I play a very crappy game of golf with two nice strangers this morning.
I came home, ate lunch with Gigi. She went shopping and I took a nap.
Meanwhile, relatives start trickling in town. Yesterday it was my sister and her husband. Then today, my nephew and his wife came into town. Later this afternoon came Gigi’s cousin and her husband, along with her aunt and uncle. Her other cousin and wife and kids will be here tomorrow and with my friends from Charlotte and their kids. Plus there was Peach Pod and Monkey boy and the soon to be ex, plus Gigi’s father.
We went out for supper and came back to sit outside and have coffee and cake.
Eventually the crowd moved inside my RV and that’s when I went deaf. There were like 6 conversations going on at once at the top of their lungs and I could understand a single word said.
Uncle Wendell was screaming at me, while Gigi and Diane screamed right beside me. Mark was screaming and his Dad and someone else was screaming in the bedroom.
Still it was all fun. People just don’t sit outside anymore, but we do when we are camping. My sister commented that if we were all in a hotel, then we would all be sitting in out individual room right now missing all this fun.
I just cleaned up the mess and made coffee for the morning.
Ah, I love vacation and summer. See you tomorrow. Or as Ali says, I bid you adieu.
What better place to talk to a bunch of strangers than a big, crowded campground.
This open approach does backfire on me from time to time.
Just yesterday I saw a father instructing his prepubescent daughter on how to dump the sewer in an RV. First of all, girls don’t do this, only men do this. Second, she looked very bored at his instruction as he was holding up this giant sewer hose.
I went outside and said, “Teaching your daughter the finer points of the sewer arts?”
To which I expected a smile or laugh. This was a completely appropriate campground comments since we all deal with getting rid of poop.
In turn, he looked at me like I just asked him to sell his daughter to me, and she looked at me like I was the biggest pervert she had ever seen. It was good that they were leaving.
Then just a moment ago I was headed to buy a few bags of ice to keep my beer cold. I must drink that beer soon so I won’t have to keep chilling it. Anyway I was thinking about what a rip off ice is.
So I see this guy buying two bags and I say, “I’ve got to warn you pal. I bought three bags yesterday and they all turned to water. It’s a rip off.”
He looked at me like was the dumbest shit he had ever laid eyes on.
Lighten up people.
Last night my sister and her husband, Peach Pod and Monkey boy and the soon to be ex came over for supper.
Peach Pod suggested the ever marvelous Pop-Eyes Fried chicken. It was great eating outside with all the family.
I just realized that Pop-eye is quite the gross name. It refers to the fact that he had an eye almost popping out. Where have I been? Reminds me of the question posed on Terri’s blog last week.
Anyway we all sat around and yacked it up to around 10:30 PM.
Monkey boy and I exchanged gifts. I gave him the Dangerous Book for Boys, and he have me equally valuable items like a fly in an ice cube, fart chewing gum, and fake powdered beer. I’m not sure about the gum; I don’t need help with that.
This morning I will play golf. I haven’t played golf in two weeks, which is a summertime record for me.
Think of the Apollo moon missions of the 1970’s.
We are all enclosed in the cab with Cedie, Haley, Reggie and Bosoce in the front. Gigi, Duke, and the full figured Peaches are in the back seat.
Turn on the AC and the Satellite radio to the 60’s station and go.
Reggie and Boscoe (notice him cleaning himself on the headrest) heading down the road. Boscoe has logged thousands of miles from this vantage point.
Cedie in the forground and Gigi in the background doing "Gigi stuff".
This is my view going down the road. The tandem bike is loaded up front. I look between the seats.
I have finished the long punch list except for loading the satellite TV equipment. Now I am going to vacuum so the house sitter will think we are somewhat clean.
I am very freaky about the tires on this monster RV. As you recall from last year (insert dreamy transition harp music) I was stuck on the interstate for 4 hours with a smoking blowout. Isn’t it strange that a smoking blowout is bad, but a smokin’ girlfriend is good?
So I need to pack snacks in the truck, load some adult beverages, pack the dogs leashes and water, and we should be ready to shove off.
Don’t worry. This campground has wireless broadband so I’ll continue to read your blogs and you can keep up with us.
Back to the vacuum.
I get to see Peaches and Purls and Monkey Boy, my sister and her hubby, my nephew and his new bride, Satan, uncle Wendell and Barbara, Diane and Bill, Wade and Suzie and their yuggings, and who know who else.
All this fun while camping in 90 plus degree heat and humidity to beat the band; we love it. Usually the week if the 4th is staggering hot on St Simons Island.
Still we ride bikes, walk, play golf and just sit outside and wait for the mosquito truck to come by and spray. Did I mention mosquitoes? The place is crawling with mosquitoes so a shower of Off! is necessary several times a day.
Plus you sweat like a day laborer trying to write a check. (I cleaned that up so much that it doesn’t come across very well).
Still with all the heat, sweat, bugs, sunburn and exhaustion we some how call this great fun and do it every July.
