Filled to Bursting
24 May 2008 | Fernandina Beach, FL
As we sat with Tina and Dick in the Amelia Island Plantation Conference Centre Saturday night, listening to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra play an assortment of Gershwin, Berlin, Sousa medleys, I felt like I was just filled to bursting with life itself. I poked Jim to see if he was having the same feeling - and he nodded. We smiled the smile that has come to mean, "How about this!!" and sat back to continue enjoying ourselves.
The Devoes picked us up at 8:30 that sunny morning and we headed to T-Rays for one of their famous breakfasts - eggs done perfectly, sizzling bacon, creamy grits and a biscuit so tender it fell apart as I spread homemade grape jelly over it. From there we moved on to the Saturday farmers Market in downtown Fernandina Beach where we purchased cherries (all for me) and strawberries, crab cakes, muffalettas and wonderful peppery olive oil imported from Italy. Fiddle players made music, vendors sold veggies and cheeses and seafood and candy. People strolled and chatted and filled their cloth bags and baskets - just like in Farmers Markets everywhere.
Next stop was the organic farm where I bought those wonderful veggies earlier in the week. More pole beans, cucumbers, peppers and bunches of basil filled my bag. After a stop at Publix for grocery staples, we roared back to Tiger Point, cast off Madcap's lines and motored around the corner again to the main harbour. Afternoon siestas followed and then it was time for another adventure.
We loaded ourselves into Devoe's very cute new Honda CR4 and headed for the beach. Tina spread out her red, white and blue tablecloth, and from their basket and our tote bag emerged bowls and platters of gourmet picnic food: Crab cakes stacked with fried green tomatoes and topped with tartar sauce, crunchy veggies and curry dip, crisp-tender pole beans tossed in that new olive oil, chewy baguettes, strawberries, chocolate, biscotti - all washed down with some very good wines (purchased at incredibly cheap Florida prices.)
We cleaned ourselves up a bit and drove off to the Memorial Day concert I mentioned earlier. It was sponsored by ARIAS (Amelia Residents in Action for the Symphony), which assists the Symphony in presenting concerts for school children and sponsors several young people in their musical studies. One "new to us" portion of the program was the last offering. The lights in the room went up and the orchestra broke into a medley of the songs identified with each branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, beginning with the senior branch, the Army. As the music started, individuals stood up all over the room. As they sat down, others stood and it continued through each melody. We were completely puzzled by this until our friends told us that this musical tradition honours those who have served (or are serving) in any of these branches of the military. When their theme song is played, they stand. It was an interesting thing to see.
On the way home, we made one more stop - to the ice cream store. We each ordered exotic combinations of ice cream and syrup and nuts that were stirred together on a cold marble slab and scooped into cups. Rich, decadent, delicious. A perfect ending to an outstanding day.