St Augustine Lighthouse


2016011213163706e37 2016011213154803e48Who doesn’t like a lighthouse?

St Augustine has a lighthouse.  We saw it.

Ya know, I love being near the water.  I lived most of my life in Milwaukee — a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan (If you have a really, really good arm).  I’m accustomed to the benefits and drawback of “cooler near the lake.”  I grew up with lake effect snow. I’m used to spending weekends people watching along the shore.

So then why is it that the ocean does not hold the same appeal?  Why is it that I seem able to take it or leave it — and that I really don’t care much for the effects of salt spray on moving metal parts.

All the while we were on the Oregon Coast we didn’t spend much time at the beach, or on the dunes.  Last year when we were in S. Texas we made a lot of trips over to S. Padre Island but we didn’t spend our time there on the beach or fishing or boating.  And… we were 20 miles away from the ocean so as not to have issues with the salt spray.

One of the reasons we like these exploring road trips is that it gives us a chance to brainstorm;  to mull over our plans, to mull over our goals and accomplishments.  For some reason there’s nothing like the the hum of the tires on the road to lend to good conversation.

It’s a great time to talk about one’s reflections on the sea.  Or on whether we like it here in the South.  Or what we might do next winter.  Or how long it might be until our Grand-One gets married.  All good topics of conversation; that don’t have pre-defined answers; that are important to us but not requiring an immediate commitment.

I don’t know about other people but when we were scant days before our wedding I was freaking about about something quite silly.  I was worried that after we were married for a while that we would run out of things to talk about.  After 6 months or a year how could you not have talked about everything of importance?  Or by the time 10 years had passed could there possibly be anything new to talk about?  Or after 25 years had passed could there be anything that had not been hashed over and over and over until it had been smashed to smithereens?

How can it be that after 47 years we still find things to talk about.  I can’t honestly say that it’s because we’re old and we can’t remember what we’ve talked about before!  though Im’ sure there are 20-somethings who might propose that response.

Lighthouses were supposed to guide the ships.  That bright light gave them a known and safe reckoning point.  Sometimes I think conversation serves the role of lighthouse in a marriage.  Two parties constantly sending out a beam of ideas.  There’s a comfort to being within range of those ideas.  One knows where they are.  One is aware of the dangers but the dangers don’t matter because the light — the conversation — helps us stay on a steady course towards whatever we’ve set our hearts on.

Yeah — I like lighthouses.  Real ones.  And I like the conversation that accompanies a steady partner who’s always there and always willing to shine as a light in a dark place.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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25 Comments

  1. Love your post today. I actually have the Lefton St. Augustine Lighthouse limited edition lamp, and of the two Leftons that I have, it is my favorite. I always hoped one day to see it in person, so I’m happy that you and Peg got to see it. It is inscribed with 1874 as the year it was built.

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  2. Sometimes we slip into a comfortable silence. Sometimes we talk about nothing. After 32 years, just being together is all either of us needs or wants. The travel is the icing on the cake. Before we went full-time, we used to travel to Florida and the keys twice a year. We loved the water,but now the mountains hold more allure.

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    1. Dave — I hear ya about how likes can change over time.

      We have changed a number of times in general likes and dislikes but we always seem to like to keep changing things. We might like an area but don’t often return to the same specific place.

      I’m curious to see how we do in the desert. We’re hoping to spend next winter in AZ and give it a try and maybe the following year we’ll allow ourselves to return to one of our previous choices — S. Tex, FL, or desert. I’m curious to see what we decide when the time arrives.

      thanks for your contribution.

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    1. I love the cabbage soup recipe. If I were making it I would be adding some Vinegar and Sugar — to add a little sweet / sour zing, but the rest of the ingredients could have been out of my grand mother’s recipe book.

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  3. Now about the blog. 🙂 Maybe water to you is a place of reflection. It bounces your views and ideas back to you. The ocean, unlike a still lake or pond, moves too much to be reflective.

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    1. I have to say, I love to make people smile. Smiles are my favorite thing!

      Ya know, it seems that the older I get the more I appreciate my Lighthouse. I’m not a gregarious person and a lot of people don’t ‘get’ me — odd sense of humor, I tend to value things differently than a lot of folks. That God ever found me just the right person who could share all that stuff with me is a constant source of amazement.

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  4. Wonderful…lighthouses and conversation…beautifully put!

    Rick and I just got back from a weekend away from home…just the two of us..no phones, no family or honey do’s. We had a bit of driving time as well…allowing conversations that used to flow naturally to take place. The last two years have been occupied with care of aging family members near and far, so much that we forgot how much we enjoy each other’s company. I’m seeing more of this in the future. For us, it’s not the destination but the journey…although the destination was great fun too.

    I always said that Rick shined his beacon long enough for me to find him…since then, home is where he is…and if life gets to crazy…we move the island.

