N 43 degrees 59.583 minutes W 102 degrees 14.506 minutes
Mr. and Mrs. Plum started getting homesick, so decided to push on through South Dakota to head home instead of dipping down into Yellowstone Park, reasoning the next time they need an adventure they can go to the unique national park.
Starting into the state they noted storks, antelope, tumbling tumble weeds, suicidal pheasants, tourist traps and billboards. Nothing had changed much since they passed through a month ago! By the time their attention, to everything flying past their eyes, started to wan it was time to fill the gas tank and the Plums stomachs. They stopped in a town whose fame stemmed from giving away free ice water! From scratching a living in 1931 to about 20,000 visitors in a summer just isn’t bad.
When America and the Colonel were back on the road it was only a hop left to finish off South Dakota, a skip through Wyoming and then they found themselves in Big Sky Country, with a heron flying overhead to welcome them back to familiar territory All was going grand until about 4 p.m. the Plums stopped for pie and decaf coffee. A nice trucker out of Belgrade told the Plums about a weather report he heard predicting snow at the top of the next mountain and the storm continuing in the direction they were headed. At about 4:30 p.m. and at an elevation of about 4,350 feet the temperature dropped to 32 degrees and it started to snow, visibility dropped due to a steady wind of 30 miles per hour. Mr. Plum fought the wind, snow and cold and got them safely to the motel. They would not need to count antelope to fall asleep tonight, the Plums were very tired.
You know I'm a dreamer But my heart's of gold I had to run away high So I wouldn't come home low
Just when things went right Doesn't mean they were always wrong Just take this song and you'll never feel Left all alone I'm on my way I'm on my way Home sweet home Tonight, tonight I'm on my way I'm on my way Home sweet home........
N 39 degrees 42.772 minutes W 91 degrees 21.48 minutes
When the Plums woke up in the morning and turned on the news they found that the area was celebrating Samuel Langhorne Clemens anniversaries. The year 2010 marks the 175th anniversary of his birth, the 125th anniversary of his pinnacle work and the 100th anniversary of his death. His stories were centered around the town and the mighty river. The Plums declined to pay anyone to allow them to white wash a fence and didn’t own a frog to enter a frog jumping contest. They did not float the minivan on a raft down the river, mainly because America had it far heavy (read too full of antique furniture) to be of the correct weight limits. Last but not least the Plums did not drive across the famous Mark Twain Memorial Bridge because it had been dismantled after the flood damage in the year 2000.
The Colonel and America also found out from the morning’s news broadcast that they stayed the night in a town 10 miles from where President Obama gave a speech a few hours before. As they left town the next morning, in a space of 50 miles, until 30 miles east of Turkey Creek the Plums counted at least 20 of all types of law enforcement vehicles heading east and 1 naval helicopter heading west. About 100 miles out of St. Joseph, this time they found a gathering of law enforcement vehicles at an interchange with an over abundance of police personnel. America pulled off the side of the road guessing that this was another Presidential stop (she was right). The Colonel, being a Republican, didn’t want to wait and told America that a Democrat probably wouldn’t do a photo shoot with Marley anyhow. Mrs. Plum did not find out if that statement was correct but her husband had been correct in not waiting, it was 3 hours until the President would show.
Rolling hills, corn fields and buzzards took the Plums into Iowa. At that moment the land flattened out, the humidity dropped and trees started to disappear. America was thinking, at least in this type of landscape you could see those menacing tractors coming. They had signs warning you they were crossing the road (and you needed to stay out of their way). The mean machines hugged the side of the road waiting to swipe you as you went by. They drove over bridges waiting to pounce down on you and a big red one as tricky as can be caught a ride on a tractor trailer trying to get ahead and ambush the Colonel and America. Mr. Plum’s devious driving skill soon out smarted them however and they found themselves following the Bluffs into Council Bluffs.
In the CD player the Plums were listening to Terry Pratchett’s audio book “Johnny and the Bomb”. It was hilarious, but suddenly they both got quiet at the same time. It must be a coincidence that they were passing what used to be named Strategic Air Command (SAC), thermo nuclear war headquarters!
