Thursday, July 31, 2014
A day of BLISS!
With very little sleep thanks to Navarre, I decided to take it easy as long as I could.. I hung my hammock for a nap later, made breakfast and coffee all perfect for the chill starting this day. I took a walk on the property, made note of a few things like blackberries, apples, lots of nut trees, sassafras trees, and strange objects. On my walk I sat on the ground at the old home site and the cattle approached me. Riddled with flies I could hardly stop looking at them, I was surprised at the horrible flies, horrified really but ...they are not my cattle and I'm not the one eating them later. I continued down the lane and called Lauren to see if I could photograph the pond, her voodoo grave yard, etc... but of course I ended up going to her house loving what she had done to it and sad to see she was selling it.
After our visit I called the restaurant my cousins were going to for lunch, if they had reservations I was going to pay for their meal... as she had paid for mine last night. But no reservation so that was a flop. I took my morning cloth bath, a cool shocking clean from the horses water, but a warming sun dry made it worth while. I loaded the horses and took them into Nashville for my shot. I had to park them in the outside parking area due to the trailer height. It took me all of 15 minutes in the doctors office, then we were all headed to the attorneys office closer to home. That look me all of 45 minutes so I stopped by an old establishment to get some late lunch. The horses were set with ice and hay so there was no reason to rush or worry about them.
Arriving back in Joelton, seeing the name... Joe's Produce etc... gave me a flash back to my early years of going into the local store and in my mind this is the same thing only a new location. In essence My Uncle Roland had a small shop on the old 431 as you approached Springfield/ Robertson County line; If you have driven the old road it's just across from the old white church. JB ran that little store after my uncles death, he kept just enough basics for the those who never drove the 6 miles to Bates Grocery in Joelton central; serving bologna sliced to your specifications, the small cold cokes top popper next to the door, and orange cream ice push up pops. JB's son Joe had run that store after his fathers death, keeping it almost as it had always been minus the outdated gas pumps. But after the death of my Aunt Mary there was nothing there, it was deserted like so many other old structures. So the place for all the local retired men to sit (on the discarded old church bench), drink, role a smoke and shoot the bull was gone. As I looked under the banner name on the building there were three men sitting there talking and drinking. One in Duckhead overalls on an old church bench left of the door and a non matching mate flanking the other side. The others in work clothes non the less but on at one of the wooden picnic tables. Cynthia's mother sat outside with them as well as eating her lunch so I casually said hi as I passed to go inside. She was shocked knowing that I live so far away, she expressed her satisfaction of seeing me considering my Nanny and my Aunt Gale are no longer around for me to make a point of visiting. I walked in; old screen door slamming behind me, Cynthia doing as any good proprietor does, shooting the bull with all the customers busy as she could be. I got fried catfish, white beans, hush puppy, and fries; a perfect meal for a hard day of driving in an out of traffic. I went back outside sat with Cynthia's mother and enjoyed my lunch. Cynthia making all her rounds came outside and we chatted for a while. Cynthia who now owns Joe's Produce, after Joe's sudden death in a car accident, he wasn't married, no children, but Cynthia had worked for him for years. Ms Darnell, wife and mother to the duo thought Joe would love to see Cynthia run the place if he had a choice. All of this in perfect keeping and everything is as it should be for the community.
It is perfect and I can only suggest that if you travel up I-24 get off at Joelton, Springfield exit and go toward Joelton and eat at Joe's... on the right hand side of the road, it looks like a dive... but the dives are where all the good local cooking happens. They are good people, fair prices, home cooked meals, and a testament to how life really is.
Getting back to the camp site was simple, but the act of getting the horses in and out of their pen was a little tricky. In order to get them in or out I had to tie Navarre to the trailer and move the trailer with him attached! Yes I did! Putting them in the trailer was fine easy in fact, but getting them in the pen and not having one dart out was a little more tricky. I would get Sweet Pea out of the trailer and allow her to eat freely as I unloaded Navarre, but I tied him to the trailer in the pen. I got Sweet Pea, walked her into the paddock I had created but tied her to a tree so she was down the hill as I backed up the trailer with Navarre in tow, thus blocking any manner of their getting out after untied. Having explained my complicated process the reality is... Sweet Pea could have jumped over the trailer hitch any time she liked, and with little to no real electricity in my tape strands Navarre could have walked through them and not felt a thing due to all the hair he possesses.
Life was perfect I settled down and started to read. A perfect sway in my hammock, light shown over my shoulder onto the pages, a cold drink from my cooler in the truck.
A friend was able to visit; their camp chairs in tow. I met them at the high gate and we all walked back down together. My rules at my barn follow my horses, so boots and a helmet are my requirements. Everyone was in boots and we could take turns with my helmet if need be. Just having a connection to this friend made me feel so much better about life. Seeing how tall her daughter had grown in only two or three years was astonishing. Seeing her daughter on my little fat boy walking, trotting, and a canter or two was a gift to my soul just to watch her have fun on my little horse. Yet another friend showed up with her daughter as well, so they all took turns on Navarre till some had to go home and others of us were too tired to ride any more. We smiled, laughed and enjoyed our time together so much we never broke out our chairs and sat on the ground or the trailer the entire time we talked.
By this time, the ground in the newly erected horse paddock was starting to be a little more worn; so my worries dropped a few degrees in respect to the risk of Navarre getting sick. He was moving slightly stiff in the hind off but nothing serious.
After everyone left I was in total bliss. The light in the hammock started to fade with the day so I pulled out my trusty lantern, lit some bug candles and allowed myself to read, rest and enjoy the place. Taking in the smells, just being on the old place was as peaceful as I have felt in years. Strange how as a kid of 16, and yet again in my 20's I swore I would never go back to Joelton, dying to get out an LIVE in the rest of the world. Now as an adult in my late 40's I feel more pulled to the place where my hammock swings as much as I do my little plot in North Carolina. As the sun fell lower and lower, the crickets got louder, the flock of turkeys decided to cut the pasture closer to our campsite which stopped the ring of Navarre's bell as he stood still to watch them. The cattle moved closer and the lightening bugs finally went to sleep, awakening all the owls as they started to call out to each other more and more. All the sounds were music to my mind, I faded in concentration and finally turned out my lantern.
I slept like a log, as if nothing could awaken me till a sudden alarm sounded. DEAD SILENCE! no crickets, OMG no bell! I slowly rolled over in my hammock, praying I didn't fall out, I could only see the glow of Navarre's white butt, I had no idea where Sweet Pea was. I felt for my flashlight slowly moved it in position and clicked it on. SIX green eyes shown back at me, as the light moved from Navarre to a further distance, THREE coyotes scampered down the property as I uttered my first word YOU ... Shits... to their backsides... gone in a flash, crickets gaining a higher pitch and Sweet Pea looking at me like she did something wrong. I rolled over checked my phone ... 3:30 am or there a bouts as I easily fell back into a deep sleep with the crickets at a deafening tone again. A great deep sleep I never expected but welcomed with its rarity.
Before dawn, I could hear puppies playing. Some where very close there was a coyote den with a few more to harass me on my next outing! Truth is the property needs coyotes so I have no issues with them. In fact I wish I had one or two on my property in North Carolina to control all the rodents, ground hogs, opossums, raccoons etc...
Friday turned out to be a PERFECT Day! A day that made the drive, the physical exertion, and all the planning MORE than worth all my efforts.