March 21, 2008

Turtle Island

There is an outcropping in a nearby pond I've named "Turtle Island" because in the afternoons it becomes a big lounge chair for at least 6 painted turtles. When you approach, the spooked shellbacks dive, which is why you see nothing on the island now.

But as soon as you get distracted, they come right back for a sunbath.

March 20, 2008

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in the News

As a rascal student at this school--then called Lakeland High School--Lawton loved to take dares. Once he (gasp) tread water for several hours in Lake Wire next to the high school. Most of his social life in those days took place in a six-block stretch between Lake Morton and Munn Park. His childhood seems like so much fun, and it made the chapter a joy to write.

About the only tribulation of consequence occurred senior year. The football team, called the Dreadnaughts, won zero games. Some enterprising fellows sick of defeat became cheerleaders.

March 19, 2008

Monticello Memories

I looked in vain for watermelon fields on the north side of town, but I did find some small-town hospitality at a local restaurant across from the Jefferson County Courthouse. I was sitting in there eating lunch--or Sunday dinner as its called. A look of glum crossed my face and one of the staff people wiping up a table nearby said, "It'll get better. Don't worry."

Listen to the fellow from Monticello.

March 16, 2008

Monticello Revisited

Should have more pics of Monticello soon. Can never have enough of that place. Especially now that north Florida is starting to bloom. Pollen is everywhere. It's walkin' time. About 37 years ago this month, Lawton began his journey across Florida.

My vacation was prompted by substantial stress--it brings to mind something I was told in one of my interviews that I really appreciate now.

Paraphrasing: "Stress is a product of the ego. To whip it, you've gotta understand yourself and your limits."