to capacity and I barely found an empty seat in which to sit (and I thought I had arrived early) before Author Lynn Waddell arrived and began reading from and talking about her new book, Fringe Florida: Travels Among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles.

Lynn Waddell is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the Daily Beast, Budget Travel, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times. She has appeared on MSNBC and the Oxygen Network's true crime series "Snapped" and been a guest on radio and talk shows throughout the United States.

Lynn Waddell's book tells of 10 aspects of Florida's titillating underbelly that few tourists ever see. Beyond the theme parks and the beaches lies a periphery some residents (not me or The Colonel) know about but prefer not to discuss. Waddell explores the exotic, sensational and sometimes illicit worlds of the oddest state (next to California of course) in the nation.

Lynn talked to us about her experiences as she researched her new book.  She visited an all-nude strip club in Tampa where the dancers perform nude lap dances (I felt the need to bathe or at least wash my hands after reading that offense Lynn...just proves your excellent writing ability). She also visited a nudist colony (she remained clothed) and discovered that there is a lot of eye-contact at a nudist colony.

Florida's sub-tropical weather gives many the idea that it is a great place to have exotics as pets. Lynn Waddell devotes a chapter in her book about Animal Amnesty Day outside of Busch Gardens where exotic reptile owners can give up their no-longer-manageable pets and others who want them can take home the cast-off critters. Have you ever been to a zoo's herpetarium? Pee-eww!

After Lynn had a little Q&A session she signed books. Several people purchased her book that evening. I had purchased mine after the Cross Creek book discussion group. I wanted to read a bit of Lynn's book before I would met her (I'm still in the process of reading well as two other books concurrently...The Yearling being one of them). Lynn's writing style makes her book an easy and interesting read. I didn't know there were so many "Fringy Floridians".

When it was time for Lynn to sign my book I told her I wrote a blog. She said she would like to have a blog too, but does not have the time currently. She was curious about mine and asked what is was about and for the web address. I wrote it down for her. Lynn said she would check it out and I hope she will.

"Good luck with the blog. Dare to enjoy the fringe. Best, Lynn Waddell"