N 40 degrees 7.800 minutes W 87 degrees 44.655 minutes That night, about 4:30 they had gone to an antique mall and until it closed at 6 p.m. they did not leave for supper. Back the next morning when it opened America left 4 antique press back chairs richer and the Colonel’s wallet left a bit poorer. When the chairs were finally coerced, into the only space left, in the minivan, the Plums started on the road again at about 10:45 a.m.
The rolling hills of western Ohio were left behind. The flatter, farmed country of America’s bread basket opened up in front of their eyes. That must be healthy country because the big trucks, the ones with 18 wheels were breeding out there! As many trucks as 8 in a grouping were continually out numbering the personal vehicles on the road. The Plums continually hope this means a bettering economy.
At about 2:30 p.m. America and the Colonel noticed an interesting sight, a salt kettle. Salt was a very rare commodity on the frontier, it was the “gold” that lured settlers west in the 1800’s. It was the first non-farming industry in the county. The salt springs near there were first used by the Kickapoo and Pankeshaw tribes. The first well was drilled in 1819 but full scale production did not begin in 1824. About 100 gallons of brine were needed to produce on bushel of salt which sold for $1.50. While Mrs. Plum remembers that her diet of salt is limited, the Colonel noted that the clock needed set back an hour. With an extra hour added to their day, they left the fascinating history of the area behind and plotted the next leg of their journey. Passing by land this time dotted with baby oil rigs, looking like those plastic birds that dip their noses into a glass of water to entertain Great Grandma. In the same fields the corn was barely starting to show color, but definitely no ears of corn! A sign by the road said they were at 90 longitude degree. That spot marks where a person or thing is ¼ the way around the earth (from Greenwich, England).
The Colonel and America spent the night, not in the Alps, nor with elephants, not in Persia either, but conquered sleep all the same.
N39 degrees 41.971 minutes W 81 degrees 43.859 minutes
As the Plums left the Liberty Bell, long psychedelic lit tunnels, hills covered in leafing trees and valleys dotted with farms, 6 turkey vultures circled the area. America wondered what significance could it have??!!
Mrs. Plum’s younger sister supplied Mr. Plum with information on 2 more graveyards where they might find the grave-sites of America and her sister’s ancestors. The Colonel and America spent the WHOLE day doing this, in the pouring rain! To find the first cemetery they left the Interstate, went onto a US highway, turned onto a smaller, narrow, 2 lane road, then onto a township road that was 1 lane wide, a dirt track slick with mud and deep mud puddles for a distance of 39 miles total.
Before they arrived at the correct cemetery, partially down the dirt lane they found another small old grave site,one headstone said “Cain”, no way thought America that it could be that old! Outside the entrance to the cemetery sat a barn with a unique design. Normally where the “hex” sign would be they found a unique “quilt” type design. Inside the graveyard America’s unerring 6th sense led them to one positive family tombstone and a probable one. By this time the Plums were drenched and America wanted coffee and or lunch to find time to dry a bit. They found a great 50’s diner and were shortly dry enough to go to the next site, 7 miles further. In this cemetery they had no luck finding a grave but did get the information for who took care of that site. Also the ever observant Colonel Plum noted the name of the local newspaper which had been in business since 1844. **About ½ way through the trail to find the graveyard the Plums found a BIG (460,000 lb.) coal scoop and are still puzzled about it!
N 40 degrees 51.736 minutes W 74 degrees 34.184 minutes
Upon entering the next region the Plums found it was very famous during the Revolutionary War period; they noticed many museums not only about the war but involving such things as the Art & Crafts movement, works by America’s leading 19 century political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, who lived across the avenue from Macculloch Hall. Nast is known for popularizing the Republican Elephant, Democratic Donkey, and America’s image of Santa Claus, along with historical, national and county parks. Oh my, the Colonel and America found a place for lunch and “bold” Mrs. Plum asked for Marley to have his picture taken with Santa who was dining at the Randolph Diner with his wife! Santa, at age 83, surprised her with suggesting she sit on Santa’s lap and all 3 would have their picture taken by the Maitre d’, so she did while the Colonel laughed and laughed. About 4p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Plum arrived at Mr. Plum’s cousin’s house on Sky Drive. There they had dinner with drinks and talked late into the night. The next morning brought coffee, photo albums and a great breakfast! After eating the cameras came out and snapshots were had of and by all. A very nice visit but now the Plums are heading home. The Colonel in an excellent mood after having spent time with his cousin a Russell and his wife Chris, jested that he had to go by George Washington’s headquarters to make sure he wasn’t still camped there.
