April 22, 2010-Happy Birthday Patrick Parnell

Kate Murr

Today is Patrick Parnell’s birthday and the Murrs hope it is a happy one. We would also like to thank Drury University president Todd Parnell for his support and encouragement.

We didn’t ship anything back today, but we spent a lot of time packing up camp in the churchyard and doing computer work. A late start and a rough shoulder put us behind on our plan to reach Gainesville to stay with friend-of-friend, Jorelle, but despite this, we had an incredible day.

The kids napped early, and when they woke up, Stuart pulled out a special treat: music and speakers. Bungeed to Stuart’s back pannier rack, my shuffle played my running music mix, and I struggled to keep up with Stuart and his newfound energy on some pretty rough shoulder.

We found a produce stand just before lunch and bought a half flat of strawberries, lettuce, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. We dined in Florahome park (the town is called Florahome because it is the location of Flora’s home, a white washed road site house that was built in 1861, according to Chris the “Florahommie” and local mechanic). Chris said we were the first people to use the park in ten years, which is a shame since it such a silent, mysterious Spanish moss cathedral where light flickers like the recollection of a fairy tale.

We stopped at the local market, met Connie and her son, then visited Sissy, the baby ducks and chicks, the requisite resident peacock, turkeys, rats, Hercules-the-big-dog, and Amy-the-baby at the feed and hardware store. Sissy gathered some fresh eggs for us and supplied us with a part for Stuart’s safety flag.

Down the road, when it was clear we weren’t going to make it to Gainesville by dark, we found Lake Swan Camp, a peaceful summer camp for churches…or a setting directly from the mind of Stephen King. We swam in the sparkling lake and played on the sandy beach. I cooked dinner (whole wheat pasta with cannellini beans, zucchini, squash, onion, garlic, and red pepper tomato sauce) while Brady ran around naked in the sand, and we ate on the dock as the sun set.

Many happy returns of the day, Patrick.

Happy Earth Day, Earthlings.

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