Enjoying Mediocrity with Coconut Pete at the Turtle Races

In the 1960’s there was a popular television series called The Beverly Hillbillies. In it Uncle Jed, a poor mountaineer, lived a peaceful, mediocre life in the mountains before striking it rich one day. That day was when “Texas Tea” bubbled up from his ground when he was shootin’ at some food. On moving to “Californy”, he and his family found a whole new world of swimmin’ pools and movie stars.

IMG_0906Similar to the Hillbillies, my good friend “Coconut Pete” moved to Florida where he found a whole new life in which he could go back in time to a simpler way of living the way Florida used to be.

One of his favorite hangouts is “Bert’s Bar and Grill” in Matlacha where every Saturday evening turtle races are held. This is my story about Coconut Pete’s favorite saying “enjoying mediocrity” and the turtle races at Bert’s.

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part IV, The Final Episode

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Giant Plastic Pumpkin in Hendersonville, NC

Several months ago I began my ongoing tale about the exploits of my brother and several of his neighbors to grow giant pumpkins in their North Carolina neighborhood. This blog story is the final one in the series about the adventures of the pumpkin growers and their gourds.

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A Fireworks Display for My 100th Story

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Statue in Mijas Pueblo, Spain

During the past five years I have blogged about my adventures and observations of places, people and their cultures. To my surprise, my stories have been read by people in 73 countries around the world!

The worker statue in Mijas Pueblo in Spain reminds me that most of my stories sprang from adventures and explorations. These adventures began on the side of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Spain.

This story, my 100th, is like a fireworks display… lighting up the sky with brilliant flashes with loud blasts! It commemorates those stories that I find most enjoyable.

This story is dedicated to those who have encouraged and inspired me to write and to those who read what I have written.

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part III, Hail to the Leaf

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Terry Buettner with “Donald Trumpkin” (photo by Loretta Buettner)

The past few weeks in the mountains of Western North Carolina have not been very conducive to growing giant pumpkins. This area is right on the southern edge of where these giants will grow best.

The vines in my brother Dave’s patch have withered under the intensity of the heat. His gourds stopped growing.

However, pumpkins at the Buettner’s (neighbors mentioned in Part II of this ongoing tale), have grown a bit. “Hope” is a beautiful orange globe-shaped pumpkin and is now about 107 pounds.

The Buettners also have a new kid on the block which is already 70 pounds. His name is “Donald Trumpkin.”

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part II, The Competitors

4801020c1fb3bd7fb49bdf919f91b985If you asked me, there are interesting happenings going on in Loretta Buettner’s garden in Flat Rock, North Carolina. In Part I of this ongoing saga, I told you about my brother growing giant pumpkins in his front yard. He is not alone in his community.

It turns out that growing these behemoths  is a really big deal! Take a look at this video!

One of the characteristics I see in Loretta and Terry Buettner’s giant pumpkin “Hope” is the symmetry of the gourd. If this baby continues to grow at the rate it has been, I think that the next Cinderella’s carriage pumpkin could be in the works!

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Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part I, Great Expectations

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(c) Town and Country Magazine

My brother Dave is a bit eccentric like Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future. Like Doc Brown, Dave is an intelligent inventor. Dave has several ambitious, ongoing projects like bouncing radio signals off the moon, developing radio communications using lightbulbs as antennae, and communicating with the International Space Station.

When Dave is involved in a project he does the research and becomes very knowledgeable. Often he pushes boundaries of “the envelope.” Growing giant pumpkins is one of his intense projects. This story is Part I  about this 2019 adventure.

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A Final Resting Place… Maybe

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Thomas Wolfe’s Inspiration for Look Homeward Angel

Years ago I was intrigued watching an historic church’s cemetery being removed. Although I knew nobody buried in this particular cemetery, it saddened me to think that a parcel of land deemed to be sacred as a “final resting place” for an earthly body had been identified as being more useful to those above ground.

It was even more striking to me when it became apparent later that the need to reuse the cemetery plot was for a parking lot for a Burger King.

I had long forgotten about this particular occurrence in my life until recently I learned of an even more dramatic (at least to me it is dramatic) similar event which occurred in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where I now reside.

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