Posts Tagged ‘St. Simons Island’

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Birds On A Beach

February 2, 2019

Endless birds,
adorn the beach,
oblivious to passers-by.

I venture close,
’bout to reach,
they explode upon the sky.

In a flash,
the scene is set,
as Plovers obscure my view.

It was a glimpse,
I’ll not forget,
this dimming of daylight’s hew.

‘Twas my choice,
that morn to make,
as I walked along the shore.

Pass them by,
and make no wake,
or enjoy them all the more.

Picked the one,
that made me smile,
by my sending birds to flight.

Ask of them,
forgive my guile,”
requesting this glorious sight.

Up to us,
just what we see,
as we trek about this place.

Give a nudge,
to what will be,
and see this world with its grace.


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The Bird Fight!

January 9, 2019
Bird Fight!

We have several bird feeders in the backyard and it is always interesting to see who visits, but sometimes things get as heated as a K-Mart Blue Light Special on Black Friday.  The other morning was just such an occasion.

The Feeder in Question

It started out innocently enough, a bird or two stopping by, taking their fill and flying off to parts unknown.  That is the deal, we put out food, they visit.  We get to enjoy seeing them, they get a full belly.  It works out for everyone.  That is until two birds want the same feeding station!

This is the feeder in question, a Stokes Select Large Hanging Tube Bird Feeder, 6 Feeding Ports, 3.5 lb. Seed Capacity model we recently purchased at Walmart of all places.  Six feeding ports!  One would think that would be plenty to go around.  I mean the birds tha use it weigh maybe about an ounce or two, and the damn thing holds 3.5 pounds of food.  There is more than plenty to go around.  If only the little creatures would have the patience to wait their turn.  And there’s the rub!

So, we hung the feeder, filled it with Wagner’s Deluxe Blend Wild Bird Seed with 20% sunflowers, and a healthy sprinkling of mealworms.  Only the best in our backyard eatery!  As they say in their advertisement “TRUST YOUR BACKYARD BIRDS TO THE EXPERTS AT WAGNER’S!”  We did not have to wait long, within a few minutes several sparrows, finches and chickadees stopped by.  We were all smiles.

Mr. Squirrel

OK, so if you are not a bird enthusiast, you may not know the issue with squirrels.  These backyard bandits can empty a bird feeder in a matter of seconds.  That’s why you have to develop a strategy with feeding.  Put too much on a platform feeder and it just feeds the squirrels, put too little and the birds ignore the offering.  That’s one advantage to the tube feeders, squirrels don’t seem to put in the effort to get the goods.  They try and spill some, for sure but with its large capacity there is plenty for the birds.  This is where the fun began, the next morning I had just finished restocking the cedar feeders, you know the type that look like a little house with glass walls for the hopper and a rim around for the birds to perch while feeding (squirrels make short work of these if you leave the full of seed), and I decided to set up my camera on a tripod and see if I could capture some nice images.

The Gathering Storm

Less than 10-minutes later, boom!  Birds from everywhere arrived at all four of the feeders.  The new tube being of particular interest.  At first, it was just busy and things we looking good to capturing the detail images I was after. Of course, that did not last long!

The Approach!

We have a mental image of small birds and being fast and crafty and they are.  I just never knew they could become so violent so quickly.  You would have thought the sky was falling the ruckus the two pugilists made.

Putting on the Breaks

At first, it just looked like a bird coming in for a landing.  After all, it’s not like all the ports we occupied.  Silly me for thinking logically.  The one bird was minding it’s business then all of the sudden bird two took a line right for it.  Notice the one bird is on the middle level.  It was the first bird approached but not the one in the fight. Things went very quick from this point.  The flying bird made not sound, but the one on the perch realized trouble was on the way and let out a chirpy screech that caused the flying bird to put on the breaks.  It’s almost looked like the bird was flying backwards like a hummingbird but that might just be my perception.

Thinking Twice!

I had my camera in continuous shooting, so I was able to fire off pictures quickly, but even that missed a lot of the action.  These guys are fast – very fast!  The whole episode only lasted maybe a second.

It was on the second approach the action really heated up.  This time with a bird on one of the lower ports.  The amazing thing is, all the other bird not involved, could not have me less interested in the commotion just next to them.  Somehow, they knew it was not going to spill over and become some sort of bird riot at the feeder.

The Attack!

The flying bird took it’s best shot but the bird on the lower perch had the advantage and held its ground.  I think it was more show than an actual strike, but I bet those little talons could so some damage if they really wanted.

Regrouping

The attacking bird figured out it was not going to work and needed to regroup.  So much energy was used up by it in such a brief time there was no way it could attack again.  It was time to thing of the next move.  A stern look from the first bird warned it off trying anything new on that front. 