    Having grown up around rocky coastlines filled with living creatures, I find the flat beaches boring. I enjoy the intracoastal, much more activity in that direction. But my biggest disappointment is that there is so much water in Florida and most of it is unsafe to swim in due to alligators. I love water..to play in, swim in, look at, etc. Florida’s water is pretty to look at, I love seeing the dolphins in the river (saw a dozen on Friday) or the manatees…but I’d like it more if I knew it was safe from alligators.

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    1. It’s a GOOD THING to get away with your spouse. I know so many people who are adamant about investing $$$$ for retirement but never think about setting aside TIME to invest in their marriage and I have heard so many couples that say they have “just grown apart” — and that is such an excuse to me. but don’t get me started on marriages and commitment.

      We have always had more time than money so talking has always been a big thing for us. When I was having problems at work we would go to the nicest resto in town for 3 hour dinners — and Peg was my shrink. I figured better to talk things out with her whom I trusted than some dysfunctional guy with a diploma whom I didn’t know from adam… And we never stopped doing that

      We have not spend any time this trip in or on the water. Just not warm enough to make it enjoyable. I some times think I need one of the T’shirts I saw over the weekend: “My Favorite Outdoor Activity is Going Indoors.”

      But Peggy loves dolphins and any water creature and we want to do the harbor tour at Tarpon Springs, and maybe hit the state park over there with the Manatees and some other stuff but we’re realizing how far we are from everything here. Oh well… first time you make mistakes. 🙂

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      1. Don’t get me wrong, Rick and I talk all the time…there is nothing off the table…good, bad or ugly. That is one of the most important things in a relationship. But there is something different about talking when you have family in close proximity (even if it is just another room) and talking when it’s just the two of you. You don’t have to be concerned with privacy issues and you can just be…if you know what I mean.
        As far as things being far away, I think that’s a Florida problem. We run into it here on the east side. Though we want to visit the west, it requires a weekend to make it worthwhile and because of that ends up costing quite a bit more. It also means juggling schedules to ensure mum’s taken care of. But, as I mentioned …we’re working on that so we can do more things together…besides same o, same o. Or, what we call or comfortable rut. We want to see a bit more of the world before our bones get to creaky.:)

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      2. I so agree. When Katy was young we used to take regular ‘us’ weekends. Not that we didn’t love our daughter but there are times and topics that are better just handled between the two of you. In our case parents were near and loved to babysit so it was easy for us to get a day or a weekend alone.

        I hear what you are saying about the added cost of road-tripping when you have to add nights’ lodgings.

        I was working on a future blog last night and I think I have come to realize that part of my ‘problem’ with Florida is that most of the state seems to have dedicated itself to tourism. And for me that makes it a much less interesting place. I like places that have their own raison d’être. Florida doesn’t seem to have that.

        There are the natural beauties and the critters but there’s so much other ‘stuff’ to go through. I dunno. Maybe I’m just starting to figure out Florida….

        As long as their’s still parental obligations life remains more complicated. Our friends Jim & Diana just saw the passing of the last of their parents and suddenly they are finally free to live their own life. It’s a really weird feeling when it happens. Peg’s dad was the last of our parents to pass — in 2008 — so we have had — goodness — almost 8 years with no parents around (Yikes — how can it be that long already).
        We did a little international travel before retirement but I really dislike air travel — not afraid of it, just don’t like the feeling of being herded like cattle — and cramped, and ill-treated by the airlines — so we kind of decided that for retirement our travels would be mostly on this continent. I don’t know, after we stop RV’ing if that ever happens we might take a trip to Provence, or Italy, and maybe Ireland — but I don’t see us doing much more than that. Just not all that interested.

        Comfortable ruts are interesting things. Since retiring I have learned a new appreciation for comfortable ruts. I think that in our considerations for the future comfortable ruts might be playing a larger role. I was always up for something new through my whole life — something different — something ‘other.’ And I still don’t like tedium and repetition, I still take a different route home than I took to leave — but there is a part of me that does not see ‘familiar’ as quite so evil as once I did. Things change.

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      3. We are getting pretty close to the last of my family and while my favorite aunt ( the family joke is “favorite” as she is my only aunt) is alive, I plan to see her as often as possible, which essentially means any time I can get a three day weekend. If I fly, I can do a three day trip, but not if I drive. So, a lot of our spending money has gone towards airfare for these trips. She is one of the key reasons for my moving to the east coast.

        I am most likely an embarrassment to the typical Florida resident because I have no idea what people do when they go on vacations. We don’t do tourism stuff, not interested. Never been to any of the theme park attractions, though that my change when my grandson comes to visit.

        But, we will do special event things such as the time we went to Winter Park to see John Lennon’s art exhibit. Great exhibit and lovely downtown with lots of restaurants.

