Apalachicola November 2018 55th Annual Seafood Festival

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<The Poetry Friday Sunrise is with Kay!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
After what blewew through

people of the village of Apalachicola
scanned clear sky chasing hurricane gray
rejoiced for oyster spat found live on farmed sea baskets
cleared storm clutter off shoreline
rushed sweets to tupelo bees
bustled to serve 55th annual seafood dinner line

c.2018JGA/JanGodownAnnino

The first week of every November for 55 years, the Florida
Panhandle seaport of Apalachicola, where our family has
spent inspiring days and nights, where the city library
has been so inspiring to young readers,
where history-holding people revive old wood shotgun houses for needy locals,
where my husband met with legal services clients more than 30 years ago,
holds the cantankerous FLORIDA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL. And what a celebratory event
this post-H.Michael, miracle festival can be.

I was chilled as I began to understand
the wreck and wrack Hurricane Michael wrought on
this North Florida coast. What other calling card would a categroy 4 storm that barreled over
beautiful barrier islands and blasted mainland sands Oct. 10-11, 2018, leave behind?
Although 40 miles or so separated working waterfront Apalachicola from the westward
deadly direct Mexico Beach hit,
the swirl of winds and stormy surf reached tough tendrils east of Apalachicola into Eastpoint, Carabelle,
Dog Island, Alligator Point and southeast of us, at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Blessedly, the refuge is
recovered enough for this weekend’s annual Monarch Butterfly Festival.

Families and friends are personally coping with the horrific loss of 29 lives in Florida,
an uncounted number of physical and emotional injuries.
Locals and second-home visitors are dealing with the splattering of home roofs and cafe walls into neighbors’ yards, pushing boats and cars down familiar streets.
Residents are reacting to the disruption of work, school, and everything else that happens
in seven days of a week.
Singular landscapes that the region’s people work in and relax in,
and wild acres thought preserved from human habitation, road building, place making,
in national refuges or state lands, suffered a scouring sea change.
Many of us keep a wary eye on how the world’s sea changes are known to be human-born.

But always there are moments of hope in recovery efforts.
Such as bringing food to the famed
Apalachicola River Basin tupelo tree bees.
Yes, feeding sweets the bees. As the line, above…

Your official invitation to attend the Apalachicola party the first weekend every November is always here at the FLORIDA Seafood Festival website.

Some aspects of working waterfront Apalachicola, to know if you go
Downtown Books and Purl, Hole in the Wall, The Gallery at High Cotton, Bowery Art, Cafe Con Leche
and other strong small storefronts calling to you, that keep keeping on. If you are fortunate to attend, check online with AAA or the Florida Highway Patrol
or your navigation sites, for updated traffic details. Storm-Battled U.S. 98,
coast-hugging road ribbon of life for the region, as of this post, has lane closures in places.
Perhaps try Hwy. 20 or Interstate 10 & work your way south an an open, interior road.

I have written about Authors in Apalach on more than one occasion, such as here.
Downtown Books and Purl
The Gallery at High Cotton


I love this potent article in SIERRA magazine by Sue Cerulean
, editor, author, friend in
Florida who brought me to book-making with Falcon Press & and published my history essay (p. 107) and an important Seminole Tribe of Legend by Betty Mae Tiger Jumper (p.92), my book biography subject, in
the Milkweed Editions collection,
BOOK of the EVERGLADES.

c.2017
JGA/JanGodownAnnino
Baite Place, Eastpoint, FLA
all rights reserved.

Birdsong Co-Founder Tribute – Betty Komarek

[We are in the Poetry Friday Universe collected this week by Brenda. See the bees knees!]

Many of us who grieve for loss of life,
destruction of land & structures from the natural force of
winds & water powered by Category 4 Hurricane Michael, think of the Florida coast.

Hurricane Michael busted on from the Gulf & its sugar sands,
to scream through inland pecan groves & cotton fields – southwest Georgia’s farmlands & river/lake coves, including a tiny Georgia writing retreat I’ve loved, that my critique partner owns,
The Cove.  R.I.P to The Cove. But also …

Before the storm arrived I wrote here about Birdsong, in Georgia.
Today I share my poem set in 1998, & inspired
by Betty Komarek, co-creator of Birdsong,
just over the border of Florida, outside Thomasville, GA
Due to Hurricane Micheal, Birdsong postponed an Oct. 13 music fundraiser,to be rescheduled.

>>>>>>>>

Birdsong Summer

That summer she left the land
for Kay’s mountain cove
she looked long
across Horse Pasture
opened her screened porch door
smiled that eternal smile that says –
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

She bent, offered food to Skink,
scuttling back-step friend

She stood with deep-seeing eyes,
finding
far fields, deep woods, green swamp, farm pond

Her gaze remembered
flying squirrel, grazing deer,
zebra longwing,
bob white, towhee, wood thrush,
pileated woodpecker, indigo bunting –
all her feathered friends of tiny beating hearts

She crunched hot feet on dry peanut stone
felt cool moss on split rail
returned inside to the wide hall
stood at stairs in the center
of her universe
looked up through roof to her Sky

She stepped across the straw mat
to her Window
reached deep into her chest
drew out a part of her heart
fixed it on the handle
of the room’s screen door

That summer she left the land
all her planted friends
talked about change –
Nandina, mulberry, saw palmetto, yaupon holly,
liriope, pokeweed, quince, needle palm, loquat,
sweet gum, coontie, tea olive, wax myrtle,
crepe myrtle, yucca, pyracantha, pittosporum –
they rustled, sighed, bent their heads
not knowing if this was forever

That summer she left the land
the champion pecan tree from Shadrack’s time
with the excuse of a purple storm
split itself open
in a final crash into the west yard

That summer she left the land
bears walked into town
padding along South Madison Street
as if they still lived there

That summer she left the land –

A coyote yipped in Ginhouse field

Skink disappeared, reappeared,
disappeared, reappeared

A panicked juvenile cardinal
flew out from accidental entrapment
in the log cabin room
where it had battered itself against the window

That summer she left the land,
in front yard leaf litter,
one leathery brown leaf shape-shifted
into a perfect heart

Following that summer she left the land,
since she had got by without all her heart,
since Birdsong had got by without all of her heart,
she now knew –
both she and her World
would be all right
when the purple storm came again

She still
smiles her eternal smile that says
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

(a poem in celebration of Betty Komarek
January 29, 1914 – April 16, 2002)
c. 2002-2018 JGA/Jan Godown Annino
allrightsreserved