Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Roots

I'm finally back with a lot to share.....

Family history is something we all probably take for granted a little bit. I sure have and I don't know about you, but I had scarcely little knowledge about my own roots on my dad's side of the family until this past weekend when my parents, me and my sister, and my niece took a trip down memory lane, going back to where my dad was born and raised in Wakulla County, Florida. Not exactly a hot spot on the map, but what a trip it was! I've got SO much to share with you that I hope you won't be bored before the week is out. It will take me that long to load all these pics I took and try to put the story together to share with y'all. We spent a quick two days down there, but saw and heard a lot. I know my dad really enjoyed finally showing us where he came from. We had heard the stories many times growing up, but it really puts a whole different slant on it when you see it in person. And I think now that I'm over 50, I can really appreciate it so much more than I would have when I was younger. So, get yourself a good cup of something and go with me to visit my roots.

This is the very first time my sister and I have been down there to see where our roots began. So, bright and early on that Saturday morning, we left Atlanta and traveled South...first stop, the Waffle House for some pecan waffles. Can you say YUM?!
My sister, Renee, our mom and my niece, Lauren, as we stopped at a roadside market for some peanuts to snack on. My sister is the snack queen and bought something everytime we stopped. Dad just got a brand new Nissan Altima this summer, so we rode in comfort all in the same car. It was so much fun. It's been a long time since we've had a family trip like this. With a wife, 2 daughters, and a granddaughter, my dad is used to waiting...a lot.
We arrived just around lunchtime in Crawfordville, FL and stopped at a restaurant they had been to before, The Seineyard. I had no idea what seineing was, but a seine is a huge net that they use to use to catch fish. That was a big part of my dad's family history, watching the men in his family catching fish with a seine net.
Here we all are enjoying our seafood lunch. Daddy grew up eating fried mullet, so was excited to get some here at the restaurant. The rest of us got seafood platters and passed on the mullet. But, I have to say...mullet was the first fish I had growing up and we had many meals of mullet and that's where I got my love of fish. I did take a bite of his mullet and it's not bad, much like I remembered it being.
Our first stop of the day after lunch was Wakulla Springs, a beautiful state park that has boat tours and is such a pretty natural wonder. My dad grew up swimming here, of course long before it was ever a state park. There are many natural clear springs all over Florida and the water is just breaktakingly beautiful. We got there just in time for the boat tour that hour.
Alarmingly, there is something going on with the springs and where this water used to be crystal clear in this deep water of the springs, it is now dark. The environmentalists with the government have come in to study this and have spent lots of money trying to figure out why this is happening and I hope they solve the mystery one of these days. There is also another alarming thing happening with the natural springs that boil up in the Gulf in this area and they have disappeared in the past year and no longer boil like my dad remembered as a young boy growing up. He was born here and lived here until he was 12. It's been almost 70 years since he lived here, but he has such fond memories of swimming and fishing in this part of Florida. They had their own natural habitat to enjoy. So, when he heard about the water turning dark and the springs that have stopped boiling, it made him very sad. I'll tell you more about the springs in a later post.
So out of the springs flows the Wakulla River and it's a beautiful, natural habitat for so much wildlife. We saw manatee, all sorts of birds, alligators, turtles, and of course lots of fish. Luckily, the water here is still crystal clear and you can see all the way to the sandy bottom of the river.
The green in the water is all the natural grasses growing along the bottom of the river.
I can't remember the name of all these birds, but they were fun to look at.
It was such a gloriously beautiful day to take all of this in and we thorougly enjoyed it.

Here's one of about a dozen manatee that have made this river their home. The boats really look out for the manatee and give them a wide range.
Some turtles and an alligator sunning on a log.
It's just a beautiful river to behold.
Mom and dad were enjoying the boatride.
I think this is an egret.
See how pretty the water is? You can easily see all the fish swimming below.
Lauren and me
Another manatee
We were also told by the tour guide that two Tarzan films (the old Johnny Weismuller ones) were filmed here. I thought that was so great. She said this is where he swung out of the trees in the movies. I loved those old movies!
And right down in this creepy looking swamp....The Creature from the Black Lagoon was filmed!
There were plenty of young folks swimming and sun-bathing when we were there. Usually only those from the North like to swim this time of year...it's way too cold for us Southerners.
Click to enlarge all of these collages. I took so many pics, I put them in a collage.
It's a beautiful area.
And I hope you enjoyed seeing it too. I've got LOTS more to share about our family weekend, so I'll post more the next couple of days. Just living my real life here....

