Friday’s Weekend Column
The Unexpected

by James Glaser
September 1, 2006

I got a notice of a piece of registered mail waiting for me at the post office. The notice said it was a package. I hadn't ordered anything, and if it was bad news, like a letter from the IRS, the FBI, or some lawyer suing me, it wouldn't have come in a package form. So I headed down to pick it up.

I had to show a photo ID, and the lady Postman looked at me strange when I handed over my Minnesota Drivers License. So I gave her my Marine Corps picture ID too, and then she was all happy to go look for the package.

It was kind of small and seemed heavy to me, but when I looked at the return address I knew right away it was Charmaine. At least it was Charmaine's ashes being sent to me by the medical school in North Dakota where she had donated her body for the students to study. About a month ago the school had called to say, "Charmaine was done teaching," and they would send her ashes in the near future.

I guess I blew that thought off as this caught me totally by surprise. I didn't open up the box, and it is now sitting on a shelf in my workshop. I am going to make a nice box to put the ashes in, and I don't know what to do after that. I have had over two years to think about that, but I guess it was just easier to put it off. My daughter offered her mantle as a resting place until I figure out what to do, and I might take her up on that.

Friday is First Friday again, and it should be a big crowd. Both Florida State and Florida A&M are back in session, and every one with kids who leave for the summer, are back because school has started.

I have accomplished a lot since last month and get this, the electricians finally showed up Thursday. If they work today, then I might have track lighting in the gallery area, but even now I have bright lights in the workshop. I'll have a computer screen set up showing a slide show of past work, and the window wall is done in the front. On top of that I have a neon "open" sign and a wall piece on the work bench that is in progress.

Tomorrow I'll do a shop cleaning, and will have a good time in the evening showing my work. It is always interesting. The people, the questions they ask, how they are dressed, the comments they make, and their children.

You can tell right off if they have trained their children to be in an art gallery. Heck you can tell right off if they have trained their children at all. Some kids are total brats, and some are a real pleasure to have around. Children tell you more about the parents that anything else. What is sad is there are so many adults whose parents never trained them to be out in public.

This past weekend we took a driving trip down to Apalachicola, which is a little town on the Gulf of Mexico. We did the tourist thing, walking on the beach looking for shells, checked out every antique shop we saw, and shopped at all sorts of tourists traps. We had a fine lunch and on the way back we saw a sign and all that was written on it was 60x150, $300,000. People tell me a lot that size on the Gulf is a steal at that price. I don't know about that.

Most of the houses we saw on the shore were built up on concrete posts a couple of stories high. There were a lot of storm damaged homes, and many had lost the land under their house, so they were sitting part way in the water. That hundred and fifty foot deep lot could be a hundred and twenty five foot deep after just one hurricane. Most of the islands with homes on them are really nothing but huge sand bars, and it is a shame to see all the development on such fragile land. In some small towns you can't see the water any more, because so many tall condos have been built on the shore.

The people down here complain about the cost of home owners insurance, but if I had an insurance company I wouldn't write a policy on that shore land.

The trip was fun though, and the best time I had was on a strip of beach with nobody around. I kept finding nice shells, but they were all occupied with hermit crabs, and I didn't want to put one of them in my truck to die a slow death out of the water. I couldn't shake them out either. I looked really hard, but found no pirate gold. Every beach we saw was clean, no litter, no cigarette buts, no plastic. That was nice to see. All the people we met were very nice too and would tell us about the area. One old man told us how the Navy used to use that shore in that area as an artillery practice range during WW II..

It is still hot (in the 90's) and the humidity is way up there too. However, a neighbor at Railroad Square told me that next week it was going to be in the 80's, with lows in the 60's. That sure sounds good to me. Maybe soon I'll have to think about heating the shop, yeah now that I am finally getting my AC hooked up.

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