Tallahassee = politics, part 2 Demonstrators
Following up a bit on the last tip...
...and since Tallahassee IS the state capital, we have our share of political demonstrations and events. Some are huge, such as the mess surrounding the 2000 presidential election situation regarding Florida's precious electoral votes. We ALL got tired of seeing the CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX news jerks hanging around stirring up trouble. And, that was before clowns like Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton showed up. Jeez Louise. :^/
One of the funniest part of the 2000 debacle was that it occurred in the middle of football season. Late in Nov of '00, the annual Florida-Florida State football game was scheduled for Tallahassee. And as anyone who's been here on a football weekend knows, hotels are booked WEEKS and MONTHS in advance. Soooo, as the game approached, the empty suits from network news started getting kicked out of their hotel rooms. Not to worry, the FSU fraternities came to the rescue. They rented out frat rooms (VERY spartan) to the likes of Wolf Blitzer and Greta van Susteren for $1200 per night, and even tossed in a Hostess twinkie cake and a Diet Coke, calling it a continental breakfast. God love those young capitalists. :)
And, many thanks to God for turning the 2004 election spotlight northward to Ohio.
On the day that I took the picture below, I was actually photographing a local eatery, ANDREWS 228 (see separate tip). At the time, I saw all of these green shirted folks hoisting signs and heading for the state capitol complex. It turns out that they were protesting or supporting (wasn't sure which) some sort of school/education issue affecting Dade and Broward (south Florida) counties. Maybe the new governor cut back on surf board maintenance aid or something. :)
Beauty and peace after the storm.
A lot of people have asked me about hurricanes and such. Sure, they're a pain, and can be deadly. But one thing that is almost magical..... after a storm passes, the weather becomes so incredibly serene and beautiful. It's almost as if we've passed some sort of heavenly test. Hmmmm.
The same is true when we have one of our frog-choker (remind me to put that on my Southern Sayings list...) storms. After a few hours of torrential rain and blasting thunder/lightnening, it's as if peace returns in all her glory. Look around, and take in the beauty and calm after the storm.
Cult Following Restaurants in Tallahassee, part 1
There's a little place on the corner of Magnolia and Mahan Drives in Tallahassee that has achieved the coveted "cult following" status. There are people who literally visit Jenny's Lunchbox every single day.
The Lunchbox is only open for breakfast and lunch, and is the sort of place that caters to the regulars. Nothing ever changes....the waitresses are the same people, it's the same food, the specials are always the same.
But, the coffee's always hot and Jenny and company are all about making your daily routine a little more personal.
It may be a place for the regulars, but they've always got room for a newbie. Breaktast, plain and simple.
Eggs, grits, bacon, toast and coffee.
Good, hot, fresh and cheap.
Wakulla Springs State Park
I like to be outside of the city because I prefer the nature! So I can recommend to go to WAKULLA SPRINGS STATE PARK.
It´s one of world´s deepest freshwater springs features glassbottom and river-boat tours, swimming, trails, 1937 lodge and fine dining. You can see real turtles, alligators, snakes, fishes and birds...
The Annual SPRINGTIME TALLAHASSEE Parade
"San Francisco East??? Not quite."
Each April, (or sometimes in late March), the city of Tallahassee hosts the SPRINGTIME TALLAHASSEE festival. Part of the fun is the Saturday morning parade. What follows in this travelogue are a collection of photos and comments from parades over the last few years.
Recently, my VT friend, KareninCalifornia, told me of San Francisco's "Saint Stupid's Day" parade, held on April 1. Tallahassee has yet to schedule such a stupid event, although the annual legislative session could be consider clownish at times.
San Francisco is also home to the annual Gay Pride Parade, something that would NEVER see light of day anywhere in the deep south. But, that doesn't mean we don't have something in common with Castro Street. This year's Springtime Parade had a couple of groups of, shall we say, less-than-feminine cheerleading squads. The accompanying photo shows one of the more entertaining. Speaking to a couple of the participants, I came away with the distinct impression that they'd perhaps spent a little time swigging grog with the Pirate Krewe ship earlier. Just a day out with the guys, I guess.
I told the fattest one that his slip was showing and he just howled with laughter. Yeah, I know..... they don't serve alcohol at Springtime Tallahassee. Yea, sure.
"Life on a Stick"
One of my favorite photo subjects are kids having a good time. I called this 2005 parade chapter photo "Life on a Stick", which was (back in 2005) the title of a terrible sit-com on FOX-TV. If you're looking for a review from me on the show, call it a minus 4 on a scale of 1-10. Slightly more entertaining that sinus surgery. OK, back to Springtime Tallahassee.
Sometimes, life can be as simple as a footlong corndog on a stick. A beautiful, if a bit chilly, spring day welcomed the 2005 Springtime Tallahassee Parade and Festival to Florida's capital city.