Gigi and I leave Thursday afternoon and will overnight about halfway so we can arrive early and refreshed Friday. I tried this last year and broke down for four hours on I-95 with a flat tire. Hopefully I will have better luck this year.
I knew I was in a good mood while I was still in the twilight zone of waking up. I got up, read the news, read some blogs, read some comments, made some comments, and wrote Terri in St Croix a few chatty emails.
All this joy while having an incredible cup of coffee and letting border collies go in and out to do their business.
What does this day hold for me? Well I’m going to work. I really like my work very much which is a blessing. Darn, I’m so happy I’m getting mushy here.
Oh well, I’ll expect bad things today since I am so happy.
This afternoon I took Gigi to Salisbury, NC to get her knee x-rayed. Salisbury is where her doctors are.
We stopped in Concord at the local Food Lion grocery store for some Cokes. I meandered over to the wine section and saw two grocery carts full of 50% discounted wine.
Usually those wines are cheap crap and taste like ass at best. These however were superb wines at ½ price. These poor little rednecks had no idea what they were throwing away. I started loading my cart.
I got $15 to $28 bottles at ½ price. Not only was that, all the vintages were at least 5 years old.
At check out I asked why? She said that wine was old.
Isn’t that the point with bold reds?
I’m so excited about my deal.
Likewise, when said previous monster is chasing me, I am unable to scream.
Less often, and even more frustrating is when I cannot open my eyes in a dream. With great effort, I can muster tiny slits in order to get my bearings.
Last night for the first time I was unable to talk. Oh I could make noise, but I could not form the words. This was quite frightening.
I am used to being blind and not able to run. I hope this inability to talk stays away.
Haley heard some commotion and came to the back door, blinking her sleepy eyes to focus, when she realized it was me.
Haley always has had a weak bladder when it comes to excitement. Last night she screamed when she saw me, sat on my right shoe, peed and wiggled with happiness.
I must be a dog lover because my first thought was, “Ain’t that cute?”
Pee cleans up. A wet shoe was evidence of a warm homecoming.
When I booked this flight I had a ton of American Miles so I upgraded the seats to first class. First class is way worth the miles it takes to upgrade. It is not however worth what it takes in real money.
I feel so snobby going first class. You get to board the aircraft first ahead of old ladies in wheelchairs and walkers. You sit down in a big comfy chair and the crew treats you nice. They help you stow you carry on bags.
Then you get to sit and watch the “walk of shame” as the rest of the passengers go by you gazing around our cabin and then slowly amble to the back of the plane in the cheap seats.
Then the flight attendant brings you a ceramic dish of warm mixed nuts while she grabs me a glass of cabernet in a real glass, free of course.
Our bathroom is private. The front bathroom is for the first class passengers only.
Oh my heavens! I just saw a fly. It had to have come from those coach passengers.
You have so much room to stretch out in first class. This is not a huge deal for me since I am all of 5’7” standing erect as possible. But the room is nice anyhow.
We still get a real meal in first class with cloth napkins and then a steamy hot towel to clean you afterwards. They must think we eat like King Edward or something to nee a wet towel.
Oh and I’ll be the first to get off the plane ahead of all the old ladies too.
I sure do enjoy this treat.
But all goods things must end. I am scheduled to fly to St Croix the second week in September. This time it will be back to coach.
Her knee hurting and being swollen is not the good part, but it set a chain of positive events that leads me back to Charlotte tonight.
So no longer will I be captive in this glass enclosed artificial city until Wednesday. She needs me and I need her, so I’m heading home this afternoon. I can’t wait to get back home.
I landed on this moon base two days ago and have no idea what the real weather is outside. I just sit out on my balcony and feel the cool, filtered, fall air and hear the rush of the cement river.
This hotel is one gigantic pod, with connectors running between the buildings.
Does the weather suck in your town? Build a moon base!
I guess I would like this concept better in the winter.
I swear I could cut glass with my nipples. I’m going to have to bind myself if I can’t find some heat.
So I headed back to the room to draw a quick, hot bath. I didn’t want to get my hair wet; I just wanted to warm up.
I got the water nice and hot and thought I was closing the drain when I got sprayed right on my damn head with blazing hot water. Heck, I still had my clothes on!
So now I’m mad as a wet chicken and still freezing. Where in the heck is the thermostat?
First of all, my pants felt snug all day. This is not good. Every time I walked by a mirror today I thought, “You disgust me fat-ass”.
So I got home and quickly changed into some comfortable shorts. I looked at the waist band and saw I had been wearing size 32 pants. No damn wonder! I normally wear a 34. Whew! I’m not a fat-ass after all.
Gigi was out all day going to doctors appointments. The dogs had been cooped up since morning. When I got home they all rushed out to do their “jobs”.
I know what they are all going to do. Duke and Haley go to the pasture to herd the horses. Cedie lies under the truck to guard the driveway. Peaches bugs you until you throw the Frisbbe 100 times. None of them leave the property and only need mild supervision.