Pretty much, just that quick the fight, for lack of a better word, was over.  The attacker was repelled, the victors watched the retreat with a sense of satisfaction.  All the other birds still could not be bothered to look up.  It’s as if the little fight never took place.  I guess for them it is all too common an event to give it much notice.

Seeking Higher Ground

Still, the retreating bird had to do something.  It just could not hang out in mid-air.  It was time to move on.  Still, it did not seem the bird was willing to abandon the feeder.

In another instant, the choice was obvious.  Just find a spot and wait it out.  Afterall, there was plenty of food, it’s not like it was going to all be eaten before a port opened up, not to mention the feeder was never really full in the first place.

So, in the end, it was “much ado about nothing,” and the whole event could have been avoided, but then I would not have had the chance at getting some interesting images. 

Why Didn’t I Do This in the Fist Place?
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Happy 2019!

January 1, 2019

Today is the first day of 2019.  I’ve been away from my blog for a long time.  My writing was stale, and I found myself just repeating the same thing in different ways.  I’ve been thinking whether to keep it or not for about the last six months.  Then it occurred to me, I have the opportunity to change my writing.  I have the opportunity to be better.

For far too long, I have been focused on the impact negative events have on me.  No longer.  I am not saying I am suddenly above their impact, I am just not going to lend my energy to negativity.  Instead, 2019 will be a year of discovery for me.  Each day I intend to look for something new and positive in the world to put forward.  Will I always be successful?  Of course not.  I will simply forgive my failures and refocus on something else.

When I was growing up, I have the luxury of knowing a published author, Eugena Price. I was just a kid and she was more grandmotherly, but she still

Eugenia Price
Eugenia Price

took the time to encourage me.  I once asked her how to improve, she just said “read more, read everything good and bad.  Learn to recognize the difference.  Writing well will be a natural consequence.”  Rather than looking at my hiatus from my blog as no productive, I will say I was reading everything good and bad, and am better for it.  You, the reader, will be the ultimate judge.

One time, when I asked Ms. Price how much I should write each day, she said there is not limit but at least 300 words.  It sounded reasonable to me, but it was not until years later, after I earnestly started writing my first novel, I understood why of 300 words.  That is about the number of words per page for a novel typeset for publishing.

So, here it is, my first post for 2019.  More me reintroducing myself to you than something earthshattering.  We all must start someplace.

I wish you the best 2019 possible.  Days will be good, some bad, some in between.  Focus on the good, deal with the bad, and use the in between recharge your batteries.

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The Tide Before Christmas

December 13, 2010

Early one morning, last December, even before the sun was up, inspiration struck and I adapted Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St Nickolas” (The Night Before Christmas) to better fit out island style.  While I am not the first to do such a thing, I did try to capture the unique style of life associated with island living.  I hope you enjoy it!

The Tide Before Christmas

‘Twas the tide before Christmas, and all along the bay
not a creature was swimming, not even a ray
The shrimp boats were moored pier side with care,
in hopes that large fish schools soon would be there.

The sand crabs were nestled all snug by the dunes
and dreamed of beach combing eluding the loons.
And you in your waders and I wrapped with a mat
headed home from beach walking, ’twas too cold for no hat.

When just then the sea arose in a lather
I tripped over my feet only able to blather.
Away to the dunes we flew with a crash
and looked at the water alive with a splash

The moon on the spray up from the boil
gave a strange glow to all of this toil.
When, to our amazement should appear,
an odd clam-sleigh with shrimp for reindeer.

Yes he was there, but not like you’d expect
ol’ nick was in shorts, from vacation I suspect
Faster than dolphin his champions did ply
singling their names, it seemed they would fly.

“Now Flounder! now Crabby! now, Pincher and Whaley,
On, Conch Shell, On Coral, on Sailfish and Eelie.
To the top of a swell to the top of a wave
Now swim away! Swim away, Swim away -be brave!”

As foam on the waves in whirlwind takes flight
or tide bends and rips and you angle right
So up to the wave crest the champions then swam
with St Nick and the toys, and his sleigh made of clam.

And then just so softly, we heard on the sand
the clicking and snapping of shrimp on the land.
As we hid in the dunes and pulled ourselves low
next to our side, we saw St Nicholas’ glow.

Not dressed like you’d think from his head to his foot
beach-ish were his clothes, at least there’s no soot.
The toys were all dry and kept safely from harm
He looked like a Parrothead and so full of charm.

His face was quite tan and blown was his hair,
his sandals were all worn from years of wear.
His mouth had a smile only beachcombers know
and his tan made his beard whiter than snow.

A stir-straw he chewed, the type from a drink
with salt on his chin, from a margarita I think.
I knew when he smiled he truly was real
and his belly shock some as he turned on his heel.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly ol’ salt
but somehow seemed saintly, with nary a fault
and then he did wink and widened his smile
as if to just say the nights task is worthwhile.

