Our most recent excursion found My Jane and Me about 2 hours south of Kissimmee on route 17 in a town named Arcadia, County Seat of DeSoto County. Antiques were the focus of this adventure. If you want to ‘OD’ on antiques I recommend Arcadia, Florida. We spent the best part of two days on West Oak Street looking at stuff that used to be something important to someone else. We gazed at china and porcelain, glasses of every color and design, vinyl records and metal signs. We viewed wall hangings that no one should ever hang and Highwaymen paintings ‘way out’ of our price range. The Highwaymen are a well-known ‘gang’ of African-American artist who painted Florida scenes in the 1950s to the 1980s. Their use of vivid bright colors created a unique style that catches your attention in a hurry. The antique shops are what looks like was once the ‘main street’ of Arcadia. The present business district may be found about a mile to the east, on the opposite side of the courthouse on route 70. As happened in so many communities the business moved out of the downtown and relocated in a more advantageous location. Fortunately, some shop owners understand what is going on. (The sign beside my head reads; Husband Day Care Center, Please Take a Seat)
We ate lunch at Mary Margaret’s Tea and Biscuits both days we were in town. Eating at Mary Margaret’s is more than an eating experience. Visiting this eatery is a trip into the past, from the host who greets you wearing a top hat and tails to the turn of the 20th century decor, to the teapot napkin rings and the tea biscuits shaped like tea pots. One of My Jane’s favorite activities while she was engaged in the quilt shop was the annual Tea Parties. Well, let me tell you, My Jane was delighted with our adventure at Margaret’s. The food was fantastic (I had a cup of seafood bisque the first day which became a bowl of seafood bisque the second day. Ummm Ummm Good! The restaurant is located just off Oak St in what might have been a hotel or department store in another lifetime.
DeSoto County is named after Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto. DeSoto is believed to have been the first European to lead an expedition deep into modern-day United States of America. His expedition traveled through Florida, Georgia Alabama and probably Arkansas.
Heading home after the over dose of antiques we passed through Ft. Meade where every Pittsburgh Pirate baseball fan must at least pause. Andrew McCutchen was born and raised in Ft Meade. “Cutch” is the baseball star who almost by himself resurrected a baseball franchise that hadn’t seen a winning season for almost three decades. I didn’t see “Cutch” but everyone around the store (reportedly the store once belonged to McCuthen’s grandfather.) was happy to share with me that they were friends of the baseball player. Bring on spring training and ‘Let’s Go Buc’s’. It is a little bit shocking to realize that “Cutch’s” MVP year happened almost four years ago.
During this trip I was reminded, again, how the usefulness of ‘stuff’ doesn’t last very long. Something that once was central in a person’s life is now relegated to a shelf or floor in an antique shop. The ways we think about life and society also have a tendency to outlive their usefulness. Some ideals that once were accepted but have been relegated to an antique shelf include; The earth is flat. The Sun revolves around the earth. Slavery of a race of people is okay. Separate but equal. Outhouses. Humankind can never fly. The white race is superior to other races. French as the international language. Manifest Destiny. Women should not have the right to vote. The earth is full of unlimited resources. Smog from pollution is not harmful to people.
Admittedly, most of those antique ideals did not go away without a struggle. It seems we human beings have great difficulty trashing stuff that is no longer useful or beneficial. However, it is essential that we discard those ideals which do not enhance life in our present time. An ideal is not ‘truth’ because we grew up believing it was true. It is our daily task to test our ideals and be courageous enough to discard that which is detrimental to our society and the world.
Here is my short list of ideals that need to be trashed. Illegal Mexicans are rapist and criminals taking American jobs. (Come on Man!) The Muslim goal is to kill Christians. (The goal for most Muslims is not to be killed by radical extremest in their own faith.) Immigrants are coming to America to kill us. (They are not now and never have.) Putting more money into the pockets of the wealthy will create more jobs. (This economic plan has never worked.) Environmental regulations are harmful to job creation. (They create jobs.) Universal Health Care is a bad thing. (We are the only developed Nation who thinks providing health care for its citizens is a bad idea.) America First. (This ideal puts us at odds with the entire world, a world which we need to make this planet a safer, healthier place for our children and grandchildren.
Now, appears to be a great time for us to discard some worn out useless ideals in our National thinking.