I started taking dog inventory and couldn’t find Peaches. This was not like her. Apparently I had let her back inside and she was safe. I was happy to find her.
Finally, we have decided to go back to St Croix in September and I am very happy about that. I love the place and the people. I booked and paid for the Airline reservations today.
Now pray for no direct hits from hurricanes since September is peak hurricane season.
I feel so grounded in St Croix. I get to see old friends, Charlie, Kim, Margaret, Josie, Eugene, Sharon and even old town character Richard. Then I get to see the good friends, Terri and Michael. Then I get to see the news friends Peter, Mitch and Leslie. Who knows who I’ll meet this trip?
Terri just called me from St Croix as I type this to wish me a happy birthday. Her ears must have been burning.
When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more. The bartender approaches and tells the Newfie, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."
The Newfie replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One's in Come by Chance and the other's in Carnerbrook. Before I left home, we promised each other that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So I'm drinkin' one beer for each of my brothers and one for meself."
The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there. The Newfie becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He orders three mugs and drinks them in turn.
One day, he comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."
The Newfie looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eyes and he laughs. "Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explains, "It's just that me wife and I joined the Baptist Church and I had to quit drinkin'." "Hasn't affected me brothers though."
The word is throttle. The word is so powerful to me.
I always watch the Shuttle launches even though I think it is a colossal waste of money. I wait until the Shuttle has cleared the thickest part of the atmosphere and they send a message to the astronauts, “Go for throttle up”. At that point they release the maximum power to continue their journey into orbit.
Unfortunately it was that command that preceded the destruction of the Challenger back in the 80’s.
Throttle….now that’s a word.
Just think of all the people that weren’t given opportunity to experience life. I know that doesn’t make sense but it does make sense in a way.
Think of all the people who were born generations ago who have already had their one shot at life. Think of the generations after us waiting to experience the greatest gift.
I am thankful to be alive and to be living this life.
I had to prep for the horses by stockpiling hay and grain.
We have two house sitters coming in. One will take care of the dogs; the cats, the bird and horses, and the other house sitter will take care of the horses and cats only while we RV in south Georgia.
The RV is mostly packed for a trip that will begin on the 29th of June. I have gassed up the truck tank, packed clothes and all the food is in the fridge or freezer plus canned goods.
Today I am in Terrill, NC getting last minute fixes done to the RV.
Tonight I pack for Dallas, TX.
Meanwhile I attempt to watch my business remotely. I don’t mind that at all. I will have a broadband connection 24/7 for the next three weeks, even at the Jekyll Island Campground. I can work as long as I have an Internet connection and a cell signal.
I come to find out that the deal was so good because they didn’t have any sound bars.
Maybe it’s because my birthday is this week. I like the long days and the hot temperatures too. It will be humid and 96 here today. I somehow like nature’s steam bath.
I also like that everything growing outside is at it peak from now until the first week of July. In mid July you see a gradual decline until autumn.
We had a very hard freeze (21) over Easter weekend and it did a lot of damage to the tree foliage. I thought everything would recover but it didn’t. Several species of trees and shrubs have a burned look to them and oh how I long for some fresh local peaches. The entire crop was destroyed.
I am excited about taking some extended time off to be with family and friends just minutes from some good golf courses.
Oh! I got the deal of the century yesterday. I’ve wanted an overhead sound bar for my Jeep. A nice sound bar costs $250! That is ridiculous.
After all I only paid $3000 for the Jeep and I have spent $2,000 on seats, tires, interior spray over, and other upgrades. Gigi just rolls her eyes when I say the Jeep only cost me $3000.
But the old sound system in the Jeep is almost nonexistent. One speaker barely works and the radio changes stations on its own. I can get a decent little system with speakers for less than $200 uninstalled. But I really wanted an overhead sound bar with thunderous speakers.
So yesterday I was just browsing through the clearance section of my Jeep parts dealer when I saw my coveted sound bar on clearance for $99! Yes Timmy, there is a Santa Clause.
If man can really fine tune the earthly temperature to conditions considered perfect right now, or maybe to conditions 30 years ago; will be in climate nirvana?
Will we allow the earth to experience another ice age? How about another dust bowl of the 1930’s?
How has all this “control” of nature worked for our national forests? Ask a fireman.
Second, how come health care workers get to wear pajamas to work? Everyone from the secretary, the receptionist, the nurse to the doctor wear PJ’s. It wasn’t always like this.
When I was a kid everyone wore real clothes at the hospital.
I wish I could wear PJ’s to work.
I managed to get 26 bales on my pickup and actually had room for more. I think my record is 36 bales, but I had that load tied down.
I ran into the guy that I buy hay from and asked him what he was trying to trap in his barn. There was a little cage trap over in the corner with a small can of food in it for bait.
