1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alive and Walking in Florida: Finding Some Humor and Beauty Amidst the Crude Crisis

Just so you know, I'm still alive and kicking--well, at least walking--in Florida, though not always in my favorite spot near Pensacola, one of the communities affected by the Crude Crisis. Yes, if you can believe it, that is a moniker adopted by one of the local network affiliates to describe the BP oil slick. We have moved, sort of, to Tallahassee, where the plume of lawyers/lawmakers could rival that one, or more, drifting about in the Gulf of Mexico. I guess that explains my absence from blogging--the move, I mean. It takes me a while to get my bearings in a new place, and every time I move a few more of them get knocked loose.

The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it--he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand--so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman used to stand by with tears in his eyes: he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." So remonstrance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards... (from Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark, 1876)

All jokes aside--I hope he sees the joke--The Man at the Helm, aka SAM, aka The Doughy-Butt Bureaucrat, is doing the best he can to keep bearings, body, and soul--family--together, but circumstances being what they are, the grups have left home, and the yups have stayed behind to take care of things, garden-wise and otherwise. Home is only three hours away--two hours west and four hours east if you consider the time change--so I'll be back regularly to monitor the progress of this Monarda "Jacob Cline." I got several divisions for free--well, in exchange for some volunteer weeding--and I'm pleased so far with their progress in the front flower bed. They're supposed to be resistant to mildew, a common problem with bee balm, but they don't smell quite as fragrant as the varieties I've encountered before. Maybe that's why the bees haven't shown up for a sip. What the flowers lack in aroma, the foliage more than makes up for. Earl Grey would be thrilled to squeeze a few leaves for that famous bergamot essence.

The caterpillars were hard at work squeezing leaves--plundering and pinching my parsley--when I left so I added a few more plants for their Papilio pleasure. I hope they're pleased.

I can't seem to get enough daylilies to fill my flower beds at home. They seem to grow just as well in northwest Florida as they did for me in Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky. Our home in Florida, near Pensacola,  is far enough away from the coastline (thanks for asking, Clementine Moonflower!) that salt tolerance is not an issue. Daylily blooms are about as fleeting as a little boy's jokes, and I know that the Man at the Helm will see the humor in them. The last time we had a visit from Micah to our home near Pensacola, he entertained us with his newly acquired sense of humor. We celebrated his third birthday in May, and I believe he may be on his way to celebrated comedian status before very long.

Bit o' Humor #1:  We are all relaxing in the living room after supper, talking about this and that, and one impatient little boy wants to be heard. He covers his ears and with a serious expression exclaims: "Ears, people, ears!" What? Ears? His mom explains that his preschool teacher has a kinder, gentler way of saying "Shut up!" Good for her!

Bit o' Humor #2:  Son is trying to help Micah into his car seat in the family van so they can go home, but Micah has other priorities. He wants to stuff something into his back pack and secure it for the bumpy ride home (they live on an unpaved road). Son: "Micah, come on now; get in your car seat." Micah: Mumbles something inaudible, and then with a dramatic flair, "Wait a minute, babe!" Babe? From the mouth of, well, a babe? Yes. He not only parrots what mom and dad say but also their expressive endearments for each other.

Bit o' Humor #3:  After Son has installed Micah in said car seat, he finds a nickel on the floor and presents it to Micah as a prize for complying with parental guidance. Micah's response, complete with arms spread as wide as little ones can possibly be? "I want BIG money, daddy! BIG!"

I have to admit that the local (Pensacola, FL/Mobile, AL) forecasts are much more colorful and engaging than the ones in Tallahassee. All that we get there is the weather. And that "big money"? Well, let's just say that the lawyers have found a way to keep it coming their way for a very long time to come. You might say it's a "Barrister's Dream" come true, if the "pig"--Big Oil, BP, capitalism?--is allowed to live for a little while longer.

Fit the Sixth.
The Barrister's Dream

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
That the Beaver's lace-making was wrong,
Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
That his fancy had dwelt on so long.

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
On the charge of deserting its sty.

The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
That the sty was deserted when found:
And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
In a soft under-current of sound.

The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
What the pig was supposed to have done.

The Jury had each formed a different view
(Long before the indictment was read),
And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
One word that the others had said.

"You must know--" said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed
That statute is obsolete quite!
Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
On an ancient manorial right.

"In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
If you grant the plea 'never indebted.'

"The fact of Desertion I will not dispute:
But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
(So far as relates to the costs of this suit)
By the Alibi which has been proved.

"My poor client's fate now depends on your votes."
Here the speaker sat down in his place,
And directed the Judge to refer to his notes
And briefly to sum up the case.

But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
So the Snark undertook it instead,
And summed it so well that it came to far more
Than the Witnesses ever had said!

When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined,
As the word was so puzzling to spell;
But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn't mind
Undertaking that duty as well.

