Monday, January 25, 2010

Timeless North Georgia Treasures

This weekend we continued our exploration of the North Georgia countryside, starting out in Gainesville at the Longstreet Cafe with a southern-style breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuits, cheesy grits and bacon. Bellies full, we headed up Thompson Bridge Road/Hwy 60 toward Murrayville, then crossed over to Clermont. Along the way we saw a rafter of wild turkeys (around ten of them grazing in a pasture) and a curiously out-of-place, ten-plus-foot rocking chair sitting up on a hill at the side of the road.

We looped back around and ended up on Hwy 365 headed toward Tallulah Falls. Spying Jaemor Farm off to the side, we u-turned and stocked up on freshly-fried apple pies, boiled peanuts and a generous slice of sharp hoop cheese, then browsed the Amish rockers, crockery and blueberry bushes.

Back in the truck, shivering from the chill northeast wind, we continued our jaunt north and east.

In Alto, we stopped at a strip center where, unable to resist, we poked our heads in to a clock shop, drawn by the promise of grandfather clocks and more. Stepping inside, the distinctive sound of pendulums, ticking and chiming surrounded us, enveloped us, engulfed us.

I took Randy's arm, and we stood there silent, letting the sounds, and the sight wash over us.

From the front of the shop, a tiny gray tab and white kitten ran toward us, in a hurry to greet her new visitors. I was as enchanted with her as with the clocks. Well...almost.

Not far behind was her brother, two sizes larger, an all gray tab, who instantly claimed Randy and the strings of his jacket, for his prize. The owner of the shop sat at his desk, giving us time to marvel at the clocks, clocks of all shapes and sizes. Grandfathers, mantels, pendulums, cuckoos. Old ones, newer ones, antiques, first editions...such a large array of wonderful, historical clocks.

As we made our way to the front of the shop, Doc Newman, the owner, rose and greeted us, happy to share information about each of his prizes, their history, their lore and more.

As a cardiologist in St Petersburg, Florida, Henry Newman had been a collector of clocks. He had learned tips on repairing them over the years, but after retiring and moving to the North Georgia mountains, he went back to school. And learned in a year of intensive training, what took others many years longer. He then opened this marvelous shop, Docs-Clocks. Everything in there was priced to sell, with generous discounts. Except, of course, the customer clocks, the ones in for repair.

In addition to the fabulous clocks, he also has a vintage automobile, a 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout, looking shiny and new by the doorway. It had been passed down from his father and has won first place in some classic car show or two. I wish I'd written more of the particulars down so that I can share them with you, but I'll have to let the photo speak for itself.

On the wall behind the Olds, was a framed photograph of Doc Newman holding a 57-pound King mackerel that he'd caught in Florida many years ago, again, my facts are lacking, but...what I'm trying to convey, in the middle of the North Georgia mountains, we discovered quite a jewel.

The shop, the clocks, the car, the photos...all have stories. And those stories are told, quite willingly and magically, by Doc Newman, aided and abetted by Tick and Tock, the two kittens rescued from their feral mom, who happened by the picture window as we were heading back out the door.

If you're ever up in Doc's neck of the woods, or looking to buy or repair a truly unique clock, do yourself a favor and stop in. Buy a clock. Take yours for repair. But don't be in a hurry. Spend some time looking around. Revel in the sights and sound of time, and of days gone by.

Take time, in this bastion of time, to bask in the glory of story from a master, who is quite willing to share.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ice Age 3, Coming At Ya...

This morning, after another difficult night, I lay in bed, unable to go back to sleep due to the deafening roar of the song "Alone Again, Naturally" playing over and over and over in my head.

Does it fit the moment? Not really.

But something in me believes so. Always believes so.

I realized somewhere along the line that no matter what I'm doing, or where I am, or who I'm with, I am always, ultimately, alone. So I lay there, in an uncomfortable bed, trying to replace Gilbert O' Sullivan's plaintive voice with Om Namah Shivaya, the Lord's Prayers, anything...but noooo...he kept crooning,

"...But as if to knock me down
Reality came around
And without so much, as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces
Leaving me to doubt
Talk about God and His mercy
Or if He really does exist
Why did He desert me in my hour of need
I truly am indeed Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that there are more hearts
broken in the world that can’t be mended
Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?

Alone again, naturally..."

AHA! No wonder! In googling the lyrics for the song, what pops up? The Ice Age 3 version. We watched it last night and that must've been the last thing I heard before going to bed. So, my psyche latched on to torture me with it, as it is so wont to do at times.