“I’m not sure; whatever is eating the cat’s food. I caught a possum yesterday and put a fresh can of salmon in the cage this morning for bait.”
In the south, we pronounce very clearly the “L” in salmon. I had forgotten about that since I personally had purged this pronunciation from my language years ago. It sounded nice to hear the “L” again.
There are lots of word sounds I have modified for the sake of the business world. It’s kind of sad. I guess I can cultivate my southern drawl one I am retired. You should hear the way I used to say words like crayon, yellow, tobacco, acorn, pecan, and the list goes on.
So I am mindlessly unloading the truck when I got to thinking about how the word gnat is spelled. Putting a “G” in front of the word has always bothered me. What were they thinking? Someone did this. It didn’t just happen naturally.
I’ll bet in the middle ages when they were coming up with the first dictionary that the guy in charge of G’s came up with this as a joke for all the ages.
“I thinkist I shall stealith an N word and makeith it my joketh for all the ages. How doth the council fancy a G in front of nat?”
The whole room bursts into laughter.
“Let the word nat forever more be spelled gnat!”
By now I was finished unloading the truck.
I have heard that expression a lot in the past few days. I’m not a father. I do like children very much, but mutually decided years ago that we would not have children. I am just fine with that decision. I have no regrets.
When someone says, “Happy father’s day”, I just reply, “Thank you” and smile. They mean well and I take it as a complement.
I used to explain that I wasn’t a father and it made me and the complementer uncomfortable. I thought I was doing the right thing refusing a statement that was misdirected.
Last year when I was in St Croix during our trip in May, I wished a local woman a happy mother’s day. She wished me a happy father’s day. I told her I was not a father.
She said, “You are a father figure to some child or somebody, so happy father’s day”.
She was right. I have been the father figure to plenty of nieces, nephews, kids at church, neighbors, and who knows else.
So, happy father’s day to all father figures out there.
Where we were was on the second floor of the lounge viewing across the parking lot, and then you on the actual course. The distance is maybe 50 yards from where we were to the green. It makes for an entertaining view.
Ashley asked, “Does anyone ever hit a ball up here?”
I sneered at her lack of knowledge and said, “It would be darn near impossible to get hit up here. They would have to have a terrible shot to hit up here.”
We watched a fellow making his approach shot and I loss sight of the ball. It didn’t drop on the green.
Suddenly we heard, “POP” as the golf ball bounced 10 feet from us on the pavement and headed over the clubhouse. It landed on the pool deck on the other side and splashed into the kiddy pool. No one was hurt.
The greens are awesome and the fairways are Zoysia grass. Most fairways around here are Bermuda grass. Zoysia stands firm and is easy to hit off of from the fairway.
Anyway, I was having the round of my life. By 15 my score card had me at 74. I have never, ever had this good of game.
Back around 11, we started to notice a thunderstorm building up. By 12 I called the office and asked them to look at the radar. The storm was close, and looked to be moving away.
Late into number 13 my office called back and told me the storm was building right over the golf course.
I continued to hit well.
We played 14 okay and could hear thunder rumbling all around. I started getting a little nervous and the wind began to blow.
Number 15 was scary. It was dark and thunder was more numerous.
We decide to tee off at 16 and I absolutely crushed the ball straight down the center. It was my best drive of the day. Suddenly, a bright flash of light, followed by an almost instant crash of thunder.
We’re done and we rode to the clubhouse as fast as possible.
I hated to quit but knew we better quit while we were alive.
I added the card up to 16 and saw I was on to a record game.
Who knows how I would have finished.
“You don’t smoke right?”
“Are you ever depressed and gloomy?”
“Not since I met my friends at Pfizer a few years ago.”
“Is you sex life good, any problems there?”
“Well, I can only speak for myself, but my sex life is great. You might want to ask Gigi though.”
“Do you sleep through the night and wake up refreshed and rested?
“Overall, how do you feel?”
“I feel good and energetic. More so that when I was a teenager.”
I got to thinking how lucky I am. I do feel better now both physically and mentally that I did when I was a teenager. I hated being a teenager. The 20’s weren’t a lot better. There were a lot of hormones working against me and my better judgment.
I do have aches and pains now associated with my age, and not as much stamina as when I was in my 20’s, but by golly I feel good, and mentally, well, I’m on vacation. I am happy.
Then the doctor asked if I travel outside the US and Canada.
“Then the CDC recommends that everyone get a hepatitis A vaccine.”
A nurse came in and made me read a plastic covered piece of paper with all the side effects of the vaccine, including mild flu like symptoms. Then she gave me the shot.
Today I feel like I have a mild flu. I get to have a booster in December. After that I guess I can lap water out of rain puddles and be okay.
What will I do with the panels you ask? One may be used to trickle charge my jeep’s battery if I ever take it to the island and leave it unattended for long periods of time. That way I can go directly from the plane to my jeep, and the engine will rollover like I drove it yesterday. (hopefully)
Second, we may want to leave the RV in storage for extended periods. Without a charge, the onboard battery will run down in two days. The battery runs some onboard systems like the propane refrigerator, carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, and a clock or two.