NW 42 degrees 51.88 minutes W 71 degrees 37.467 minutes
The next day stopping at an antique store America found 3 kitchen tables, she settled on one to take home and refinish. Not being able to resist the price she asked the Colonel to also buy a mission style desk with cubby holes for books. This state’s motto is very familiar to most, live free or die. Mr. and Mrs. Plum were searching for one of the last 2 cemeteries he needed to find, before heading home, they stumbled upon the oldest graveyard in the region (where it was forbidden to do grave rubbings) in the side yard of the town’s record center. Most of the headstones seemed to be made of slate. America gathered more angels for her series. A gentleman coming out of the building was able to direct the Plums to the cemetery they needed. Mr. Plum was looking for a cousin’s grave. The family name is Poirot, no not Hercule of Agatha Christie fame, but Frank. That evening the GPS took its revenge for the Colonel and America taking so many side trips. When they asked directions to the motel “she” took them to a motel that no longer existed. A bit Later America searched for a different one, it said 45 minutes away, 20 minutes later it was still 45 minutes away. This seemed similar to Starbuck’s free wi-fi costing $5.00 a stop. Something is just not quite right. Through dark, forested mountains, down 9% graded hills, they roamed. Close to the Vermont border they find a place to lay their heads for the night. This motel had nothing like the good company and the Inn on the Harbor’s atmosphere where they spent the night before, but luxurious (they were almost full so they offered Mr. Plum a luxury suite at a discounted price) and restful all the same.
N41 degrees 56.118 minutes W 74 degrees 1.113 minutes
The following morning Mr. Plum had talked to his cousin on his Mother’s side, who he has not met yet, and they were invited to have dinner with them and stay the night, the Plums accepted.
When they left the Niagara Falls area, the newly met cousin informed the Colonel of a military museum he should visit for potential information on their side of the family. The Colonel and America had a quick jaunt through Vermont to wind back into New York to locate this military history on Mr. Plum’s paternal side, his great grandfather in WWI and three brothers in the New York National Guard in the 1880’s. They traveled along the Molly Stark Byway complete with a covered Bridge built around 1729 and a “sugar house” where they refine sap before it becomes maple sugar. This part of Vermont still looks like it did in the 1700’s. Mrs. Plum spied a roadside shop handling cheese and maple syrup, Mr. Plum obligingly stopped. A hand woven basket, cheese, maple syrup and an antique blue calico patterned pitcher went home with them. As they entered “Hogback Mountain Territory”, America couldn’t help gushing about the beauty of Vermont. They stopped for lunch in a café on Main Street in Bennington. There were great people with a sense of humor and fantastic food, America received an exceptionally well done poster advertising a local band that is more a work of art and plans on framing it for their wall at home.
Having went out of their way to visit the town of Petersburg for America’s younger sister’s family research project the Plums laughed heartily when their route brought them back through to research the Colonel’s military history of his father’s side of the family.
Arriving at the military museum the Plums found that proper procedure was to make an appointment and then ask for information. However a very kind receptionist asked a busy archivist if he could spare a bit of time for Mr. Plum’s questions. He agreed if they could wait about 15 minutes, this gave America and her husband time to stroll through the displays. At 2:30p.m. They kept their appointment and were quickly disappointed, the gentleman did not have any information that the Colonel did not already have, but he gave some great advice on where to look further. The Plums head off this time to New Jersey, through another yet historic area, with dates around the 1670's that was burnt almost completely in 1777.
