Peggy and Tom.
Peggy Miller, Peggy Seely and me at The Villages.
I spent the afternoon with Peggy Miller, a poet who we will be publishing next year. Another Upstate New Yorker who is now a year-round resident at The Villages. After lunch at her place we took a hike in a nearby state park. Peggy said to see the real Florida.
On the trail.
Spanish Moss in sunlight.
A Box Turtle.
Late day color at The Villages.
I gave a reading at The Villages Life Long Learning College. About 25 people and a fair amount of book sales. Again, a good response to my work.
Back at Peggy M's place we had dinner of her homemade chili and then she read some of her poems for me.
So, my first Florida visit. The Villages isn't typical Florida, but I had a great time and mostly because of the people. Next time down I'll try to explore more of the natural world of the state.
Left Peggy's place in the pre-dawn darkness retracing my route back toward the west and Mobile, AL.
Madison County Courthouse, Florida.
Stopped for breakfast in Madison at the Madison Diner. A group of guys were standing outside. One asked me if I drove all the way from New York for breakfast here. I said yes, and I'm mighty hungry.
After I ate they were still outside. I walked up to them and asked about one thing I should know about Madison. The first response, by the humorist of the group, was, "You don't want to live here." After a bit of prodding for a serious response I did get, "Nobody's a stranger here."
Greenville, Fl. Boyhood home of Ray Charles. US 90.
Dauphin Street, Mobile.
I was in Mobile to read in the Friday Poetry Walk. Poets were reading at various venues throughout the day. I was booked to read twice, The first was in a bar at 3:00 PM and the second in the outdoor venue on Dauphin Street after dark. Rob Gray was the organizer. A mutual friend, Trish, had put me in touch with him.
A couple of dozen or so poets participated and there was quite a variety of styles. Maybe a third of the poets were spoken word artists. The evening ended with an open mic at another bar. An afternoon full of pots and poetry.
I talked with a few poets and received some complimentary comments on what I presented. A brief time here, but I feel as though I have connected with some folks who I'll be seeing again sometime, somewhere down the road.
Left Mobile early, heading northward. This feels like the last leg of the journey as I leave the deep south heading to Newnan, GA and then on to Chattanooga, TN.
In Perdido, AL.
Gave a reading at Emeritus Independent Living in Newnan, GA. A small appreciative group. One of the attendees was Al von Heister, a 91 year-old artist. His great grandfather and great uncle were famous German painters, Andreas and Oswald Achenbach. After the reading I visited his apartment to see some of his work. Very impressive and he still continues to paint! A very kind and interesting old gentleman who reminded me very much of my father-in-law, Ken, who passed away a few months ago.
I arrived in Chattanooga after dark and took an inexpensive motel room. A little quiet, alone time for a day or so before the busy final week of the journey.