        Or the time we went to The Villages to see the final leg of The Great Race of 2014.

        http://www.greatrace.com/history

        That’s when we discovered this cool community called The Villages, a HUGE…really HUGE retirement community (out of our budget range) that uses golf carts as the main transport. It was so cool to see all the golf carts, each personalized to fit the owner. In a regular car space you would see four carts parked together instead of a car. Plus seeing the vintage cars and talking to the guys who did the rally…the old fashioned way…quite enjoyable.

        As far as comfortable ruts goes…Rick and I were talking about when we finish the project house we could “run away” there…just a five minute drive from home…all alone. No hotel fees and close enough to handle any emergencies that might arise in our absence. It doesn’t take much to make us happy. 😀

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      4. I wonder what people in Kathryn’s generation will do when they get to our stage in life as regards family members. It’s obvious that for many families the old members are too much to be bothered with — hence the rise in nursing home residents. And with work moving more workers from place to place the issue of distance becomes critical — you are able to visit your aunt because you live on this coast but not all would make that kind of personal move.

        For years we traveled to Toledo every month from Milwaukee. My parents bought a 12 family apartment building so that both their parents could live with them — apart from them — and at one time we had 5 generations living in that building in different apartments. It’s a sacrifice that is worth any expense when it’s all said and done — because the memories are priceless.

        We are exactly like you in not doing the things tourists do when traveling. That’s the reason we are having the experiences we are in looking for possible landing places. Just today we came to the realization that this could be our one year in Florida. The state is ‘created’ for tourism — it’s designed to give you pre-packaged ‘experiences.’ As long as you want the ‘experience’ that is for sale that’s great — and many do. We know people who go to Disney World yearly. That’s great for them. But we spent part of one day there 30 years ago and we’ve never wanted to return. Last time down here we did the Glades, a couple boat tours and spent time at Ding Darling NWR but the rest of the state we were very ambivalent about. And this year is pretty much the same. In a couple days’ I’ll write about our trip to Tarpon Springs which seems to have distilled our sentiments.

        You guys sound so much like us — except for the interest in cars — but you know what I mean.

        We have seen Del Webb developments in other parts of the country — know a few people living in them. I like the idea but i’m not sure I ever see us IN one. The uniformity of architecture — the 5 floor plans or however many — and few design options — they just suck the individuality out of people. We have been talking about going to see some of their open houses. They have 10-15 every day throughout the day. But I have to think it would be just out of curiosity. We drove along the edge of The Villages on Saturday on our way back from Tampa and the uniformity really does suck the life out of you. We’ll see — we might do it anyway -and we might not. I just don’t know.

        Unfortunately we let our St. Louis Botanical Garden membership lapse — I might find a local botanical garden where we can join for the sake of reciprocal rights at local gardens… We LOVE botanical gardens. That might be our greatest joy other than wild life refuges. We both liked gardening when we were homeowners but we aren’t master gardeners or anything. Oh well. we’ll see what the rest of the winter has to bring.

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      5. When the kids come down for their drive on the beach you might want to work in a few hours at Sugar Mill Gardens. It’s only about 20 minutes from the beach. I think you’d like every aspect of it.

        As far as The Villages is concerned, I think that kind of place has got to be loaded with “keeping up with the Jones'” types. Not my type of crowd.

        My favorite places are the old historic houses. But around here they are so close to the hood that it’s not a place where I’d want to live. Doing family research I came across a photo book my great-grandfather made when they lived in Daytona. They lived in Daytona!!! No one in the family knew this. The year was 1915-16 a hundred years ago. When we go to St. Augustine I need to take some of the same pics he took for some then and now images.:) Anyway, I looked for his house and though it was not there, I did find an area full of beach bungalows, several blocks worth. It was the crack part of town…really sad as I could see so much possibility.

        As far as the future and what Kathryn’s generation will do regarding aging family members…things change in life and you never know. There ws a time in my life when I would never have dreamed of wanting to care for elderly family members. It wasn’t until I left the church fiasco that family started becoming relevant to me. In fact, I intentionally went to work at a nursing home so I would better understand how to care for the needs of the elderly. I am glad I did because it has come in handy in dealing with my family and in helping others deal with their options. I can give them an honest assessment of what life is really like in a good nursing home as compared to living at home with support from family or even paid help. So many alternatives to nursing homes are available and I think in some ways, they will do better than our generation.

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      6. I agree about never knowing what the future will bring — as far as the coming generations.

        We too love older homes but I do think we are past the point where we will ever purchase another stick & brick home. We may get off the road into an apartment but we’ll likely be back in WI and I’m not going to deal with snow shoveling, et. al. as a property owner ever again.
        The thing about the kids is that they are almost as easy as we are so finding what to do when they are here will be easy — and with Mike’s foot he doesn’t WALK a lot like they used to so walking tours aren’t high on the priority list.

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