So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned,
It was spent with the toils of the day:
When it said the word "GUILTY!" the Jury all groaned,
And some of them fainted away.

Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite
Too nervous to utter a word:
When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night,
And the fall of a pin might be heard.

"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave,
"And then to be fined forty pound."
The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
That the phrase was not legally sound.

But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
When the jailer informed them, with tears,
Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
As the pig had been dead for some years.

The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted:
But the Snark, though a little aghast,
As the lawyer to whom the defence was intrusted,
Went bellowing on to the last.

Thus the Barrister dreamed, while the bellowing seemed
To grow every moment more clear:
Till he woke to the knell of a furious bell,
Which the Bellman rang close at his ear.


  1. Thanks for writing something cheery. Honestly, I'm getting tired of complete blog posts being about the oil parade. There's much more to Florida than a little black stuff that we're putting in our cars.

  2. Well I am glad to hear you are doing well and still walking. You are near Pensacola? That is where my daughter in law and grandson live. He is three now-about the same age as Micah I think? They sure do grow up fast and just as cute as can be and the apple of grandma's eye I can see. So super good the daylilies grow well down there. They are like unfazed by anything. I'm replacing all my irises with daylilies and hostas as the irises are not so fortunate to be unfazed by outside influences. Anyhoo, have a great evening and stay out the oil. Such a shame. I hear it is MOST hot down there from daughter in law who just left Maine for her assignment there. Talk about extremes!

  3. Well howdy! I wondered where you had disappeared to!! Hope you and SAM are OK, seriously. How long will you be gone? Is the move permanent? Sure wish I could get hubby to visit panhandle. Beautiful daylily! I love my orange color!!

  4. TFB, you're welcome. The constant coverage of the slick does kinda wear on you after a while. There's nothing funny about it, and sometimes you just need a little comic relief.

    Tina, yes, our house is near Pensacola, and we live in an apartment in Tallahassee. It works for now, but it doesn't feel like we're really settling down yet in Tally--no garden here except in pots on the deck! I've got someone reliable taking care of the one at home. How does your DIL like Pensacola, other than the heat? It's too bad she didn't see it before all this mess started washing ashore. I hope you get to come down and visit her, and maybe we can meet up again.

    Julie, we're just fine, SAM and I. I guess the move is permanent because he's got to hold onto this job. There's not much else available right now. I'll be lucky to find something besides a fast food job. I might have to go back to doing transcription if anyone is hiring for it anymore. Voice recognition technology is gradually making it obsolete. Thanks for your concern.

  5. Thanks for the smile this morning. Art Linkletter was right all those years ago. Kids do say the darndest things:)

  6. Hello, I love your pear shaped tomatoes, who would have thought? They are beautiful and the orange bugs can go. Oh and the giant nasty caterpillars are no fun either, I had those last year where I made my hubby pick them off and ruthlessly throw them in the pond out back. I'm sure the fish loved them.

    So far so good for my garden and the pests staying alway, although something I couldn't see destroyed my broccoli leaves. The invisible pests I can't see. Now there is some kind of beetle eating all my rose petals out front, so I will be searching for something to spray on them. I will try some soapy water with cayenne first.

    I always garden organically and would never eat anything if I knew it was sprayed with something bad. Good luck.

    I had to laugh a bit at the Oil Forecast, although I know it isn't funny in the least, but hopefully we can keep our spirits up a bit. Mind if i snag the forecast picture?

    I lived in Pepsi-cola for two years - haha at least that's what some called it at that time. I loved the boardwalk across the bridge in Gulf Shores ( I can't remember the exact name of it, so forgive me, Gulf Springs, oh Gulf Breeze! my memory is coming back) There was an excellent Mexican restaurant over there we ate at all the time. I certainly can't remember that name :O)

    I also lived in Tallahassee for three weeks LOL (don't ask)

    Stay cool and sending good luck for your garden (and mine)

  7. I also remember a wonderful Irish Restaurant/Pub downtown P-Cola called McGuire's. We just loved it, and would try to get down there on a Saturday night and listen to the authentic Irish Bands. The home brewed beer was so delicious!

  8. Some things never change, do they? I'm not familiar with this work by Lewis Carroll, but I remember Jonathan's Swifts diatribes against lawyers in "Gulliver's Travels." Everyone is pointing fingers at each other about the BP spill, but one thing is certain--the lawyers will come out winners:)

    Loved all of Micah's funny comments; my grandkids make me laugh without even trying to.

    Sounds like you're still in transition with this move; I hope everything gets settled down for you soon. And re your comment on my post, I'm sure your volunteer hours will transfer from one county to another. I've been trying to get most of mine completed before my daughter comes home in July, but you've got plenty of time!

  9. "Oil Forecast Sunday?" Gosh, it is so sad that it has come to that.