Dedicated to our Maternal direct descent, our Great Great Grandmother Louisa Sabin, born 14 February 1844, in Petersburgh, Rensselear County, New York. Louisa Sabin daughter of William Washington Sabin 1812 NY, and Louise Simmons 1815 NY. Louisa Sabin, and her parents, and at least one maternal grandmother Sally Simmons, removed to New Boston, Mercer Co.,Illinois, after 1845 but before 1850, where Louisa's mother would die. Louisa's father would remarry Nancy Jane (Wolf) Perry also a widower. Nancy Jane (Wolf) Perry, sister of Lucinda Wolf who married Gabriel Ernest Shaw, parents of Joseph Newton Shaw, who married Louisa Sabin in Eldora, Hardin County Iowa, where Louisa (Sabin) Shaw, died shortly after our Great Grandmother Laura Alice Shaw was born 1870 - Grandma Mac, styled because she married Ambrose Emerson McFarland. In the McFarland family bible are some old photos (SEE ABOVE) with no writing on them, but embossed with the photographer's stamp "New Boston" It's possible that these photos are of the Sabins and Simmons family, who resided in New Boston. The Shaws resided in Millersburg, Mercer County, Illinois. Millersburg is where Gabriel E, Joseph Newton, and his brother John Shaw, all enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. My Great Great Grandfather Joseph Newton Shaw was a Corporal, he and his father and brother's service records, all show special commendations, for their service during the Civil War. My Great Great Grandmother Louisa (Sabin) Shaw's brother Charles O Sabin, also served in the Civil War, from Mercer Co.,Illinois, he is buried in "New Boston Cemetery" Joseph Newton Shaw married 2nd, 18 November 1873 Worth Co., Missouri to Elizabeth Minerva Dowis. These families moved all over the Midwest, and Northwest, it seemed they could never stay in one place for long. Joseph Newton Shaw born 184o Washington, Marion Co.,Indiana, died in Cantonment, Oklahoma. Our Great Grandmother would tell stories about traveling in Covered Wagons, when she was just a little girl. They lived like Gypsies.
Governor Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey, explains the need for a payfreezefor New Jersey's teachers union. New Jersey is at 10% unemployment, and everyone is sacrificing. The teachers union needs to step up to the plate, and help by accepting a 1 year payfreeze. The teachers union have a 130 Million dollars in dues a year, they behave like "bullies" and people - politicians were afraid to take them on.
The last Governor was not honest about what was going on. In the state's budget he told me we had a 500 Million dollar surplus in this fiscal year. I got there, my treasury told me, we have a 2.2 Billion dollar gap in the year we are in now. In the first two weeks, we had tofreeze2.2 Billion dollars in spending just to bring this year into balance. That's what he left me with, that was the biggest surprise. Imus In The Morning Fox Business News HERE.
Traveling through the “Constitution” state, while the Colonel drove, America was lucky enough to see an open drawbridge, a lighthouse, and colorful seaports of various sizes. For every town name they passed, like Brook or Lyme, there seemed to be an Eastbrook, Centralbrook, Westbrook etc.
“Oh”, America exclaimed as she noted the hawks are back. Not much else through this corridor as far as wildlife goes but it is somehow comforting to Mrs. Plum that the large, ever soaring birds are keeping them company again. Crossing another state line pine trees also reappear. At the 5, 400 mile mark in their journey, the Plums stay in a town that apparently buries shrews! At dinner America notices that although Mr. Plum looks like a Long Islander, she looks like she could be from here. Very Irish facial characteristics in this state! In the morning finishing with that state (that America still finds hard to spell) the Plums paid the next toll and into New Hampshire they went. More turnpikes thought Mrs. Plum, with a deep sigh, the only scenery along here is trees and roads. As they passed truck after truck, Mr. Plum tried to convince her there were mountains in this state over 4,000 feet high, driving along the coast America looked skeptical.
Driving in the rain, down east into Maine America shouted “whoo hoo!” She had never visited this remote state, although when the Colonel was young he hunted around Newry. Mr. Plum asked his wife if she noticed the sign that said “by state law the head lights had to be on if the windshield wipers were running”, and America said “thank heavens your brother had fixed the headlight that was burned out!” The rain that increased as they went further at least washed a bunch of the bugs off that had been accumulating on the car as the weather warmed. Mr. Plum checked the mileage and remarked “they had expected no more than 6,000 miles on this trip and they were almost at that now, not reaching the eastern most destination of their trip”. The Colonel thinking perhaps America’s adventure down east was perhaps too far down east remarked” that all the traffic was heading inland. Perhaps they were worried about tsunamis”. She said rather rudely” yeah, from the volcano erupting in Iceland”! Mr. Plum kept heading down east. After driving all day The Plums finally got to their Inn, upon seeing their room The Colonel announced they would come out next year and spend at least 3 days! America smiled; she had chosen a great spot!