If we left the RV for extended periods then we would shut down the system completely. We usually like to have the fridge and freezer stocked with food and cold drinks.
It’s funny; the guy I bought the panels from drove up in a grease burning diesel Mercedes. I told him about Terri and Michael’s diesel Land Rovers that they are converting to biodiesel. He was about to drool listening to the story.
So, I’m going to read up on these panels. I may have to buy a regulator so I don’t overcharge my batteries.
Bleat is an inappropriate word. No one uses the word bleat. Strike the word from the language and just make a goat noise. Everyone can make a goat or sheep sound for heaven’s sake.
Go ahead and try it. I’ll bet your sheep sound is different and cuter that you goat sound now isn’t it?
Last march when I was sick with the flu, I made medical promises to my doctor like, “I’ll come in for a physical and I’ll get a colonoscopy if you’ll make me feel better”. I’ve kept my promises and he didn’t make me feel any better at the time.
My appointment is at 11:30 AM and it is a fasting appointment, which means of course that I did not and can not eat after midnight. So I get to go stagger in the office all weak, grouchy and headachy at lunch time and he’ll ask me how I feel generally.
“Like I could eat the south end of a skunk doc”, is what I feel like saying.
One reason I hate to go to the doctor is there are so many sick people around.
We’ll, I’ll shut up and suck up.
I only like Hampton nuts and these nuts happen to be grown in my home state of North Carolina.
Everyday when I get home from work I sit in my chair and throw a few handfuls of peanuts down my neck. I eat them far too much but I can’t help myself. They are so good.
A few weeks ago I got a couple of bags that were below par. They looked okay on the outside, but the nuts were withered and dried up on the inside.
I emailed Hampton Nuts and complained about the recent poor quality.
They must have tracked my peanut buying volume because today I get a UPS delivery with a 5 pound bag of these beauties with a letter of apology.
Oh sweet Moses! A five pound bag!
Wow! This is tempting. I own three toilets. I would still have one toilet leftover, two holes in the floor and cash!
What are some people thinking? It would never occur to me in a million years to solicit used toilets and refuse any other means of exchange except cash.
This puts the fellow at a disadvantage. Suppose I had two used toilets that I am will to sell but wanted the purchaser to finance for them 12 months. I definitely wouldn’t call him because he is a cash man.
If I had two available used toilets, I would gladly give them away. I took two to the land fill a few years ago.
Oh well, back to Craig’s list.
I have been at it for 3 hours and I am only half way done.
The problem is that the darn thing is 13 feet tall. I have to crawl on the roof to reach some spots, climb a latter for other spots, all this is being done with a brush attached to 5 foot long handle.
It would be a dream if I could find a few Moco Jumbies to help out.
So when I saw the storms in Minnesota yesterday, I thought about Terri and hope her and her family are safe.
When its 30 below in Winnipeg, I think about the main Ali, and all the other Ali derivatives, and Zig, and hope they are warm.
Tornados in Oklahoma, thinking of you Amos.
It always seems like Michigan gets crazy crimes that make the National news Logzilla.
I had the chance to meet a fellow blogger yesterday. Tim is a local fellow. I have been reading about his life for a few months when I tossed out an invitation for golf. Being a manly man, he accepted.
We met for lunch and the hottest round of golf this year. Honestly by 16 we were both drained from the heat.
It’s not like you are meeting a stranger. You know a lot about this person.
At the after golf cocktail hour, Tim came up with the best idea that I have heard in years. Come up with a show like American Idol, but the winner ends up being President of the United States.
I think a hybrid between Survivor and American Idol would be the perfect way to pick a President.
America has voted……John McCain….bring me your torch. This makes better sense than how we do it now.
Read Tim’s blog if you can work another one in.
Something happening means I died or someone else died, or I am on the way to dying, or a major transportation route is clogged, and cannot make the appointment. Either way I’ll call. Enough said.
I’ll be there at the appointment and there is no need to follow up to make sure the appointment is still good. If I said I’ll be there, then I will be there. It’s in my calendar, stamped in stone.
Women set appointments that decay in reliability with each passing day. I rarely set an appointment further out that a week with any woman with one exception.
Most of the time I hear scenario like this. “Darling, is so-and-so all set to house sit while we are on vacation?”
I know perfectly well that the appointment was made for house sitting; I am simply invoking the procedure to get the girly stuff out of the way to firm up a girly appointment.
“I don’t know, I haven’t heard from so-and-so.”
Ah, the classic required girls follow up to confirm that indeed the appointment you made earlier still lingers think on the calendar.
“Well, are you going to call so-and-so to make sure she is still house sitting?”
I short circuit the procedure and called so-and-so myself. Otherwise this step would drag out for days. It saves a lot of time this way. You see, my ability to travel for a week hinges on the availability of the house sitter.
