Thoughts of: Dreams sometimes do come true

The eight year old boy races up and down the well-worn trail of the park trying to envelope himself into the surroundings.

“I’m a woodsman!”  He joyfully squeals to his parents before tearing off again.

The young teen ager carefully looks at himself in the mirror, inspecting how the plaid flannel shirt fits with the basic blue jeans and hiking boots.

Satisfied, he proclaims, “I am a woodsman.”

The middle aged man carefully opens the trap and sets the raccoon free.  Throwing the trap in the bed of the truck, he pulls some leaves off a nearby camphor tree and crushes them in his hands.  The oils from the leaves both clean and erase and accidental scent transfer.  Climbing into the truck he glances back to his grandfather’s old axe that he refurbished sitting next to his chainsaw and other tools.  Tilting back his wide brimmed hat, his eyes widen with a dawning realization.

“I’m a woodsman.”  He says with a chuckle.

My second entry for the Trifecta Challenge.

Daydreams of: The Trifecta Challenge – What I tell you three times is true.

“It’s ok.”  He says to his daughter after looking at the wreck that used to be his car.

“It’s ok.”  He says with moist eyes as he sees the ring another man wants to give his daughter.

“It’s ok.”  He says with faint bravery before breathing his last.

For the 33rd Trifecta Challenge

Thoughts of: A Pickup Truck Podcast

Podcast:  An audio recording that is played, downloaded, or streamed on a computer, smartphone, or other mobile media device.  The recording is loosely based on a talk radio format and is created variously from the hobbyist to fully funded industries.

How many of you listen to them?  I started when I won an i-pod in a contest.  I’d download scads of them and listen through the day as I did my mundane and tedious chores at work.

Podcasts are wonderful things because, like blogs or the internet, they allow you to find a topic you enjoy and bring fellow enablers to strengthen your biases.  I’ve seen podcast sites for gardening, cars, books, sailing, comedy, motorcycles, firearms, Star Trek, farming, bicycling, hiking, horse riding, news, music, business, video games, religion, and even old radio shows from the era before television.  There’s even a small section that focuses on dating and relationships if you’re so inclined.  It doesn’t seem to be that popular though given how hard it is to find anything on that topic.

Like the web, there is a podcast for anything.  Well, almost.

Perusing through various podcast sites and search engines, I have found one glaring omission.  The pickup truck podcast.

That’s right.  In the great streaming digital universe there is no podcast that focuses solely on the pickup truck.

Why is that?

It makes no sense to me.  Given that the pickup is still number one and two selling vehicle in the country and that 60% of GM’s profit comes from the pickup platform, you’d think a market savvy entertainment company would jump on this.

Let’s look at another auto based entertainment sector for a moment.  Printed magazines.  When it comes to motorized vehicle based magazines, every corner of the market is covered.

You like motorcycles?  Take your pick according to style, age, and market.

Cars?  Enthusiast or fact seeker?  Amateur racer or vintage restorer?  Big block engine or four cylinder hybrid?

Pickup Trucks?  You can focus on small trucks or big diesels.  Low ride street machines or off road trail riders.  You can find restoration magazines or wild customizations.  Anything and everything.

Scooters?  Yes there are magazine for scooters of all sorts and character.

But when it comes to podcasts I’d bet money that you will have an easier time finding a ‘cast about scooters than you would about pickups.

So then the obvious question becomes:

“How would you do it?”

That parts easy.

Since the pickup is made by car companies, you go the same route as a car based podcast.

News:  You report about the new vehicle coming out, the new regulations affecting future products, the way the market meets the challenges of the times, economy, safety, recalls, new technologies, and other newsworthy items.

Reviews:  Tests of the various trucks both on and off the road.

Interviews:  One on one with the designers, engineers, marketing, sports people, and spokesperson for the vehicles.  You could even record “live shows” where listeners could call in and ask questions.

Sporting and events:  From the Baja 1000 to auto shows to truck pulls, reports of what’s happening along with interviews of the stars of the event will always be wanted.

The Personal Angle:  A “This old truck” segment where an average person talks about why they chose the truck they did and how they use it; or a general discussion about the truck and how it fits psychologically into society.

Aftermarket products:  The pickup truck is the most personalized and accessorized vehicle on the planet.  There are so many companies out there that would love to come on the air and tell their story about how their product fits into the pickup world.  Plus all the above topics can fit into this section as well.