Mrs. Plum had asked Black Dinah Choclatiers to leave 2 packages of “frog on logs” for her on this island they were visiting because Eye-la-ho, where the company was located, was not open to tourists yet. His response was:
Hey, the owner of Lily's is in Italy but I can send some over on the morning boat and you could pick them up in the shed at the end of the dock. Will that work for you. I can send you directions if it does. Welcome. Steve” America said”perfect, how do we pay?” He answered “if you have a check you can leave it with the boat company made out to BDC, I'll have a receipt included. It is the only building down there. But depending on what time you get there will determine if anybody is around. But don't worry, I'll send a container over that you can put the check in. I bet your having a great time, I love driving around the US. I am envious. Safe travels”
N44 degrees 9.335 minutes W 68 degrees 39.952 minutes
Being in Maine turned on America’s tourist side, sipping wine on the deck with their room, they watched lobster boats bring in their catch and refill the traps. That evening they supported the local economy by buying, a hooded sweatshirt for her, a denim shirt for him and a stuffed lobster for Mr. Plum’s young Bavarian cousin Marie. Mrs. Plum was fairly sure when she had asked her to have her picture taken with Marley, Marie misunderstood that he might have been a gift! It is not a bear, but she should like it more! Oh, no the lobster is attacking Marley as he checks out a lobster trap!
Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list, And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist. And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell, When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell. And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you. Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.
KJ: Constitution State, we all are in a "Constitutional State of Mind"....courtesy of the red, white and blue ;)
When it was time to leave Long Island, not 5 minutes out and the Plums met with a 3 car accident! Thanks to Mr. Plum’s and his brother’s knowledge of New York style driving the Colonel and America had a safe trip, but no matter, America was happy to leave those drivers behind.
Driving down the highway Mrs. Plum noted the lilacs were getting ready to bloom, wistfully she remembered it will be about 6 more weeks before they flower at home. Having left Deerfield at 8 a.m. it took the Colonel and America 2 ½ hours to drive 70 miles through heavy expressway traffic. No wonder so many rich out there use chauffeurs
N 41 degrees 5.395 minutes W 73 degrees 51.721 minutes
Further on, the Plums found an old church and churchyard, it had some angels that America wanted pictures of for her collection, one set of 3 were dated 1892. There were a few weird moments of “someone” almost floating through an area of mausoleums and over grown plants. Look close and you might see the apparition. Mrs. Plum stopped in her tracks, is that a wisp of smoke, of fog, or could it be an actual ghost that beckoned her towards that grave??? Whatever her imagination conjured up, she followed it to where it lead her, to a forgotten grave! Could it be? One of her maternal grandmother's families!! Mrs. Plum shrieked with glee, she had also found her relatives. No wonder she had been so drawn to The Headless Horseman’s area all of her life. She felt it was only because of her Irish heritage's love of Halloween! The Plums have always been in tune as husband and wife, but now to find their heritage is also so closely linked sent shivers of joy covering Mrs. Plum's entire self.
N 40 degrees 56.837 minutes, W 73 degrees 4.206 minutes
Mr. Plum’s brother and his wife were gracious hosts for the 6 days the Colonel and America were on the Island. During the day the Plums scoured cemeteries and record offices, at night they had the best food and company they could have asked for. The Plums are sure they have gained weight! One afternoon they scheduled time to spend with Mr. Plum’s aunt. The Colonel had forgotten about the Sunday meals she cooked. At 3 p.m. his Aunt prepared and served them a full course chicken dinner, complete with dessert, wine and coffee. She is a great cook and had quite a bit of family knowledge that Mr. Plum needed. It was a very nice visit, the only problem being that America and her husband were expected back to his brother’s for a barbecue of London broil, shrimp, sausage with fried onions and green peppers, miscellaneous salads and chocolate cream pie! Yes, the Plums sampled all in small portions and went to bed with stomach aches. Since each party had went to so much trouble they did not want to offend anyone by telling them no.The piece de’ resistance was when the in-laws took the Plums to the North Shore, where the boats from Connecticut dock and let the tourists taste Long Island savoir fare, when America sampled a decadent desert. It was made with white chocolate mousse layered on a base of devil’s food cake, drenched in a hard chocolate shell. With something so good America couldn’t have her regular de caffeinated coffee, she had a cup of the real stuff and still slept like a baby.
