Thursday, May 21, 2009

THERE AND BACK

I have been to Florida and survived. In fact, I quite possibly thrived…at least if my measure of ice cream consumption is any indicator. For all my pre-trip whining and grumbling, all the contumelious remarks, the Sunshine State proved charming and its inhabitants friendly, gracious, welcoming.
Lacy & Dave…before.
As most of you probably know, I braved sunburn and palmetto bugs to visit this sub-tropical sandbox and celebrate with my daughter, Lacy, and Dave, her husband, an alfresco reaffirmation of their wedding vows. The ceremony, held beachside in Anastasia State Park, was lovely and moving; the banquet afterwards, in the intimate Cordova Room of the spectacular old Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, was scrumptious.
Ceremony on the beach.
Yet in the end, it’s not the beautiful settings, all the luxury and exquisite appointments, or even the observance and ritual that matters—it’s the people. Nothing beats family and friends; people are ultimately life’s greatest blessing. Without reservation, I can say that my daughter not only married a fine man, she married into a wonderful family. Folks who know how to have fun, take great joy in sharing, and instantly opened both their home and hearts.
Lacy & Dave…afterwards.
Of course, all the while, I couldn’t help but wonder how my little riverbank world was faring. It had been raining as we left. Was the water high—if so, how high? Was my goose being fed, and the woodpeckers and finches and all the rest of the feathered gang? Were the squirrels getting away with murder, stealing all the sunflower seeds, gnawing into the repair storage barrels? And my newly-planted seeds…were they up? Lacy, Dave, Dave’s father, Rich, and I had made the drive south. Now Dave and Lacy were off to Jamaica for a week’s “honeymoon” in the sun, and it was just Rich and I making the return trip. At some point I recalled that Dave Dudley hit from the early-1960s, “Six Days On the Road,” which recounts how a lonely trucker was excitedly looking forward to returning home. In our case it would be four days in Florida with a 14-hour drive day capping either end. Not as much road time and miles, perhaps, but still enough that I think both of us were anxious to get back. Florida was nice. The reaffirmation ceremony was lovely. And I’ve never been around warmer, nicer people. Still, as a wise young traveler named Dorothy once said, “There’s no place like home.”

34 comments:

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I'm glad you had a good time and that you made it there and back again in one piece.

Carolyn h.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Such a lovely couple. It sounds like everyone had the best of times. Glad you're safe home.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

Me, too—though this one safe and happy piece is behind in his yard work, still a bit tired, and can't believe how lush and green everything looks after only a week!

Wanda said...

In the first photo that particular spot on the beach made a perfect scene...the three spots of green and the blue and white of the sky and ocean...perfect protrait of their day...They make a lovely couple...You did miss some rather cold mornings here though...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lynne…

We all did have a great time. Even on the road! And they are a lovely couple and as nice in personality and actions and lives as they look. I'm very proud of both.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz - welcome home! :-)

Your journey sounds wonderful, loving, gracious and delicious. I love the photos, - Lacy is beautiful.

I appreciate, more than you know, what it means to know our children are happy, loved and loving..... this is a gift beyond words.

Love Gail
peace,,,,,

now get to work!!! heehee, hahahaheeheehahaha :-)

Jain said...

Oftentimes on my way home--even from the best of trips--I’ll click my heels three times and utter Dorothy’s words. Hasn’t worked for me yet.

Welcome back to the river and to your blog family.

Val said...

Good to see you back Griz! I'm glad you had a great time!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

That would probably be favorite shot of those I took except I wish I'd thought and had Lacy take off her sunglasses. I like the other (last) one of them, too.

I saw it was cold here. Actually it was mostly rainy or cloudy in Florida; not much bright sun. Even that scene on the beach—there are clouds directly overhead and every direction inland, and only blue sky showing offshore. But we had nice enough weather in the few hours we needed it, so I'm not complaining.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

It was a really good trip all around. As a father, and really Lacy's only family, I've been worried—or at least concerned—about what she'll do should/when something happens to me. This trip—meeting Dave's aunts and uncles and cousins galore—have laid those considerations to rest. I feel comfortable with my daughter being "adopted" into their family. They do love her and do care for, and will always do so. They're that kind of loving, open family. That means more to me than I can express.

Lacy is a beautiful lady. Smart, responsible, filled with joy and mirth and kindness. I'm regularly overwhelmed by the blessing of such a daughter. I admire and love her with all my heart. She is a gift beyond words…

Take care. And yes, I will now "get back to work!"

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Hasn't worked for me, either. But home is still that place where my inner compass points…and where—no matter how good the trip—I eventually must go.

BTW, it may sound hokey, but I am looking forward to getting back to my blog family.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Val…

It was good to go and good to return home. I did have a great time. But the riverbank was callin'…

gleaner said...

Blog world is a funny place - reading the intricacies of daily life on the riverbank meant your abscence had me wondering what was going on there while you were away. Did the riverbank kingdom notice the king missing, was anyone else watching and recording what was happening?

KGMom said...