Gotta love it...

"i shouldn't be hangin' round,
when the world's turned upside down,
you abandoned me, i fell off the tree,

to the hard and lonely ground
you've found somebody new,

and cracked my shell in two,
how could i foresee?

you'd turn out to be, such a buck toothed casanova...
now there's only strife and my life has lost all meaning...
how i miss your furry lips, your shallow, rapid breathing...
i wish you only knew...

that I'm only nuts for you!!!

alone again...naturally...."

I reckon if we truly are alone, it's better to have a sense of humor about it.

Alone Again, Naturally...Ice Age 3 Version

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Perfect Day

I'm so happy. This morning, I got the best adjustment I've had in years and met two awesome Activator docs, both practicing in Canton. It was a forty-five minute drive for me, but worth it.

After a stop for a decaf mocha at Starbucks, I spent an hour at the Cumming Group noon AA meeting, and heard exactly what I needed to hear. About surrender, about stepping out of the dance, and so much more.

Afterward, I drove north on beautiful Hwy 9 to Dawsonville, and revelled in the knowledge that I'm becoming somewhat oriented, and beginning to learn my way around.

I passed the buildings I looked at yesterday on the square (for a new office for my chiropractic practice), and then drove up Shoal Creek Rd to Hwy 136, right on Baily Waters Rd, past the Kangaroo Conservancy and, finally, up New Hope Circle and the long driveway, to the place we rented last weekend.

We'll be moving there in a couple of weeks, and I don't have the keys yet. So, I sat on the back steps for forty-five minutes, in the warm winter sun talking to my friend, Mary, back in SoCal, on the phone.

As I sat, I shared the journey of my heart over these last two months, and soaked up her quiet wisdom with the sun. The day was still, and the quiet was broken only by our voices and some roosters crowing in the distance, a woodpecker chattering as it hopped about the white oak, and a neighborhood cat who prowled through the garden. Occasionally, a gentle wind sighed in the trees, whispering sweetly, "Welcome Home".

I ended our call with promises of more, took a few pictures, then walked around my new tin palace, past our 30' x 20' garden, and stopped to gaze at the Appalachian Mountains to the north.

Reluctant to leave, I moved toward the car. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied several clumps of tiny green spires inching out of the dirt by the tool shed. At first, I dismissed them as wild onions, but then decided to bend down for a closer look. No onions were these, and too dainty for my favorites, daffodils. But they were definitely some type of spring bulb.

Oh, the thrill those spikes brought to my heart on this spring-like day, in the middle of what has been a cold and frozen winter.

Back in the car, heading down the driveway, with a grin on my face, I called Randy, the expert, to find out what they were and...of course...crocuses!

I'm going to love living there, on that three-quarter acre plot of heaven on earth. And, I'm grateful that we'll move in the winter. I'll be there to see those crocuses bloom, and no doubt will discover all sorts of nature's delights in my backyard. I haven't seen a Georgia spring since I left eleven years ago. And after a winter of this magnitude, the rains we've had and the frozen ground, it should be a sight to behold!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Year, Old Love

The New Year has come and gone and it’s already the 13th. Where did the days go?

On reflection, I know.

My days have been spent mostly living in the moment. A few of those moments have been shaky, even scary. But most were full of love, possibility and discovery.

New relationships, even those being built on foundations of the old, are rife with challenge and opportunity. When you get to be my age, there is a lot of stuff to uncover…old patterns, old fears, old dung.

There are also lots of buttons. Some get pushed. Some don’t.

It’s a process, getting to know someone, a dance…two steps forward, one step back, side-one-two, dip, slide, crash. Get up, dust the dirt off, curtsy, bow, laugh.

In this way, we learn our partner’s moves and they learn ours.

We find out what we’re made of, separately and together.

We make decisions every day. To keep going, or not. To keep dancing, or not. To love, or not. To grow, or not. To forgive, or not. To let live, or not. These are, in fact, the same decisions we make in our lives every day.

For me, I’ve decided, did before I ever left California, only days after reconnecting with him on Facebook.

“How can that be?” you might wonder.

Some things just are. Some things you just know. I know him in my heart, in my soul, in my bones. He is the earth that I am made of.

And that’s all I need to know.

The rest? Just noise.

In the silence, I know.

Pictures courtesy of Randy Jeffers Photography, from top to bottom: Sunset on the Dawsonville Water Tower; Sunset over Dawsonville; Randy and Olivia, First Reunion
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