Early the next morning the Plums head into Brooklyn and Queens (earlier Brooklyn was known as Kings). Driving into the back gate of St. John’s Cemetery the Colonel and America were told not to park on the grass. Mr. Plum had pulled off the road to ask the maintenance worker directions. They were shown the way to the office where the office staff was unhappy the Plums had not written a month in advance giving them prior notification. One person, showing distaste, helped the Colonel and America with information on this most prestigious of cemeteries layout. A second person was assigned to give them help on Most Holy Trinity whose records and grounds were now watched over by this much larger and sociably acceptable burial ground. Advised that Most Holy was not in the “best part of town”, America and the Colonel were told to lock their possessions in the trunk of the car and be very careful. The Plums visited The Most Holy Trinity in Brooklyn; the grave markers were made of metal and wood. America could not understand why this was required by the Catholic Church who opened this graveyard because neither material would weather the years. Hopefully that was not the point in using short lasting grave markers. The headstones pictured are metal. Photo comes after.
N 40 degrees 41.058 minutes W 73 degrees 54.036 minutes
In between cemeteries America and her husband stopped in Queens and were told they could not get a cup of “American coffee”. They “settled” for a cup of the prettiest cappuccino the Plums had ever had. The Italian coffee came in a tall, clear, footed glass cup with 4 layers of hot milky liquids served by a waitress with a bit of English and a lot of Italian accent.
In a burial grounds that borders Kings County and Queens named Cypress Hill, that is ran by a superb staff who is not only kind but knowledgeable, Mr. Plum found information to the Nth degree. The Colonel had the best of luck finding J.H.C., his great great great great grandfather born in 1810 and his wife (a Pomeroy-Cooke), plus 4 other family. This office staff was so considerate their manager/director “Sam” took the Plums to grave-site after grave-site in the farthest and oldest parts of this burial ground covering 220 acres and containing over 350,00 graves(it has the capacity for up to 2,000,000). In the furthest reaches where the Colonel found some of his relatives, no headstones were found. America was told that way back when, for a couple of dollars they would be buried with someone else. The 1 graves in this cemetery were dug in 1848. The Colonel’s family was interred in the early 1900’s. Sam explained to Mrs. Plum that before the New York cemeteries bought the land it had all been farmland, sold to be private, commercial grave-sites. The manager was very gracious as he watched the Plums traverse up and down the green hills. When Mr. Plum and his wife were finished, the director offered to give Mr. Plum information for a last set of graves he had not expected to find.
When heading to the next graveyard adventure, listening to the GPS (who at times got a bit goofy), they turned into a Jewish Cemetery and had an “interesting time”, trying to get out. Yes, it had been the wrong graveyard. What is it with these New Yorkers? Never before have so many been so friendly and bent over backwards to be so helpful. Was it America’s soft accent eliciting help or have New Yorkers just awoken to the fact that the rest of the country has always loved them and will always support them?
One last cemetery for the day and the Plums finally arrived at a beautiful place. Mr. Plum went into the office and Mrs. Plum went to take pictures of her graveyard angels. The Colonel had a success, finding his paternal grandfather. In awe of the offices, when he came out he mentioned them to America. The staff was not so keen on having the inside photographed, so teasingly America ducked down under the counter and quickly snapped a shot for posterities sake!
Horrendous drivers dared to question if the Plums let Marley drive. As far as America was concerned he would have better highway manners. Marley wouldn’t have been constantly honking the horn or giving vivid arm signals. This island is posh; people wear suits at breakfast and drink their orange juice with their little pinkie out. However at Little Vincent’s Pizzeria, pizza is ate on paper plates, plastic forks and paper napkins. Speaking of paper napkins, a local artist sitting at the next table, surreptitiously immortalized the Plums in pen and ink on larger paper napkins and presented them the portraits when he was ready to leave. America being an artist herself looked for something to draw on to return the favor but had to settle on taking his picture with the camera!