“So-and-so? Are you all set to house sit for us over the 4th?”
“When were those exact dates again?”
See? She too is running a decaying girl calendar. She didn’t write the dates down, she isn’t aware of any potential conflicts, heck she is house sitting for 10 days.
Finally I firm up the appointment and make an intermediate appointment for “orientation”. The sole goal of orientation is to freshen up the real appointment a few days later.
Posted on Wed, Jun. 06, 2007
$340,000 sculpture's bushes need new home
by KYTJA WEIR
The Charlotte Coliseum was demolished Sunday, leaving behind nothing but rubble and a $340,000 sculpture by famed artist Maya Lin.
The debris will be cleared to make way for an 170-acre mixed-use project called City Park, but the fate of the live artwork's nine holly bushes isn't as clear.
The developers are trying to move ahead with their project while honoring a contract crafted years ago with Lin, best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, and landscape artist Henry Arnold. But the developers haven't decided what to do, and the artists haven't said what they want, either.
Charlotte's public art has courted controversy over the years. But now the community faces a new type of question: What happens to public art once it falls into private hands?
The "Topo" artwork was commissioned in 1989 for the city's coliseum. But when city officials sold the property in March 2006 to help fund a new uptown arena, the art also left their hands. And now the building that the "site-specific" piece was designed to complement is gone, too.
"It's a grave disappointment to see this happen," said Arnold, the N.J.-based landscape artist.
Atlanta-based Pope & Land Enterprises developers said they hope to decide what to do with the artwork in the next three months. But their plans for City Park still need to clear the hurdles of rezoning and City Council approval.
At this point, Mason Zimmerman of Pope & Land said the firm hopes to incorporate the willow oaks along the edge of the piece into the new development that will have shops and up to 2,500 homes.
But the bushes orphaned by the Coliseum's demise? No botanical gardens have accepted an offer to take in the work, Zimmerman said.
And Lin hasn't responded to attempts to ask her what she wants done, according to the developer and Lin's assistant. Lin also hasn't responded to the Observer's repeated efforts to reach her.
Meanwhile Arnold, the other creator, said the developers never formally notified him.
The sales agreement states that the developer must notify and give the artist the option to remove the installation. Also, the initial art contract says the city would consult with the artists and make reasonable efforts to maintain the integrity of the art.
Furthermore, the federal Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 allows artists to "prevent any destruction of a work of recognized stature," but in this case Lin and Arnold signed the contract in 1989, so it's not clear if the act applies to them. And the city's contract stated that the city could destroy "Topo" if it notified the artists, gave them a chance to take the art back, and tried to sell or donate the piece.
Now, Arnold said he isn't sure what he thinks should happen to the artwork.
The piece was designed with the Coliseum in mind, with the intent that it would mature alongside the sports arena. But the building was deemed obsolete after 19 years, well before the trees in the sculpture formed the canopy the artists had envisioned. Without the building and its basketball games, Arnold said, the art is "left in a vacuum."
It also isn't easily moveable. "Topo" involves dirt contoured along a slope, the giant holly bushes, trees and grass. Arnold acknowledged that it would be "extremely difficult" and expensive to move.
This latest dilemma is a spin on Charlotte's usual problems surrounding public art. Typically, controversy happens when the art arrives, not when it is departing.
Eastover residents protested a yellow aluminum sculpture outside the Mint Museum in the 1970s, and Mayor Pat McCrory objected to art planned for the new Bobcats Arena in 2004. As recently as Monday, the council squabbled about art slated for a street improvement project.
And the "Topo" installation itself was born out of controversy. The City Council chose it after rejecting a 22-foot bronze sculpture by New York artist Joel Shapiro that critics labeled "Gumby" for the 1950s cartoon character.
However, Jean Greer, Arts & Science Council vice president for public art, said she wasn't aware of any other pieces of public art becoming private. "I think this would be the first," she said.
Arnold said Tuesday that he hopes to speak with Lin today and determine what they think should happen to their creation.
Until there's a plan, Pope & Land said, it will keep maintaining the site, trimming the grass and watering the bushes that make up the artwork.
What: Nine holly bushes spread along a 1,600-foot grassy stretch at the center of the Coliseum's entrance, with willow oaks lining the side. The idea of the piece, called "The Playing Field" during its design phase, was to riff off the sports played inside the Coliseum, with spherical bushes appearing to roll down the hill, and the final bush appearing to be a ball on the edge of a goal. The artists envisioned the willow trees growing up into a canopy to "protect" the playing field. The original design also called for lights under the bushes and a sprinkler system to produce mist on special occasions.
Who: Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, and Henry Arnold, a landscape architect based in Princeton, NJ.
When: The city commissioned the artwork in 1989 after another proposal was mocked by locals. It was dedicated in 1991.
How much: The piece cost $340,000. The city has estimated it costs up to $10,000 a year to maintain.