Hope you won't be bored....I sure have enjoyed learning more about my roots and I'm glad I can take you along too. We'll get back to decorating shortly. Thank you ALL for stopping by while I was gone and chiming in on Debbie's cute lodge room. I've got a lot going on right now and it will take me all week to catch up on my Bloglines, so please bear with me. We're going to the beach next week for a few days and I'm going to have a giveaway while I'm gone! Stay tuned for that!

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46 friends stopped by:

Melissa Wertz said...

Looks like you had a great time! Beautiful area. Glad you had a good visit. I stopped at the waffle house on the way back from atlanta and got a waffle Sunday. I love them! Yum.

I have that candle for you. I have to deliver some machines to a friend this week as well. I am still trying to catch up...

Stacey said...

Rhoda, when I first saw the manatee I thought it was a huge fish! Had to do a double take. :) That looks like a fun trip. I'm sure your parents were so happy.

Tracy said...

Ohhhh such beautiful pictures!
It would be so neat to see a manatee like that, just beautiful....

Tracy

coco said...

Looks like you had a good time...this part of Florida is like a well kept secret...one of the few areas that has been left unspoiled!

Mrs. Trixi said...

wow, Rhoda, thanks for sharing. I love family history and that area of Fl. is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing, it was very
interesting. Loved the pictures.
nancy

mrsjones6 said...

What a fabulous trip to make! The area in which your father is from is beautiful. I can imagine his disappointment in the enviromental changes it has had to go through.

Learning about family roots is such a wonderful adventure. You think you know something and then there is a whole other story to go with it. My mother actually recently discovered her background beyond my grandmother just over a year ago. What an adventure it has been for her.

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

~Jen

Shannon said...

Wow! Beautiful photos! And I knew those were Waffle House plates at the top before you said so!! That' sonehting I think I'd like to do later on...do some geneology research. Good for you for being able to do it in person!

Bo said...

Hi Ms. Rhoda...Your dear dad looks so HAPPY...it must have been a thrill for him to revisit his past with his "girls"...and maybe a little nostalgic with all the changes made over the years. I loved reading this post and will look forward to the future episodes. ;-) Bo

Jess said...

Wow! So beautiful! Thank you for sharing. While I was reading and looking at all the beautiful pictures, I just felt so calm!! I can't wait to read and see more!

Adrienne said...

Hi Rhoda -
Welcome home. I'm glad you had a wonderful trip with your family. Your photos are great. Thanks for taking us on the boat tour today.
~Adrienne~

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing. I love seeing everything. What a wonderful thing to do, and everybody together is the best.

windycorner said...

This brings back such wonderful memories. My husband went to FSU in Tallahassee and on football weekends we used to take the kids to see Wakula Springs and even swam there a couple of times. We haven't been back in ages. Glad you had a good visit with your family.
Holley

Fran said...

I am so glad you were able to do this with your parents AND your sister and niece! What great memories you heard about and made.

Fran

Sandi McBride said...

OH MY! BORED??? How could anyone be bored by all this beauty...The Creature from the Black Lagoon was the first horro movie we took our sons to in Norfold Virginia at the Grant Street Theater where they showed nothing but old movies! Mac grew up in West Palm Beach and was loving looking at the Manatee and the birds...and wishing he was there...thanks for the trip down memory lane...I'm a Tampa Girl!
hugs
Sandi

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

What a great time. It looks like such a beautiful place. I hope they are able to find out why the springs are not boiling and why these changes are happening.

Sweet Simplicity said...

That water is so beautiful and CLEAR! I'm glad you had a good trip! Oh, the waffle pictures have my tummy growling!

Susan said...

What a beautiful place and a joy to share with your mom and dad!

Bonita said...

That's such a beautiful place, but do people really swim where there are alligators???? Oh my goodness!

Kristi said...

I just love hearing about trips like that. And, I love your new header! I instantly recognized the plates from the WH....

Shelia said...

Morning, Rhoda! Oh what great pictures. It's so nice you were able to go with your family and relive all the old sights. Just gorgeous. Your mom and dad are so cute!!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Leigh said...

Oh, Rhoda! I loved the pictures. It brought me "home" in a way. My husband and I lived in Sarasota Florida 13 years ago. It became a second home to me. I still miss it so. These photos brought back some fond memories. We would drive to the Myakka River (St Park) many weekends. It was close to our house. We would watch the manatee swim and bath in one of the "bubbling springs" there. Like someone had turned on a faucet just for them. I recall the many gators and holding my child and my dog a bit closer. Those were good times for me. Thank you for the recollection. I am so glad that you got to go. I know it was a wonderful time. Be sure and write down the stories he told so you can recall easily and for fututre generations. I look forward to seeing more from your trip

ROXY said...