    The first thing I thought of when I read that Lewis Carroll passage was an article I read about the culture in business. People get so caught up in preserving the status quo that they are afraid to speak up when a safety issue arises...i.e. BP.

    So you had to move away from your garden? Will you need to sell your house? I'm sorry to be so nosy and asking all these questions. I'm glad your husband has found employment! I'm sure you will make the best of this new place and beautify it too!

    I feel like such a celebrity now, with my (fake) name in large font and bold letters! I'm blushing! :-)

  10. You're welcome, Marnie. I'm always glad to help someone smile!

    Sandy, help yourself to the forecast pic and the memories:) McGuires is certainly one of our favorite places too. Tourists and locals alike can't get enough of the great food and atmosphere--and beer! I'm not much of a beer fancier, but it's interesting to try those little samples of the different ones they make.

    Rose, grandkids must be born with an extra funny bone or something. I know my kids said some hilarious things too at that age, but I can't remember specifics. If I wrote them down, I sure can't find them anywhere. Blogging has many benefits.

    This move is a strange one to be sure. We haven't sold the house so we can't buy another one and have to rent a small apartment for now. It'll be back and forth for a while, I guess. At least I can continue to garden, as long as our renter remembers to water! I'm not too worried about the volunteer hours, but I'd like to accumulate them in both counties, hence the problem. I'm not sure yet how that's going to work.

    CM, I hope that other people find your blog and enjoy it like I do--except for the spammers, of course. They're getting tricky so I may have to use comment moderation again. I don't like to moderate them because that means a lag time in comments being added, and sometimes I can't check my blog every day.

    We took the house off the market for now because there are so many foreclosures and short sales in the area that it's kind of pointless to try to sell it. The budget is going to be pretty tight with two places to pay for, but we've had to do something similar before and did okay. Just gotta have faith! I'm trying to make the apartment in Tallahassee as home-like as possible, but home is where the family is--always has been and always will be.

  11. I'm impressed with your recitation of quotes, especially that relatively obscure one by Lewis Carrol. I regularly use the Humpty Dumpty analogy relative to efforts to restore the Everglades.

  12. A move like that can be so hard when you have to leave family behind. I can relate! Thanks for pulling for my blog! Don't worry, I really am happy with random readers and a few regulars. Too many people reading my private thoughts makes me nervous! I like staying small, then I can pretty much write what I like and not worry about offending people. I think about that now with my two regulars :-)

  13. Oh, and I was just thinking about how since I moderated my comments, I don't get visits from India anymore on my blog! Hmm, I wonder why...

  14. Welcome back to the Blogosphere..I read Lewis Carrolls stories featuring Alice as the prime character..It was a new information for me that he wrote many other stories like the one you described above..

  15. Beautiful Words and beautiful shots !!Simply amazing and fantastic !!Unseen Rajasthan

  16. I hope you will find living in Tallahassee pleasant. We are equidistant from Albany and Thomasville, GA; Dothan, AL and Tallahassee where we sometimes shop.

    Don't believe your Traffic Tracker which indicates I came from Hazelhurst. Those things track me all over the map but have never hit on my real post office address. We are close enough to Tallahassee that my Cycad survived the awful cold of the past winter.

    I look forward to your walks around Leon County and environs.

  17. Micah truly has a great sense of humor already. Love the bit of humor bits. I needed those smiles!

    Happy Gardening!

  18. Mr. S, obscure quotes are my specialty. I'm glad you liked it. I hope that all of the king's horses and men (and money) will eventually have some positive effect on the Everglades.

    CM, I still remember that post you did about traveling up the interstate highway to visit family in N. Illinois and that fabulous description of the landscape in various shades of brown. You're a great writer.

    Hi, Tomz! I'm kind of back to blogging, not as frequently as I used to, though. Glad to introduce you to something new.

    Thanks, UR! I will be over to visit soon.

    Hello, NellJean, and welcome. I know what you mean about the tracker thing. It can't quite pin me down either, at least not when I'm posting or commenting from the Pensacola area. I'm okay with that. It's nice to have a little bit of privacy in these transparent times. Thanks for fave-ing me on Blotanical, by the way. I hadn't visited my plot there in a while, so you gave me an excuse to go and tidy up a bit. I'll be over soon to check out your site.

    Rosey, I enjoyed your post about Estes Park, and I hope you consider posting some more pics from your trip. I love seeing your part of the country. I'm glad you liked the humor.

  19. thanks for the humor and all else. My Monarda is not resistant to mildew but is blooming up a storm right now!

  20. We do what we have to do, go where we have to go, huh? I can't get Monarda to grow here facing S over the ocean, but, daylilies thrive! Enjoyed your post, your quotes, your poem. You always provide such interesting food for thought! ~karen

  21. Oh, and someone hacked into my blog and actually posted on it! One of those Urgent Reply Needed requests for money. Imagine that? I was apalled. ~karen