Tuesday, February 28, 2006

06-11 5 Points Alabama, Ruth and Ray Hemrick Visit

(11) On The Road Again
West Point, Alabama
5 Points, Alabama
The Ruth and Ray Hemrick “Estate”

I’m staying at an Army Corp of Engineers campground on West Point Lake.

Friends. I remember Oprah saying one time that a person is lucky if they had 2 close friends. Maybe even just one. Well anyone would be lucky to be able to call Ruth and Ray their friends. On my trip heading north, Ok, I’m a bit slow in getting up north, but when I had an opportunity to visit with Ruth who I worked with over a couple of years at NAWCTSD, and her husband Ray, how could I by-pass such an opportunity!

Sitting out under an arbor with a springy porch swing, surrounded by what, 4 or 5 gardens filled with wonderful flowering plants, vegetables, and who knows what else, I was able to get reacquainted with two wonderful 5 Pointers.

They moved from Orlando, as many of us have, and ended up in 5 Points Alabama. A short distance from Rays brothers and sister. A yellow blinking light, a post office and one or two small shops. That’s it. They’re the second house in town. With a “new” 3 car garage.

Ray and Ruth are working their pattooties off making the place into a House and Garden Home. It looks like it came out of the pages of an HG magazine. Though I’ve got to tell you, they’ve got to learn how to take time off and enjoy their new life in 5 Points. What they’ve created is truly a designer home that’s over 100 years old, with all the charm of bead board ceilings and walls, 5 fireplaces, yellow pine floors polished so brightly you can see yourself in them.

I’ve seen beautiful furniture, but theirs fit’s the home like it was designed by the best designer from N.Y. Atlanta or Charlotte, antiques and new furniture from the best stores in Highpoint N.C. This is no shabby sheik home. Best of all, it’s a warm home with sunny glassed in porches, a master suite with separate sitting room and on suite, and the lounge off of the sunny kitchen.

But we gravitate back to the outdoors to sit and talk, surrounded by those gardens, under the tree. Cows in the pasture beyond, a couple riding their horses past the house, black neighbors waving and giving morning greetings.

We take a ride in the country, past Baptist Churches on every corner, well kept homes and old worn out homes, still filled with character and charm. Their weather beaten siding and brick foundations holding up for one more year. A bridge over a cascading waterfall with a water wheel next to an old mill that now houses weekly antique auctions. Winding roads that hypnotize one into feeling that life should flow to a different rhythm than most of us lead.

The best of conversation with friends that share their new life with you and you with them. The scandal of them being Republican and Catholic in a Democratic and can we say heavily Baptist community. And me a Democrat and Spiritualist and free thinker being a friend of theirs. Wonders never cease.

So how do you top an day with the Hemrick’s ? You Have them over the following evening to the campground (to visit the La Casa Grande’ Del Sole De Doug) for cocktails (they brought the wine) a few munchies and then off to the Marina to the Key West Restaurant for dinner and music. Kind of fun. Patio dining overlooking the harbor with the red and white striped light house off in the distance on the peninsula opposite the boat docks. The sun finally setting after a hot day.

Our keyboard player did some standard songs as we ordered BBQ chicken, pork and quesadillas. And I’ve gotta tell you, the prices were very reasonable. $21.00 for three meals and ice tea.

So do we make an impression or influence each others lives? I had to laugh when Ruth told me after our conversation the other day about how I only do one chore a day and give myself the rest of the day to play and explore life. They telling me how they have been working non stop on their home, 7 days a week without hardly a single break.

Well, after I left, the next day, Ray and Ruth decided to enjoy a bit of their new “retired” lifestyle and not only sat back and enjoyed the day, but actually took in an afternoon nap for the first time in over a year! Ruth said they were actually giddy about taking a nap. Makes me kind of proud that I’ve been able to share a different perspective on life to two very hard working friends. As I told Ray, only doing one chore a day still adds up to 365 chores a year and that’s a lot! Now if he’ll take the time to get that boat out in the water, I’ll truly know I’ve made an impact!

Alabama Note: Alabama has a about a dozen covered bridges through the state and they are clearly marked on the official state map.

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