Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Our Idea of a Rest Area
To make up for years of childhood trauma, I always try to find really cool places to visit on the road less traveled. Trauma? My father was career Navy, and, even though we lived in many interesting places (Newfoundland, Canada was the best by far), we rarely stopped anywhere except for a campground in no place special. Trying to "make time" and having six kids in the family pressured us to miss tourist traps, historical sites, and nature preserves. We could not afford to visit Mt. Rushmore in the Dakotas. Instead, we faced a fierce storm that nearly blew the tent down and water so nasty that even the Kool-aid tasted gross. Time was so precious when moving to the next duty station that the port-a-potty in our van made sure we used a full bladder as an excuse to stop.
On our last trip to Kansas, I had planned to stop at Carl Sandburg's house in Flat Rock, NC. The weather was so cold, rainy, and miserable that we just kept going. Blue skies and dogwood gave us a perfect hour. We were not the only people with this destination in mind: the parking lot was full and we ended up parking at the Flat Rock Playhouse across the street. We enjoyed this view of the pond and the poet's home while we ate a meal grabbed at a fast-food drive-thru.
Gazing at the Mini-Waterfall at the Bridge near Our Picnic Site
Hanging Out with the Kids
The price of admission into the park was completely within my father's price range: FREE. Yes, FREE! We decided to take a tour of the house on our next trip (and, the fee for the adults is less than the price of a movie matinee ticket and the fee for kids is again FREE). We walked up the main trail, a bit of a climb that got our blood flowing! After we reached the top and turned right at the bend in the road, we reached the goat dairy. Some of the goats and kids we met are descendants of Sandburg's flock! We walked right up to the friendly flock, which did not mind attention and lots of petting. One little girl reaped a harvest of clover for the kids. After she gave the kid a final pat, she recalled the title of her favorite poem by Sandburg, "Different Kinds of Good-by."
Other Fabulous Features of the Farm
The farm also had a small flock of chickens (and Pamela began singing "Los Pollitos" at the sight of them) and old equipment (which reminded us of a book we are reading about our agricultural heritage). We toured the dairy, and Pamela enjoyed trying to use the cream separator. She turned on the faucet but found the tap dry.
A Storm of White Petals
On the walk down the hill to the car, we had enough breath to quote some of our favorite lines from Carl Sandburg. We realized that the spring verse was living before our eyes, "A storm of white petals, buds throwing open baby fists into hands of broad flowers." We also recited the entire poem "Fog" several times, even though the skies were bright and beautiful: "The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on."
And, on that note, we moved on...