Scribe--welcome home. The best part about a long journey (for me) is the return home. Just walking in the house and breathing in all the smells. . .Seeing the cats who scold. . .Retrieving the dog from the kennel who is excited out of her mind. . .Sleeping in my own bed. Priceless.
We have only gone through one wedding--no renewals. Our daughter gets married this October--so that will be our second family wedding.
Interesting--your description of your daughter sounds REMARKABLY like my daughter.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Oh how wonderful - all your sentiments and gracious gratitude - and to know that there is a whole family that loves your 'little girl' - well you are right - there are NO words to describe such a feeling of happy peace. You, she, they, are truly ALL so blessed.

Love Gail
peace......

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gleaner…

Blog world is indeed a funny place.

You wondered what was going on. I wondered what was going on, too. I also wondered what was going on with the blogs I follow. And, I felt like I ought to be reporting, commenting, considering, observing—the riverbank's goings on. For me, for readers…for the riverbank itself and all its characters.

Did it know I was gone? Naaaah. This riverbank has been here doing just fine for many years without me. It will do equally well without me in the future when my time has passed. I'm not king of anything here…merely a loving scribe.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Home—if it is a true home, and not just an address where you leave your stuff when you go away—is that directional center; the place which draws and welcomes, takes you in like a comfortable chair, wraps you in its familiarity of smells and sounds and feels.

A bed you know, a dog who knows you, rooms and halls and stairs you can navigate without turning on a light. A home is like an inanimate friend in which you know each other's likes and dislikes, quirks, shortcomings, strengths and weaknesses—and you forgive the negative, enjoy in the positive, accept the relationship for exactly what it is, now, yesterday, tomorrow.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Daughters are so special—they can make your soul sing with their laughter and break your heart into a million pieces with a single tear.

What a blessing!

Bernie said...

Welcome home! I can tell you are comforted and reassured about Lacy's in laws and family...a real blessing for sure.
I think most of us feel the same, that no matter how far we travel or how wonderful our trip....it's so good to arrive home....:-) Bernie

Jayne said...

How sweet to be able to be a part of their reaffirmation to one another. I agree with you though... as nice as it is to be away for a bit, there is NO place like home. :c)

giggles said...

Welcome home...nice to hear of wonderful family and see pictures of beautiful kids!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Home is just…home. There's no other way to put it.

I can—and have—live mostly on the road, at least upwards of 300 days per year. But there was always that point in my interior map, the pushpin to which my heartstrings were attached—home.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

What I can't believe is how much my old riverbank has changed in so short a time!

I'm glad to be back to see it continue changing.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

They are a fine-looking and delightful couple. Amazing, actually. I'm a proud papa and papa-in-law.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely to have you back Scribe - glad you had a lovely time. Sure you are glad to be home again - we have a saying "East, West, home's best" - wherever I go on holiday I always look forward to being home. Can't wait to have a mooch round the garden to see what has come up in my absence (usually weeds). So welcome home!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

I've been doing exactly that…mooching around the yard and riverbank, checking on seeds I'd planted, seedlings, and things which were newly emerged and are now about to bloom. Stuff—desirable and undesirable—has indeed been growing rampantly in my absence.

Ahhhhh, home…

The Solitary Walker said...

Welcome back! (Jeez, I nearly wrote 'Welcome home!' - as if I'd somehow been cyber-ly looking after your house and riverbank while you were away, and were standing at the gate reassuring you that the woodpeckers had been just fine..! Very strange, the imagined intimacies of blogland... Of course, what I mean is: Welcome back to the blog!)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

Hey, don't apologize! I'm sure you were a fine woodpecker watchdog and gatekeeper. (Well, I don't actually have a gate…but if I did, I just know you would have managed admirably.)

I accept that your sentiment remains equally sincere—whether you welcomed me home to the riverbank or home to blogland.

Thank you.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Glad to have you back, Grizzled! What a lovely post, it's good to read about Lacy and Dave's reaffirmation and your description is so warming.

Reading the post and comments about the meaning of home reminds me of the Dulce Domum episode in Wind in the Willows! (Hope I've spelled that right!)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Raph…

I don't know whether you spelled it right or not—but it doesn't matter. I know the scene and exactly what you mean, and you're right.

BTW, I'm thinking of a "bench" post for Riverdaze…

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Look forward to seeing the Riverdaze bench!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Raph…

Okay. That's all the encouragement I needed. In the near future, it will appear in true Riverdaze fashion…

David M. Staples said...

I really enjoyed getting to meet you down in the "Sunshine (Except When It Is Storming) State." As another person who has benefited from marrying into that family, I agree that they are wonderful people. And Lacy is wonderful - you did a great job. I have also really loved Riverdaze. You are very engaging writer and storyteller. And I'm still serious about that podcast....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

David…

I enjoyed meeting and talking with you in sunny/soggy Florida. I hope we can do it again before too long.

As to raising Lacy…I suspect she's become the lovey and funny lady she now is, inside and out, in spite of my upbringing rather than because of it. I love her with with my heart—but she's so much better than me in every way that it would be presumptuous and egotistical of me to take credit for her work and dedication and life. I'm a proud and astonished papa each and every day.

Re. the podcasting…I have thought about it, but I'm going to need a bit of help with the technology. One of these days, if you have bit of time, and once your move (today, wasn't it?) is over and you've settled into your new home, use the email address given here on the right and drop me a note.

Finally, thank you for your nice words regarding my writing. I appreciate it…a lot.