N 41 degrees 4.272 minutes W 71 degrees 51.515 minutes
The next day the Plums went to this township’s Clerk and Recorders Office. The aroma around the Town Hall was so strong; Mrs. Plum could not help but sniff the air. Was that aroma stale food? not just so many after shaves it overwhelmed even the scent of cherry blossoms.
While waiting for the office to open women with the facial features of Jackie Kennedy (it happens to be America’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name) expressed the need to get pooch passes and id photos for their pets to be allowed into the pooch park. America mentioned perhaps since this was the passport office also the photos could serve a dual purpose for the pets, Pass and Passport.
Once inside the office Mr. Plum explained his need of acquiring 4 death certificates. America’s husband was refused the documents he wanted. The state laws allowed releasing them to him, but this office in Farmingdale had their own ideas. One of the documents the Colonel needed was his grandmother’s death certificate. After the disappointment of being able to get the burial site location the Colonel and America decided to drive the length of the island, to one of its tips. The island itself is fish shaped On the way Mrs. Plum spied a canal that allows passage from north to south of the island, in that way saving the time and effort of going completely around the island to get to the other side.
America notices the stress of driving so far east is evaporating from her lower back, since Mr. Plum is now relaxed in his familiar surroundings. The Colonel came from a different type of rural community compared to America’s western rural towns; this area is similar to the San Juan Islands. Okay, one is west coast, one is east coast but still similar. While Mr. Plum wandered through old neighborhoods, with a different story for each block, street names like McDowell, Jamaica, Cairo and Pennsylvania passed by. The various accents in this community matched the variety of names of streets.
They passed through villages quite used to attracting tourists. Many antique stores, vineyards and a local favorite, chain, ice cream store named Carvel. America notes a building with the nameRugosa a type of rose, and the Colonel notes (in the same yard) a Sherman tank. They are incompatible but together just the same. Quaint, quaint, quaint names like toilsome lane, Baiting Hollow Road all with trees lined vistas and continually winding turns. A main street view shows you a pond and Dutch windmills behind a screen of varied shrubs. Old family names shout out to you, like Amaden Gay. The name rings of the Colonial heritage of the Island.
Exactly upon entering into an area named the Pine Barrens, America was tickled that MORE pine trees appeared. If something so short could be called pine trees. These were not the 80 foot trees in western forests, but 20 foot almost scrub pine trees. Ah, Mrs. Plum thought, perhaps it is not the pine trees which are barren but they cause the land to be barren of anything else but pines.
On an island surrounded by salt water they lose sight of any hawks. Hawks had been with them continually on this trip. Perhaps a reduction in food source and fresh water caused this. The great predators were replaced here by seagulls and terns that are used to a saltier diet.
The pines trees kept on shrinking in size and Mr. Plum stated that meant they were closer to the ocean, as salt air inhibits plant growth. Here some birds remain familiar; America spots a heron fishing in a bog about a mile from the ocean’s shores. Down the road a sign stated turkey hunting or trapping was not allowed, the turkey being a bird from home too.
Not only do the place names reflect the shape of this land but the history of the original people, the Montaukett Indians. This far out on the island trees here have taken on a sinister wind blow appearance, maybe a better description would be wind ravaged. Strange creatures abound, Mrs. Plum used to the Pacific Ocean has never been around “blue” crabs, “blue” fish or oysters catching birds. Finally arriving at the point the Plums viewed fishing boats at work in the Bay. Mr. Plum thought they were probably catching blue fish. The season was still early for crabs, fluke and flounder.
So I could own my Downeaster "Alexa" And I go where the ocean is deep There are giants out there in the canyons And a good captain can't fall asleep
I've got bills to pay and children who need clothes I know there's fish out there but where God only knows They say these waters aren't what they used to be But I've got people back on land who count on me
So if you see my Downeaster "Alexa" And if you work with the rod and the reel Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis And I still have my hands on the wheel.......