Wow, what a great time!! I can't believe how much wildlife you were able to take in. It really must've been a great trip! Thanks for sharing:)

sheila from life @ #17 said...

what beautiful photos...I'll probably never actually go there, but I feel like I have :)

and you are the spitting image of your mom!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a lovely area of Florida. It reminds me of how Naples and Ft Myers used to be in the early 70's before it got so crowded. How wonderful that you are learning about your family roots!

Natalie said...

I scrolled right down looking at all the pics before reading and thought "wow...looks sooo much like Florida!"...turns out it is! Glad you had a wondeful trip :)

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Rhoda, I love the new header!! So pretty for fall! :)

All of your pics from your trip so far are amazing! Just beautiful! It really is important to see where your family came from. I think it helps you understand your parents better, and appreciate them all the more! :)

Anonymous said...

Not bored at ALL !!! It's like a history lesson for me....never heard of mullet.

So happy y'all had a nice time.

Dad must have loved having all his girls in the backseat, so sweet !!!

Nice new header !!!

Kathy :)

Carolina Mama said...

Looking good over here. Thanks for sharing these stunning pictures and your roots! :)

Beverly said...

What a fantastic experience you shared with your family. I know you will treasure the memories forever.

I love this part of Florida. We used to go to springs when I was a young child.

SophieMae said...

I'm so glad your dad got to visit before St. Joe destroys the whole area. Even though the citizens keep speaking out against their plans... well, as we all know, money talks. *sigh*

It's funny how we take our surroundings for granted until we see them thorugh someone else's eyes. We haven't been to the Seineyard since they moved across the street. (It's actually in Woodville, BTW, in Leon County. It just seems like part of Wakulla.) Did you have supper at Angelo's? Did you have time to visit Leon Sinks? So much to see, so little time. 8-] Did the boat tour move too fast for y'all? (I've heard other visitors' comments about that.) Will Sophie ever run out of questions? LOL!

Inspired Kara said...

What a very special getaway :)

Now, I'm craving some good ol' seafood!

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Family and fun times are priceless! Great pictures

Diane said...

The pictures are beautiful & loved the commentary! :0} Diane

Alyce said...

Thanks for sharing..your pics were great! I've never seen manatee.

nikkicrumpet said...

WOW it's so beautiful there. I loved all the pictures of the springs and the river. Amazing!

AJ said...

What beautiful pictures, from the waffles to the manatees and that crystal clear river!!!

Lady Katherine said...

What a nice way to spend family time, this reminded me of Old Town, Fl. I loved your boat ride and the photo were so peaceful. I would love to spend a day with my Daddy, and sibling are too hard to get all together there is six of left. People just are busy with life, that they forget the most imporant things, like your trip. Thanks for sharing.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I have been on the Wakulla Springs tour and it was so lovely. My husbands sister is a researcher with the state of Florida. I am sure they will discover it is our own carbon footprint coupled with global warming. :(

Valarie said...

That is jsut beautiful! I love all the pictures :)

Faye said...

Fascinating pictures and history. I'd be one of those Northerners going for a swim I'm sure...haha.
Outside of a zoo, I have never see many of those birds, turtles, etc. I would love to see a Manatee some day....I guess I'll just have to come your way :)
Thanks for sharing.

beth at aunties said...

Rhoda,
What a awesome trip to be able to take with your dad and mom. It is so priceless... to be able to do it while he is still alive.
I bet he was on cloud nine having his beautiful women with him and he shared his many tales. (I am a BIG family history fan.)
The lake, birds and all were so interesting and beautiful. Hope it wasn't too sad for him to see how the environment has changed it..

I look forward to hearing more about your wonderful family trip.

~Beth

Busy Bee said...

Loved all your pictures from your trip! What a beautiful area! I love the pics on your blog header..very seasonal! Thanks for stopping by and visiting me! Have a great day!
Stephanie

Lana said...

Looks like such a great trip! I enjoyed looking at all of the pictures! They were beautiful!

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

AWESOME!! Love it all.
Of course, when I saw the manatee I spent the rest of the evening singing Veggie Tales, 'Barbara Manatee...You are the one for me..' (yes, I know most all of the Veggie Tales songs - I'm pathetic. LOL

"Blossom" said...

I believe Linda is Mom of German
short hair on RMS, Tootsie, Rue
and others know her. I will try and notify her.
blossom