So, as you can see there are tons of topics to build a podcast around.  The “how to do it” is easy.

I can hear your next question already:  “If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?”

To be honest, I have thought about it, but I believe that having a voice for sign language is a hindrance in this endeavor.  The time conundrum is another.

So for now I will keep searching for this elusive podcast, but I also would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  I know I have some pickup fans here.  Tell me what you think and what truck topics you’d like to hear about.

Until then, keep on truckin’.

Daydreams of: The Guest

Paul sat in his favorite evening chair, lazily watching a movie.  He was proud of himself and the work he had accomplished.  All the shutters were down, and the doors were covered with plywood.  He had done everything he could to arm against the coming storm and he knew it. Besides, it was only going to be a category one hurricane, maybe two at the worst.  Plus it was told to make landfall north of him.  All Paul expected was some wind, rain, and a little flooding that would quickly wash away.

It was poetic defiance that prompted Paul to play Steven King’s “Storm of the Century”.  He had thought of putting on “Twister”, or “The perfect storm”, but they didn’t seem to fit well.  “Storm of the Century” pitted a small town against a strong blizzard as the subplot.  That was close enough for Paul.  Paul wasn’t being reckless about the upcoming storm, either.  He would periodically walk into the front room to get an update on the weather from the other TV.  After a few jaunts from room to room, the weather finally caught his attention. The storm was closer now.

Paul had turned off the movie and his bravado as he focused on the scene being played out on the news.  It was an incredible sight.  The ocean now engulfed what had been a vast area of beachfront property.  The water was now slapping the edifice of the hotel towers.  Each crash grew stronger with each consecutive wave.  As the news switched to a different camera.  Two palm trees were caught in the torrential winds.  Their trunks bowed to and fro as if some giant, deranged, invisible cheerleader was shaking them.

All the while Paul could hear the weatherman announce the strength and direction of the storm.  It had grown stronger, and was now a category four hurricane.  Worst of all, it was headed right at him!  Paul didn’t need to hear the Anchorman’s advice not to leave, he knew instinctively that it was too late.  The shelters were open, but odds of getting to one were slim and none.  Besides, Even if he was able to get to one, all the shelters in the county were only rated for a category three hurricane.  No place was truly safe.

Suddenly the screen lost its picture.  All that was shone was static and snow.  Paul realized he was on his own now.  With a strange calmness, Paul turned off the set, walked into the garage with a flashlight and turned off every breaker individually before cutting the main.  There in the dark stillness of the house, Paul could hear the storm outside. The winds howled stronger than he had expected.  He walked from room to room, trying to peak out from the edges of the plywood surrounding the windows with no avail.  He then moved to the front door to try and peek out the spy hole.  The wind licked at his ankles from beneath the door.  He tried to see what was happening, but the lens was too dirty to reveal the drama being played just beyond the inch of wood.  In that moment, in the darkness, Paul felt completely alone.  As he headed towards the bathroom for safety, a thunk was heard at the front door.

“It must be a fallen branch or debris being blown onto the door.”  He thought.

The noise came again, this time harder. A distinct rapping on the door.  Paul couldn’t believe it.  Someone was actually knocking on his door!

“What the hell!?!”  Paul thought as he grasped the handle.

As the door opened Paul threw up his arms to defend himself.  A bolt of lightning crashed right behind the person standing at the threshold.  As Paul’s eyes adjusted from their unexpected assault, he realized that a man was standing patiently before him.  The stranger wore a black trench coat and a wide brimmed hat to ward off the wind and rain. Paul thought it was strange that the hat had not been blow away from the fierce winds that tore down branches and tossed litter like confetti, but the thought took a back seat to his overriding sense of preservation.

“Get in here before you get killed!” Paul barked to the stranger as he yanked him in.  Paul slammed the door shut behind the man and locked it tight.

“Thank you for your hospitality.”  Replied the man with a strange sense of calm that didn’t fit the situation.  “It’s quite blustery out there, you know.”

“Damn straight it’s blustery out there!”  Snorted Paul. “That’s the beginnings of a cat. Four hurricane barreling right at us!  Don’t you know this?  What in the hell would you be out in such weather?”

