Saturday morning the three of us sat around sipping our coffee and tea, trying to decide if we wanted to make the effort and the drive east and south to visit Ichetucknee. SAM reminded us that the trip would require a tight schedule. First, we'd want to check in at a hotel in Lake City on Saturday afternoon. Next, we'd go visit the High Springs downtown area, something we missed on our last visit. Then (after having secured reservations by phone on the way), we'd enjoy dinner at the Great Outdoors Restaurant in High Springs and maybe catch some live music on the patio. Finally, after (hopefully) a good night's sleep and early breakfast at the hotel, we'd be on our way to the springs for a tube float trip, arriving at the state park no later than 8 a.m. Any later than that, and you risk not being admitted. The park allows only a limited number of tubers per day because of parking space, for safety's sake, and to limit human impact on the pristine environment as much as possible. Good luck with that one!
Whew! What an agenda we were committing ourselves to. The alternative, though, was way less appealing. Stay inside all day and be bored. You really don't want to be outdoors much right now. A certain lethargy takes hold of the body and maybe the mind when the temp and percent humidity hits the 90s.
Sheriff Gillespie is a true Southern gentleman with a heart of gold. In this particular episode that kicked me in the keester, he takes time out of his busy schedule to visit a man in prison he had arrested for bank robbery and murder some years earlier. The man is scheduled for execution by lethal injection and wants the sheriff to be in charge of what little he has left in the world. The sheriff is puzzled as to why this man has chosen him, The Man, of all people, to handle his estate. It's simple, the elderly black man says. It's because you do what's right. The man wants the sheriff to be there the next day when the execution is to take place, and at first the peace officer declines, saying he has a busy schedule and has to immediately return to Sparta. Time. It makes prisoners of us all, doesn't it?
Did we really need to go on this trip? Spend the money on fuel, food, and accommodations to free ourselves from time's shackles just to keep from being bored? It wouldn't be a noble gesture like Gillespie's, but what might come of being among other people who would submit to a tight time schedule on the weekend just to float down a cool river? It didn't take long to find out.
Man (of Galilee) knows. Not to worry. Pray for each other? Keep in touch? Sure.
We saw the couple with their kids the next morning, Sunday, bright and early, and wished them a safe journey down the river and home again.