I got a real kick out of watching this little guy deal with junk food that was literally bigger than he is. I suppose this spring's time of renewal will remain in this kid's memory as the day he ate a footlong hotdog covered in greasy breading.....and lived to tell about it.
Tallahassee again welcomes springtime to her home, our fair city. Like the motto says, Tallahassee....where spring begins.
"Pirates of the Big Bend"
Due considerably to the recent "Pirates of the Caribbean" furor, the parade's "Pirate Krewe" chose the music from "Pirates of the Caribbean" to accompany their buccaneer float. The pirate float always seems to be one of the rowdier ones, as the participants appear to have been in the grog since slightly after their breakfast hotcakes.
As for pirates, northern Florida had their share in the old days, and there still is a bit of illegal activity going on around our high seas even today. However, today's sea dogs are being pursued by the D.E.A. instead of the Royal Navy. And speaking of which, "high seas" isn't a bad moniker.
A note on the photo....gotta love that outfit the lady had on..... the train of that dress drug in the street for about four feet. Very nice touch, the damsel in white.
I was in band during my school years. So was my wife. My son followed in the family tradition, too. So, it's no surprise that marching bands are my favorite part of any parade.
This photo, from the 2003 Springtime parade, features the Tallahassee Lincoln High School Marching Trojans band. My son was in this organization from 1998-2002, and was their on-the-field drum major (leader) for the last two years. During this photo, they were playing their rendition of the Paul Simon song "You Can Call Me Al". If anyone would like a video/sound clip of them in action, just send me an email and we'll send you one.
Tallahassee is blessed with many fine bands. On the university front, we are home to the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, the LARGEST marching band in America. (on a personal note, my son was also in this organization for five years, and spent two years as their drum major) Any college football fan knows about the FSU war chant.
We also have the Florida A&M Marching 100. The FAMU band is world-renowned, having been invited as the only US band in the 1989 French Bicentennial Parade in Paris. FAMU has also brought their trademark dance grooves to a couple of Super Bowl halftime shows.
On the high school front, there are many fine musical groups. There's Lincoln (mentioned above), Leon High School (a proud band tradition, I was in that band way back in the 1970s), Godby High School (a band that often pushes the envelope with "different" performances - I still remember their fused version of the Jefferson Airplane's WHITE RABBIT), and the Rickards High Raider band, a funky outfit that has strong ties to the FAMU band tradition.
If you like bands, Tallahassee is ground zero for the best.
"Color from half-way round the world"
The Springtime parade is always filled with color and pageantry, and the 2004 edition was especially bright. One major contribution and addition involved the participation of many of our local Chinese-American citizens. There were two separate groups representing the Chinese in this year's parade.
My daughter really loved the colorful paper "dragon" pictured above.
Just more of the diversity and color that makes Tallahassee an interesting city.
"Being in jail is NO EXCUSE to miss the parade"
Even some of the unfortunates serving time in our local jail have an opportunity to participate in Springtime Tallahassee.
These guys in stripes were assigned to shovel up after the horse patrol for the local sheriff's department. Sure, they may have spent the afternoon shoveling you know what.... but it was still a sunny and beautiful day. And shoveling you know what in a parade is always better than being in jail.
These guys got THEIR share of cheers from the crowd, and they smiled and waved back. A good time is had by all at Springtime Tallahassee.
I hope you can make it here next year. : )
"Fairytales spring to life"
Parades are celebrations of beauty and fantasy. What more fantastic story to reference in building a float than Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland"?
In this photo, the designers of this storybook float hope that they've "played the right cards" in the competition for "best float in the parade".
"Celebrating Springtime AND Celebrating AMERICA"
Tallahassee, like most of the south, is an especially patriotic town. There's always a heavy dose of "USA, USA!!" woven into the fabric of the springtime parade.
The grand marshall(s) of the 2004 parade were the members of the Florida Army National Guard, Battery A, 124th Infantry. They are a local unit that has just returned from duty in Iraq.
Sadly, one member of the unit paid the ultimate price during his service. I HEREBY DEDICATE MY SPRINGTIME TALLAHASSEE TRAVELOGUE TO THE MEMORY AND SERVICE OF THE LOCAL MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE FALLEN IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM.
Let me mention two young men specifically....
US Army Specialist Robert Wise was a graduate of Godby High School, and he died on November 21, 2003 when a bomb exploded beneath the Humvee in which he was riding.
Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Chaires died on October 25, 2006 of wounds sustained while fighting in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq. Daniel is the son of a very good friend of mine, a former colleague at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
I hope that that Pvt Wise's and Corporal Chaires' families feel and hear the gratitude of Tallahasseans every single day.