An Afternoon of Wandering


We used to go to St Augustine frequently, the historic district. I love the small hometown feeling and the friendly businesses and colorful architecture. It seems that while I was in school we hadn’t found the time to visit, so this trip would be a special treat. The weather was a cool 68 degrees upon wakening and with a high of 80 we were guaranteed a crowded day in the city. Nothing like a hearty breakfast of one pancake, one egg, one sausage, 1/2 cup of grits, and a glass of orange juice to give us the energy to get going.

My Dad is going to Alaska next summer and I would like to believe that a miracle will happen where we can too. On our way to the historic district we stop at the Outlet Mall to compare prices on some harsh-weather clothing; it seems there are some places Caleb forgot to look up online as good money-saving places to shop. While we are near all the stores we will pick up a few needed things for the kitchen.

"Fire in the hole!"

We parked in our secret free-parking spot and made the short walk to picture-city. We weren’t the only ones that hadn’t been around in over a year and were amazed at all the new art shops and construction that had been completed and newly started. There was plenty of people watching to be had. We learned of the story behind a painting of the St Augustine lighthouse; the artist had taken a helicopter ride to capture the image. We saw original work (not for sale) by Dennis M Smith Jr  for his book Swamp Hattie.

There were pre-wedding photos and bridesmaids dresses that should’ve been longer. The free wax museum is now selling tickets. There is a new statue dedicated to the foot soldiers. We walked different streets full of new plants, bugs, shops, people, and the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. We saw beautiful and affordable art and then we saw price tags of $55,000 and more and all we could think about was how many places (Alaska, Australia, Colorado River, Hong Kong) we could see for that cost.


We got to see art in the making, mason jars turned into wine glasses, and the train-friendly riders blowing their whistles while they wait to cross the street (I told the driver she had them ‘trained’). We saw more art, smelled some soaps, saw fish tanks in a gallery, and saw a Wells Fargo between a clothing boutique and a bakery. The historic district doesn’t allow all the fancy signs and billboards and doesn’t want fast food chains taking customers from the historic moment either, but I suppose big banks have enough of the consumers money to set up shop where they deem convenient.

We saw butterflies from around the world along with different size skulls of skunks, alligators, and horned creatures. There was a shop with squishy insoles for sale; perhaps if they weren’t $70 I’d have walked out with some. We had lunch at Barefoot Bill’s. Caleb ordered a bacon cheeseburger with an egg, green bell peppers, onions, lettuce, and ham on top. I’m not sure that’s everything but it was way better than the I’m-not-so-hungry, I’ll just get an appetizer of over greasy, soggy pickles to munch on with ranch dip.


To make up for the not-so-yummy lunch, we got ice cream for dessert. I got cookies ‘n cream in a cake cone and Caleb got peaches ‘n cream in a waffle cone. As we passed by the Taberna del Gallo we saw a pub crawl in progress. All the tour members got a group picture with the beer maids behind the bar. Just a peek into our favorite hot sauce place, The Pepper Palace, before deciding to call it a day.

We would arrive home to excited dogs, dirty dishes, and smelly sleeping bags. Walk and feed dogs, wash dishes, and off to the laundry mat for the first time in over five years to wash sleeping bags. There are washers for $6, $4.50, and $2.25. Ours fit in the medium. The dryer was 12 minutes for a dollar and it took us $2. The place is monitored 24 hours by camera but the guy that folds and irons leaves after 9:00pm. We were not short on entertainment. Caleb brought a book to read and I brought crosswords.

St Augustine's Finest

A minute later these two girls arrive with a two-year old in tow. The mom is too young to drink but is telling her friend about the argument that will ensue when she gets home to tell the boyfriend she is going out. The two-year old girl runs circles from inside to out and gets mom’s friend to put her in the washer. I suppose there is nothing wrong with a little fun, but being too busy with drama when your kid tells you they have to pee and then spanking them when they wet their pants – not my idea of good parenting.

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