Why: The project was commissioned because a city program allocated up to 1 percent of public building construction budgets for art. When "Topo" was created, officials said they expected the art to become its own attraction to the site.
What Maya Lin Said
"Is it art or is it a park? I like that ambiguity."
-- At the 1991 dedication of "Topo"
"To make something as playful and irreverent as this after the completion of the Vietnam and Civil Rights memorials was crucial to me. After creating two memorials, I needed to prove to myself and others that I wasn't going to be stereotyped."
-- In her 2000 book, "Boundaries"
The only exception is the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. There you will find a 4 star meal at a 4 star price. Across the street and on the wharf is a decent place to eat with decent service and high prices.
Otherwise a tourist should expect inferior service almost everywhere from poorly trained teenagers and food prepared from the same. The exception is the Jekyll Island Campground where they run a fairly tight and responsive ship.
So cooking is vital, if a decent meal is expected. We usually divide supper chores up among couples. In the past few years however, laziness has won, and we resort to eating crappy food on the island or mainland and abandon supper plans and purchased food.
Even the grocery store on the island is a glorified 7-Eleven with exorbitant prices poor selections. So a 30 mile trip to the Super Wal-Mart is required to stock up essentials. (I hate Super Wal-Marts)
One shining light in all of this is the divine taste of the local shrimp. South Georgia shrimp has a very briny, and stronger flavor that their brethren elsewhere. I love the local shrimp and eat as much in as many meals as possible.
I go to the same wholesale seafood place every year in Brunswick and buy my shrimp fresh. There also you will find a variety of fresh deep water fish.
Our crowd is not much into any exotic seafood so I usually just serving up shrimp. We wait until we are by ourselves to eat seared tuna, scallops, and calamari.
By the way, just in case anyone was wondering, the State of North Carolina will not inspect a vehicle without doors.
“Sir, they want you have mirrors and doors and stuff, before you get a safety inspection”.
Oh. I’ll have to get the old Jeep back together tonight.
Don’t hate when you go on an online catalog and they tell you to click here for a larger image, and the darn thing pops up and the image is the same size?
Don’t taunt me online people.
In about three weeks we will head to South Georgia for our annual 10 day Jekyll Island vacation which includes Reggie taking his charcoal grill.
This year I have been warned by both the campground manager and Peach Pod that there is a burning ban on in South Georgia and no charcoal grills are allowed. Only gas grills are allowed.
See! Even the State of Georgia doesn’t consider gas grilling real grilling or even a fire threat.
So I did my research to find what I though was the best compact gas grill out there and I bought a Weber Q120. It should arrive today via UPS.
Yesterday, I bought the companion grill stand at Home Depot. I must tell you this stand is an engineering feat, a work of art. This thing folds flat for storage, fits any of their Q grills, and even folds out to pull you grill along on the two wheels like luggage.
Oh I was fantasizing about dragging around that grill to games, the beach, and the vineyards. I may become a gas man yet.
Moving right along; I am getting Phil Mickelson titties and I hate that. I guess man boobs are a 50s thing that I’ll have to deal with. Oh how cool is that?
That’s enough for now. I’ll get to the monkey and computer stuff at a later time.
I have gone from a young vibrant 49 years old, on June 19, 2006 at 11:59:59 PM to grandpa proportions of 51 as of June 20, 2007 at 12:00:01 AM. The age 50 in the middle just flew by.
Next Tuesday, as promised last winter when I was sick, I’ll be standing in the doctor’s office, a naked old man for a physical.
What is it with men that make us hate to go to the doctor? I always figure if it ain’t hurting then it ain’t broken and leave me alone.
All my stuff works, why go poking around?
The last time I went for a checkup the doctor called and went over my results. I thought how nice for such a busy man to take time and call me. Then he told me he wouldn’t have called if there wasn’t something out of line.
“Your PSAs are high Reggie.”
“No doc, you must be mistaken. I barely got into college with my scores. What’s this got to do with my health anyway?”
“Your PSAs measure the heath of your Prostate and yours are elevated”
Then he continued on bla, bla, bla, while my brain flipped over to panic mode imagining the end of Reggie as I know him.
It all turned out fine. But I learned two lessons.
Do not have intimate relations with your spouse moments before you leave to have a physical, and avoid the doctor.
I just got my plane tickets for Dallas, I’m tracking my grill on UPS, what’s not to like?
I feel good physically too.
So, I expect that I’ll get hit by a bus today or just kill over at lunch. Either way, I went out happy.
Well, it rained, and we got lazy.
We haven’t had any rain in a month so I couldn’t complain.
But I was craving a seafood omelet like I get at the Golden Rail Café at the St Croix marina, so I really missed not going to brunch.
Gigi watched a movie; I listened to reggae and just relaxed the day away.
In less than a month we head to our second favorite island of Jekyll Island, GA. Jekyll is a quintessential low country island, dripping with history and Spanish moss. Not to mention mile upon mile of paved bike trails, golf courses, beaches, and natural forests. Jekyll is undeveloped, but may not stay that way. We have vacationed there every year since 1992.
