Wet And Dry

We had planned to fly into Atlanta today, but seeing as we’d just about had enough of airports and queues we figured that driving had to be the way to go. So it was in the car and head north. We made good speed and got through most of Florida. Now, I had jokingly suggested we try to avoid any hurricanes, thinking that we wouldn’t see anything of the sort. However, I had to eat my words a little and also give thanks that we don’t live near Thomas Creek, Nassau County, Florida. Thomas creek is a little stream which ambles along, sucking up the overflow from the nearby St. Mary’s River; a little community is sited on its banks. But thanks to Tropical Storm Fey the river has been overflowing, and Thomas Creek has taken the worst of it: here’s their baptist church today:

The whole car park was innundated and apparently the water is currently receding — before it was worse. Faith and hope in the water level’s sinking were high though…

Seek and ye may well find. Some would add, “if you can swim” — but that would be cruel.

Ours, however, was to be the opposite problem. We picked a point midway between Jacksonville, where we stopped last night, and Atlanta. We lighted upon Eastman, Dodge County, Georgia. It looked great on the map, but once we got here disturbing things began to be told us.

It started with the motel receptionist telling us, “What, somewhere to go?” When I asked why she was laughing she just said, “You’re in Eastman!”

But, ok, so it was a little quiet, but still very beautiful. I longed for the calm lakes and soft blowing fir trees of this zone — especially after having seen nothing but palms as we drove up from Miami.

The weather is a little variable, sudden spells of rain come and go, the sun shines one minute then not the next and at one point my sunglasses just steamed up — so I couldn’t see anything — in the space of ten seconds as we left the motel. But I like variable weather: I’m English after all.

Then things got a little darker…

I asked the receptionist if she knew where we could find a bar. It was like I’d asked her where I could find a good crack dealer: “ohh no, I wouldn’t know anything about that,” she said. I guessed I’d just found a teetotaller and thought nothing of it.

I asked the cashier in WalMart. “Oh, gee, well… we certainly don’t sell any drink. I heard there was a place out on the hill up across the railroad tracks. In a red barn.” Well, I’ve heard enough about red barns to know that nothing good could come out of it, so I just asked somebody else. “Well, you know, I never went there, but I heard that if you go on up out back towards the I117, then on the side of the road there’s a little place where they could help you out: I never went there you understand, I just heard it from a friend.”

And then it clicked: after all, we hadn’t seen one liquor store all day long despite driving through the town 25 times trying to find our motel… I asked the same guy, “this is a dry town isn’t it?” he replied, “sure is sir. Dry county as a matter o’ fact.”

Damn. Of all the places we could have picked to come and stay in, we chose a dry one. I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t these guys learn anything from prohibition? Dodge County is completely dry — you can’t even get a glass of wine in a restaurant.

So we did what we had to: we crossed the county line, and sure enough, as soon as we crossed, there on our left was a liquor store. We bought a bottle of rum and a case of beer and never did either taste so good as they did tonight.

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