Waving Girl, October 2, 2014 # 1352

From my ledger. July, 1986 vacation to Smoky Mountains. Greg, Jean, and I went to the Smokies then circled south before heading home. Tuesday, July 8, 1986. Breakfast at a Maggie Valley restaurant. All you can eat for $1.89. To enjoy the scenery we selected a table on a screened in porch. A nearby sign proclaimed it to be the most photographed view in the Smokies. We have seen several of the most photographed places in the Smokies. An hour down the road we stopped to prowl at a large junk store. A sign stated, “The most photographed junk store in the Smokies.” There are a lot of outlet stores at in the vicinity and the junk place had a sign, “Junk Outlet.”

Arrived at Charleston, South Carolina at 4:30 and drove to Folly Beach where we swam and bird watched a couple of hours. Drove around downtown Charleston. Found a park with a lot of cannons. Saw Ft. Sumter out in the bay where the first shot of the Civil War was fired. Asked a local where was a good place to eat and he suggested “The Crab Net.” Very good seafood.

Wednesday, July 9, 1986. Headed for Savannah, Georgia at 7:30 this morning. Lots of signs advertising boiled peanuts. That just don’t sound right. Peanuts are supposed to be roasted and salted. Finally curiosity got to us and we had to stop and try some. Tasted like cold, leftover, crowder peas. Lots of trouble to make them. The woman in charge told me you soak them in water in the shells for thirteen hours. Put salt in and boil. There were two or three more steps and it seemed like a lot of trouble to eat something that tasted that bad. To the visitor center in Savannah and saw a fifteen minute video. Drove down River Street beside the Savannah River and saw the historic “Waving Girl” statue.

Here’s the story behind the sculpture. Florence Martus, 1868-1943, lived in Savannah, Georgia where her father was a sergeant at Ft. Pulanski on nearby Cockspur Island. She took it upon herself to be the “Walmart greeter” and held the job faithfully for forty four years, waving at ships entering and leaving the Port of Savannah. During the day she waved a large handkerchief and by night a lantern. From 1887-1931 it is said she didn’t miss a ship, amounting to an estimated 50,000.

Another legend claims she fell in love when a young girl but the sailor left on a ship and she was waiting patiently for his return with her faithful collie by her side. In 1943, Liberty ship SS Florence Martus was named for her. The statue was made by famous sculptor, Felix De Weldon, the man that did the Iwo Jima Statue.

Traveling on down the coast we stopped at Jekyll Island near Brunswick and couldn’t find a good beach to visit. Next stop was Jacksonville, Florida and east to Fernandina Beach, the most northern beach in Florida. Swam and played a couple hours then west on Interstate 10 to Lake Butler exit and spent night.

Thursday, July 10, 1986. Drove to Carrabelle and East Point looking at beaches. Lots of road damage from a recent storm. Trees piled near edge of highway. Ate lunch in Apalachicola, Florida at the Red Top Restaurant and their four dollar fried shrimp basket was really good. I tried to bribe the cook for the batter recipe but she wouldn’t talk about it. Visiting this little town gave me a funny feeling since I almost took an ag teaching job here in 1968. There wasn’t a cow in the county. While deciding about the job I talked to other ag teachers in the area and they discouraged me. Said all the boys were discipline problems and were just marking time until they could quit school and get a shrimp boat like their daddies.

On west to Panama City Beach where we found more shops than in Gatlinburg. Blue water and white sand. About dark we headed home. After we drove all night the police stopped us in Big Sandy and searched the pickup. Murderer Jerry “The Animal” McFadden had escaped from jail. Home at 10:00 a.m. More about 1986 later.

“Whatever Happened to This?” Department. In 2010 a Get Rich Quick system was going strong. People quit their regular jobs to work five minutes a week in order to make thousands. Or so the plan went. You would just go somewhere it was a lot of cars and copy down ten license plate numbers. Get on the internet and send in the numbers along with where they were. By return mail you would receive hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars. At Walmart and movie parking lots you could see folks with clipboards writing down license plate numbers. The purpose for someone wanting all these numbers always was a little vague. Some said it would help find and repo cars. Others said it was a marketing tool to see where and how often someone shopped. I have not heard of this in years. Anyone out there a millionaire yet thanks to this easy job?

October 7 find Uranus opposite from the Sun and therefore at its brightest. Sorta like a Full Moon. The giant planet will be to the lower left of the Full Moon on this date. The planet will be easier to see in a night or two as the Moon rises later and won’t “drown it out” as much. October 8 a total eclipse of the Moon will be visible across most of the U.S. just before dawn.

In honor of duck season arrival I tell this story. A big city guy was duck hunting and shot a duck which coasted on across a fence and fell on private property. The hunter started to cross the fence and get the duck when a farmer came up and stopped him. City guy explains he was just gonna get his duck. Farmer argued it was his duck. After five minutes arguing, the farmer said they would settle it “country style.” City guy asked how it worked and farmer said they would take turns kicking each other in the belly until one gives up. City guy hated to participate but wanted the duck immensely. Farmer said he would go first and lifted the city guy off the ground with the belly kick. After city guy rolled on ground for ten minutes he got up and said he was ready to do his kick. The farmer said he had been thinking about it and it seemed un-neighborly to refuse to let him have the duck so he could just go ahead and get it.

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