I have to head off to Dallas in mid June for a week on a business conference. I’ll be home two days, then off to Jekyll for 10 days.
We are literally packing the RV now so the return trip home from Dallas won’t be so stressful. We have stuff in the freezer, and can and boxed goods in the pantry. I stowed away some fans yesterday for outdoor living.
Jekyll in late June/July is breathtakingly hot and humid. Call me crazy but I like it that way.
We have fun though. Our families converge at the Jekyll Island Campground. Everyone brings their RV. We eat together, ride bikes together, eat, talk and eat. And there is a lot of talking too…did I mention that?
I get to see my nephew and sister-in-law and go to the lighthouse concerts on St Simon’s Island.
This year my nephew J, and his new bride are coming for the weekend to camp. They tent camp. My God that must be hot at night.
I am fortunate to have married into a great bunch of relatives. They are all like blood relatives to me. And they are about as “diverse” as my family.
Oh, one other thing. Because of the drought conditions there is a burning band on the island. I doubt seriously there will be enough rain by then to lift the ban. This ban interferes with my grilling. I am a charcoal man and don’t own a gas grill. Gas is okay under the ban but charcoal isn’t. I must grill.
So I bought a Weber Q120 propane grill. It looks like what I need and delivers the heat like charcoal. We have to have grilled burgers and hotdogs over the 4th. Plus it’s darn fun to grill on the beach.
I wish I could get my Jeep down there too.
One year ago today on my blog......
Just this morning Gigi was in bed rubbing the cat and I made some crude remark when Boscoe burst out in laughter over the comment.
“He’s a man you know”, said Gigi.
I guess he picks up on my delivery and knows I made a funny. He loves to laugh hysterically. We do that a lot here.
This bird has been up and down the east coast more that most migratory birds. He goes on every RV trip with us.
I stopped counting the words phrases he knows at 100. He has a “wicked” (as Ali calls it) Southern accent like Gigi.
I believe a toast is in order, “So, here’s to Boscoe (glass raised), to many more years and travels”.
Four Movies I Can Watch Over & Over
Star Wars, Episode IV
Master and Commander
Cool Hand Luke
Four Places I’ve Lived
Four Places I’ve Vacationed
St Croix, VI
Every Beach from VA/NC border to South GA except Hilton Head, SC
Four of My Favorite Dishes
Coquille St Jacques (oh sweet Moses)
Yellow layer cake with chocolate icing
Grilled salmon with lemon sauce
Fresh SC peaches with cream (I will not have them this year because of a late Easter freeze)
Four Sites I Visit Daily
Wall Street Journal
For Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
Cane Bay having drinks with friends and my wife at any of the beach front bars
Oakville, CA at the roadside Oakville grocery having lunch with friends and my wife and looking at the vineyards
Snorkeling in the clear Caribbean sea over a reef
Making a birdie on any golf course
One that comes to my mind this week is “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, with never a thought for the great plank in your own?”
This verse shows great wisdom and fantastic humor. How could anyone forget this?
Gigi worked for the airlines so we had a few vacations that were compensated by Eastern Airlines. Still, we were poor, and couldn’t afford much once we got there, even though we traveled free and stayed at the hotel for free. We ate cheaply and didn’t get to travel around much.
I used to work 6 days a week and dreaded holidays. I was a workaholic and only felt comfortable working. It was not uncommon for me to work 12 hours a day. I even used to go by the office at 6 AM on Sunday before church.
I took my first vacation as a married man in the summer of 1991. We rented a house for $500 on the coast of North Carolina for a full week. It changed my life.
From that time on I was motivated by free time and fun, no longer by money.
Since then I have had more free time and more money to play.
We bought our first camper in 1992. It was a 20 foot travel trailer and albeit small, it had all the comforts of home. We were now free to take more leisure time on the cheap and take our pets.
We started taking our annual Jekyll Island trip in 1992. We have traveled from Maine to Florida in the RV.
In 1996 we upgraded to a 32 foot travel trailer, and then our latest RV this year.
We started traveling more on business in the early 1990’s mainly to the west coast, LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Napa, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Dallas, and Santa Fe. Plus a few trips on the other side of the continent to St Louis, Chicago, New York, Boston and Toronto.
Our international travel was limited to a few trips to Mexico and Aruba.
Mexico is beautiful but slummy. I don’t like people begging from me 24/7 and have this avoidance of wanting to get deathly sick on the water and food. We haven’t been back to Mexico in many years.
Aruba was okay but it is so dry and so different culturally. I never felt safe there.
Then, in 2003 we were invited as a last resort fill-in couple to join a group of couples renting a house in St Croix, VI. I really didn’t want to go thinking it would be like Mexico or Aruba.
You know the rest of the story. I love the place. We already have our 9th and 10th trip to the island planned. I feel at home there and have the most wonderful friends there. I meet new friends every trip.