“I was invited here.” explained the man with a polite smile as he took off his hat and coat.

Paul looked hard at the man and would’ve sworn that he had never met him before, and yet something about him seemed familiar.  Paul couldn’t put his finger on it.  He looked neither young nor old.  His face was rather plain with no distinguishing marks, yet his skin was a unique complexion.  It seemed a mix of black, or white or middle east with a dash of Native Indian thrown in for fun.  He was not really that tall, either, maybe 5’9” at best.  His charcoal colored casual wear didn’t help.

Finally, Paul gave up the challenge and asked him.  “Do I know you?”

The man again smiled politely, and said. “We’ve seen each other in many places through the years, but we have never properly met; until now.”

Paul was on edge with the storm plowing its way towards him and was in no mood for such dancing.  “Where!?!” Paul demanded.

The stranger’s shoulders slumped as he let out a sigh. “I guess it’s always going to be this way with you people.”

He took off his glasses to reveal soft coal colored eyes and said, “I was there when your grandfather was in the nursing home that September day.  I was there with you and your Dad after your cousin’s high school graduation party.  I was there when you held your dog in your arms for the last time in June. And I was there besides your Mother for seven hours while she lay in intensive care six years ago.”

Paul stepped back, incredulous. He couldn’t believe that this man knew his past so well.  He was scared and outraged at the same time.

“How do you know all this?  Paul demanded.  “Who are you?”

“I am death.” Came the reply as the winds moaned outside.

Thoughts of:A Wizard of Earthsea

The pride of youth

A challenge met

Death to light

A shadow unsent

The wound afflicted

An illusion lost

A lesson learned

Shadow and light

One in the same

A wizard of Earthsea

A poem of my favorite book brought to you for the Trifecta Challenge.

A Wizard of Earthsea on Amazon.

The Eathsea quartet.

Daydreams of: Cast Away

Smoke hazed the bar with a stinging fog.  Flashing neon lights burned like incessant lightning bugs on the wall.  The murmur of various conversations melted into a constant buzz of annoyance. All Gary could do was stare intently at his half empty glass of beer.  Seven beers ago he didn’t even notice the conditions around him.  All he wanted was to wash out the bile in his mouth and acid in his heart that was caused by the ragged letter clenched in his hand.  Five beers later, his anger mellowed to a blue funk. At beer six the ambiance started to work its way in, and at beer seven the cacophony of stimuli hammered his brain like a migraine.

“Stroh’s.”  He muttered to himself as he swirled around the amber liquid in the pilsner.  “Why can’t they have Stroh’s?”

Gary gulped down the last of the swill before reading the note for the umpteenth time.

Sorry Gary, It’s been fun but Jonny’s single and you’re just not him.

See ya!

Cyndi

Gary crumpled the letter again in disgust.  “Damn you Jonny Depp.  How many live will you ruin?”

He signaled for another beer as the wail of a lonely guitar cried from the jukebox.

Brought to you for the Trifecta Challenge.

Thoughts of: Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth.

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Everyone in the United States knows that.  Everyone here also knows about the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.  But how many know of Ponce?

Ponce de Leon joined Columbus’ crew as a “Gentleman Volunteer” in 1493 on Columbus’ second trip to the new world.

After landing on Hispaniola, Ponce rose through the ranks until he became Governor of the territory.

A huge political battle between him and Columbus’ son, Diego Colon became the driving force for Ponce to seek another adventure.  With the promise of exclusive rights of discovery for the next three years along with having the title of Governor of all land discovered for life, with a set percentage of gold, and resources kept of said discovered land, Ponce went out and paid for three ships and hired hands out of his bank account.

On April 2, 1513 Ponce de Leon landed on what he believed to be an island and called it La Florida.

What isn’t said in any official report is Ponce’s search for the Fountain of Youth.  The reports of his supposed search start only after he dies.  From 1535 to 1615 four stories appear in succession.  One written by a member of his crew from the expedition.

With so much folklore and rumor, the question persists, “Did Ponce de Leon look for the fountain of youth?”

So with the famous “Fountain of Youth” right across the street behind my hotel in St. Augustine; how could I not go?

The first thing my wife and I couldn’t help but notice is the massive wall surrounding the place.  While not tall by any standards, its sturdy being made up of shells and cement.  It has a character to it that I’ve never seen before.

