Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red Bay vortex

April 18-21, Red Bay, Alabama
Rainy days in Red Bay present a challenge for ways to spend one's time. The past two days the constant patter of rain on the roof has reminded us of Oregon. We are at least grateful that we are not experiencing thunder storms or tornadoes as much of the plains states and Texas have undergone recently. The motorhome definitely seems smaller on rainy days, especially with two dogs who are anxious to go out and play in the mud puddles. Another challenge when the weather is not clear is losing our Dish satellite signal, so the local video store has come in real handy. Here is a list of movies, in order of our ranking, that we have seen since we have been here in Red Bay. 
  • The Way--Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez; Estevez wrote and directed this story about a father walking the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage in Spain; we were inspired by the journey and its symbolism.
  • Hugo-terrifically imaginative story that ultimately pays homage to the cinema (Scorsese touch); impressive set design in Paris.
  • Incredibly Close and Extremely Loud: I was worried about watching a 911 movie but having read the novel was anxious to see it on film; several of my students had read the novel and highly recommended it; we both thought the film was good and especially enjoyed the relationship between the boy and his grandfather (Max von Sydow) 
  • We Bought a Zoo: this one surprised us as it was better than we had imagined it would be; I love animals and the storyline was engaging with solid acting by Matt Damon and Scarlet Johansson 
  • War Horse: compelling storyline with beautiful cinematography
  • Ides of March:  I fell asleep; Vic said it was slow (I felt vindicated)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: remake of a John le Carre novel; the backdrop of the Cold War and its numerous references seemed to make this classic spy story dated and less interesting than the original
  • My Week with Marilyn--a big disappointment in terms of storyline; good acting by Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branaugh
  • The Young Adult: Charlize Theron--supposed to be a comedy, but we found it painful to watch a 20-something throwing away her life
The sun came out on Wednesday and we decided to take about a half hour drive to see the Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, a local tourist attraction where more than 185 coon dogs from all over the United States are buried.  The route wound around on some back country roads and then a sign appeared: 

When we turned into the cemetery,  I was not prepared for the rush of emotions I experienced when I saw a field full of little gravestones all marked with plastic flowers on a lovely open knoll in the woods.

Here is the story of how the cemetery began:
In a small, grassy meadow, deep in the rich, thick wilderness of Freedom Hills, Key Underwood sadly buried his faithful coondog, Troop. They had hunted together for more than 15 years. They had been close friends.The burial spot was a popular hunting camp where coon hunters from miles around gathered to plot their hunting strategies, tell tall tales, chew tobacco and compare coon hounds. Those comparisons usually began and ended with Troop...he was the best around. Underwood knew there was no place in the world Troop loved more than that camp. It was only fitting, he decided, that Troop spend eternity there. On that dreary Labor Day of 1937, Underwood said good-bye to his legendary coonhound. He wrapped Troop in a cotton pick sack, buried him three feet down, and marked the grave with a rock from a nearby old chimney. On the rock, with a hammer and a screwdriver he had chiseled out Troop's name and the date. A special marker was erected in his memory.-
As we walked around reading the grave markers, I tried to imagine the life of these various hounds especially in terms of the times they lived in--from the 1930s to the present (as there were freshly dug graves as well.) We eventually came upon Troop's grave which had several dozen pennies placed on top (a practice that says the loved one will not be abandoned or forgotten and is also supposed to bring luck to the penny tosser, much like tossing coins in a well).  We placed a penny there too and paid tribute to the old boy. I couldn't help but take lots of photos as the personality of each marker really tells the story of this hallowed ground.


The original dog buried here in 1937
On Thursday, we needed to stay close by as we thought we would be getting called into a service bay for the replacement of the floor on our slide. I decided it would be a good day to try to make croissants from scratch like my mom used to do at her restaurant. The recipe requires you to refrigerate and roll out the dough every 45 minutes at least five times, so this process kept me busy. They turned out to be quite tasty, so I decided to share them with a couple from Montreal whom I thought would appreciate them. I looked forward to having one with my espresso in the morning--two treats that are definitely not available in anywhere in this area.
Friday came and we were sure we would be in the bay either in the am or pm--although the last shift on Friday is usually not a time slot you want to get. By 12:30, when we had not heard anything, I made a trip to Billy's office (the guy who schedules the work). He lamented that he had not been able to get us in yet and told me we were #2 in line for the cap rails, but had moved to #5 for the slide floor. I think you can only be in one pile of papers at once; therefore, we are not proceeding up the queue in perfect symmetry.  Lost in the vortex of Tiffin Time, we look forward to the day when the "wheels on the bus go round and round " again.

1 comment:

  1. sigh... I know it is getting bad since you visited the coondog cemetery... here is hoping you don't run out of movies...


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