We followed behind as he went to each home
next to the beach from where we did roam.
Some magic he used to enter each one
checking his list until he was done.

Then back to the clam, that carried him fast
and away the shrimp pulled and huffed in a blast
We heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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Remembering Blanche’s Courtyard

September 13, 2010

Now that I am quickly, all too quickly, approaching fifty-years old, I guess it’s natural for me to look around for reminders of my youth.  Having been away from St. Simons for a number of years much has changed and there are certainly more people, but reminders are around; I only had to look.

There are the obvious reminders, Fort Frederica, the lighthouse, Christ Church, and all the wonderful old live oaks.  They remind me of summer days running barefoot with a freedom children just do not have today.  Of course, East Beach is there and each walk reminds me of my teenage days chasing the girls from Macon and Atlanta, down for the summer, and trying to talk them into going to the Saturday night dances at Sea Island.  Those reminders are nice.  Still, they only remind me of life in general, I had to look a little deeper for something that held a bit more meaning for me.

Our old house at Gould’s Inlet is gone, replaced by something large and modern that already looks in disrepair.  If you’ve lived here a good while, you will remember it as the “Pizza Hut” house.  It was pure joy waking up each morning to watch the sunrise.  While progress does make changes, I was sure sad to see my old home replaced with something that has less character.  Just being where the house once stood was enough to remind me where we grow up is like a member of the family, no matter how long you are apart, you’re still connected.  I know I will always be connected to that beach.

It was hard to find any comfort with a house that was so important to me being replaced, but at least I know that new families will build new memories of growing up on that special spot of beach.  Maybe that’s why visiting the old family business was so hard for me, it is  hard to see it, with the wonder it once held, in its current state.  The business, of course, was Blanche’s Courtyard.  Kirk Watson of Hodnett Cooper Real Estate was kind enough to let me look over her boarded-up remains, as the building has been dormant for some time now and only hints suggest her former glory.  Standing there, it was that former glory that came to mind.

I had the advantage of growing up in a family where the parents divorced before I really remember.  The result being four wonderful adults to guide me.  Blanche’s was a labor of love for my father and step-mother, Pat.  Of course, the most asked question regarding the restaurant was “Where is Blanche?”  To answer that requires going back to the beginning.  When Pat and Dad decided to open a restaurant, they knew better than to dive in to something without proper assistance, so they looked for a partner.  That partner was a man named Bill.  If you’ve lived on St. Simons for a very long time, you might remember him.  He owned Bill’s Pit Barbeque. This is back in the day when Brogan’s was Higdon’s Bait and Tackle Shop and Maxwell’s department store sold hot Spanish peanuts.  You could get a bag and a small Coke for about a quarter.

Anyway, back to Bill; his wife was Blanche. The original plan was for her to do the cooking.  Now, I was pretty young so I don’t really know the details but Bill and Blanche decided to end the partnership leaving the restaurant without a cook for its grand opening.  Having survived the opening, Pat was in New Orleans and found that wonderful picture that lived behind the bar, the lady’s name happened to be Blanche.  Be it luck or fate, she became the Blanche of Blanche’s Courtyard.  It became a running joke when “guests with reservations” we seemed to have lost, swore they made them with Blanche or they are good friends with her and not sure she would put up with that sort of thing.

There I was, standing on the basket weave brick floor where the Good Ol’ Boys Band played every Friday and Saturday night.  The bar now sits where the bandstand was but the old Victorian porch we used for it is now the bar’s ceiling.  Looking out one of the few places not covered with plywood, the courtyard bricks reminded me of a time when my brother Stephen and I spent days and days placing our share of the 250,000 bricks it took to complete.

Gone are the wonderful smells of dinners being prepared and the ever-present din of kitchen activity.  Now, the air is moist, dank and moldy from neglect and silence fills the air.  I should not expect a bank to really care about the history of the place; they simply want to sell it for whatever end someone wants.  Given the damage, there might be little hope the building will survive at all.  Still, for me it was sad to see the old girl rundown so.  Yet, the glimpses are there, the etched-glass window saying “Blanches,” old doors from an island hotel, and the decorative brick on the wall where the bathtub full of goldfish use to be.

When I think of all the work and effort to convert that old auto garage with a dirt floor into a restaurant, it really was nothing more than a barn when we started, it’s more a wonder it ever had success and not met this end years before.  Blanches was a success through the efforts of Pat, my dad, Jack Pommerening, Mr. Goodman, Cepheus Walker, Sue Anderson and countless staff over the years.  While the physical walls might be worse for ware, the memories of the life these people breathed into Blanches will never diminish.

As for Pat and Dad, Daddy passed away several years ago but Pat is still going strong.  She still operates the place they restored in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.  In the off-season, she volunteers as a paramedic making 911 calls.  The Energizer bunny has nothing on her.  For me, I’m happy to be back on the island and look forward to my next walk down the beach I love.

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