On and off drizzle along with our early arrival rewarded us with personal tours of both the planetarium and the discovery globe.  We also had an exclusive tour of the fountain area itself, but walked right through it without knowing what it was.  One of the people working there was busy filling small plastic cups with the fabled water.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Once inside, my wife and I were amazed by the beauty of the grounds.  Park like in its splendor, the landscape rivals that of Bok Towers and Selby Gardens.  In some ways, it surpasses them.

 

The local wildlife was interesting too.  Besides the usual ground squirrels and ducks, The Fountain of Youth offers something you don’t see every day.  Free range peacocks.

Totally comfortable with tourists, these magnificent birds walk around as if we’re part of their land.  Wonderfully behaved these birds don’t chase or harass us even when we get close enough to reach out and touch them.  (No.  I didn’t try that.  Getting bit by a peacock is not on my bucket list.)

Very soon, we were greeted by the workers and asked if we would like to see the globe and planetarium.

“Sure.”

We had the places to ourselves. It was wonderful.

We first headed to the Globe building where we were informed that the globe depicting the travels to America was two stories high.

The planetarium showed us what the stars looked like when Columbus and Ponce sailed here in 1493.  It was wonderful.

There is nothing better than having the place to yourself knowing you will not be disturbing anyone by taking pictures.

Exiting the main room of the planetarium to the hall, my wife and I ran into the first group of people we saw on the grounds besides the workers.  It was good to see other people fascinated by the history of the place.

Both sides of the hall had period tools used for navigating the waters from Europe to America.

We went from the planetarium building back to the Spring House.

The Spring House life-sized dioramas of both the Timucua and the Spaniards.

Looking around we also spotted a little well with a table set to the side full of plastic cups of water.  Was this the fabled fountain of youth?

Yep!  The sign said so.  (So that’s what the lady was doing when we walked by!)

My wife and I made a toast to our good health and then drank the fluid of life.  I have to say it wasn’t bad.  Southwest Florida well water has a horrible sulfur smell and taste to it, but this water was cool and refreshing.  Impressive.

What I found more impressive is that the Timucua are still here.  Their existence was almost erased by the diseases the Europeans brought with them, but the Timucua proved to be a sturdy lot.  They survived small pox and the measles and, along the way, they converted to Christianity.  In fact, they are the first Native Americans to convert.  Some of the Timucua show their native works on the grounds for us to see.

After our drink, my wife and I decided to stroll the grounds again.  There’s lots to discover.  Archeologists have dug these grounds many times and are still finding new artifacts.  They have an area roped off as we talk for their next dig.

At one  point in time, the archeologists found the remains of the original Timucua who converted to Christianity.  They dug up the remains and put them on display.  Luckily better heads prevailed and a proper building was created where the people were reburied with ceremonies in both Christian and Timucua to honor them.  You can go inside the building and see the burial ground, but I took no pictures there.  They’ve been through enough.  Let them rest.

Back outside, we saw foundation blocks of early buildings and settlements along with a new pier inviting people out into the water.

When you go out there, the first thing that comes to mind is, “I hope Ponce landed on the other side.”

The ground at low tide is a muddy mess. I can just imagine the small, heavy row boats getting stuck in the quagmire.  I also wonder how many of them lost their boots to the mud if they went this way.  The other side surely had to be easier.

On our way back, we strolled over to the Timucua display.  It had started to drizzle again, but we didn’t mind.  We looked at the craftsmanship of the display and studied the thatching of the roof of the pole building to see exactly how it was done.

Then the sky opened up.

We dove under the small building to escape the downpour. It was a typical heavy Florida rain, but not a single drop penetrated that roof.  The ground below us was bone dry.

After a bit the rain let up and we concluded our tour by checking out the cannons and anchors set up for display along the grounds.  With them very large cooking pots from old sailing vessels, various native plants, and a display of the building materials used during the construction of the park and city around it.

It was amazing.

I was glad we visited.  The history of the place is so much better than the legend of the fabled water.

Besides, ol Ponce ruined the Fountain of Youth anyway.  See by getting himself killed he changed the powers of the water.  Instead of keeping you physically young, the fountain now only keeps you young at heart.

That’s good enough for me.

Cheers!

http://www.fountainofyouthflorida.com