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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

Knee count down is here as today is "the" day.  It has been a very trying and tiring week trying to get ready.  The surgery date was postponed a day which gave me some extra time to prepare but also threw my schedule off.  Most of all I have been told to not drink or eat after midnight tonight and I dread having to be thirsty that long since surgery is not until around 2 pm.  I have also been concerned about my mom who was hospitalized with a flu bug.  Although she is back home, at 91, even a cold can cause severe problems.  Keep her in your thoughts.
My favorite vendors, Kings Produce, are back to the "Downtown Farmer's Market".  It's strawberry time and they have the best.  Keep the frost off those berries, Tommy.  I will be ready for some when I get out of the hospital.

Go check the out and tell them I sent ya!
and to the story...

The sunset cooperated as I prepared for a week of family fun and one of the last days at the gallery before that week off.  Bruce is great to fill in any time I need off to spend with the family who come so far, and so seldom that I treasure each time we have these visits.

I never get tired of the sunsets from this view, the same one which was the subject of that recent painting.  Just because it is at the Ritz Carlton does not mean it is not still sale.

The City Hall, my gallery next door neighbor, reflects the setting sun as the hopes for improvement in the downtown falls into an abyss of uncertainty by city fathers, who rescinded decisions to do improvements, already voted on and approved.  In my opinion I think it was a very short sighted, but then I don't live in the city and can't vote, but I can still be mad at them.  One of my friends said, as we sat having a glass of wine, watching the sunset on the porch at Brett's Restaurant, "one of the charms of Fernandina is that it never changes, mostly because its City Council can never agree to do anything." So not all is perfect in paradise.

With the family here, staying with my sister who now lives on the island it was one of the best visits we have had.  I could stay at home, with hubby, sleep in my own bed, and still enjoy the giant slumber party going on at Sis's house.  My brother and his wife really enjoyed the close proximity to Fort Clinch, even walking, biking and running to Starbucks each day in the other direction.  My brother, being from Washington State is addicted to one of their fancy, smancy coffee drinks.  We had a new to the island guest this time, our next door neighbor growing up, so the tours of Fort Clinch had to be done by the resident guide, and turtle lady.

Orie, who grew up next door to us in Fall Branch, Tennessee, is like a member of the family, and came at our urging to accompany Mom and Aunt Helen on the flight.  It was a big deal for her to come since she is terrified of heights and would only sit in the aisle seat, flying most of the way with her eyes closed, with some calming meds to get her on the plane.  We appreciated her sacrifice.

As we did the tour it was good to be back in Fort Clinch, even on a limited visit.  The sun was low making a dramatic backdrop for the dune plants by the fishing pier.

As tour guide I exited though the back gate at the park, using my in house code, and touched on to the northern most end of the island outside the park, the circling around for a minute or two at Old Town so see the Pippi Longstocking House.  It was the abbreviated nickel tour.

One of my mom's requests was for some fresh fish while here.  I was dead set on granting that wish, but with lots of people headed in a lot of directions, tide charts, and weather conditions which were to deteriorate soon, the window of opportunity was brief.  When the time came to go, only Orie and sister-in-law Denise were willing to go with me.  Orie was a reluctant participant and only did it to not let me down.  As luck would have it, before I could get the second line baited, Orie was yelling "OMG, I think I caught one".  She landed the fish, I dehooked it tossing it back because even though it was big by fresh water standards it did not quite measure up here.  I rebaited her hook, and resumed attempting to get the second line baited.  Again I hear, "OMG, I have another one".  She was so excited and had to have a photo to verify her bragging rights to fisherman hubby back home.

We do lots of "two" things besides see the sights, and that is sitting and talking and eating and talking.  Jacksonville relatives, Nephew Chris and his family joined the party a couple of evenings.  His sister, Neice Julie, one of our favorite and few girl family members, flew in a few days to mostly aggravate her brother.  Why is it that men don't like to get their photos taken.  Photos are memories, we don't care what you look like.  It was a very relaxing time for all, especially mom, who always wants to cook and wait on us when we are visiting.  This time she was banned from the kitchen.  We only relinquished the space when she insisted she was going to make a family favorite, macaroni & cheese.

Some of us get a special diet of chicken strips when adults are eating adult? food like broccolli.

One eating adventure was to go to Mayport to visit our favorite seafood restaurant on the waterfront there, Safe Harbor.  After the ferry crossing we were very disappointed to find a sign saying the restaurant was closed for renovations and would reopen in the Spring.  The fish market is still open though.  Instead we went to Singleton's, next door, whose fame is that they have never ever washed the dirt off or painted any of the walls from the first day they opened many, many years ago.  Lots of memories stored there as well as saving money, while building character in an old rundown water's edge popular "fish camp" type of restaurant.

Just so happened it was Niece Nicki's birthday.  Old lady school marm she is now.

Brother Mike in his aviator glasses steals one of Mom's fried oysters.  The glasses are for a dry eye condition he has.  It seems he was unable to find anything but sunglasses which would give him the side protection from the drying breeze and air conditioners.  A good hint for anyone who needs that kind of glasses, he found a pair of ice climbing googles he could get outfitted in his prescription, problem solved.  We thought he should get a leather aviators cap so he could look like Snoopy when he is after the Red Baron.

It is always fun around our family.  Julie says that when asked to describe her family, instead of saying they are smart, sophistigated, or elegant she just says "crazy".  As Julia Sugarbaker said, "I'm saying this is the South and we are proud of our crazy people.  We don't hide them up in the attic, we bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off.  See, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family.  They just ask what side they're on."

It took a lot of food to feed those who came and went but in usual family style it was still way too much and we ended up with a fridge full of leftovers.  Much of which I later froze for the days when I will not feel like standing in the kitchen.  Putting food together was always a fun filled time in the kitchen with all pitching in.  Men were often on clean up detail and there is no one who can dirty more dishes cooking than a Jones girl.

Looks like brother Mike is caught with his hand in the food jar again.  Pistacios this time.  Thankfully I was behind the camera so my numerous reaches in the bag were not recorded.

Opps, now the chocolate kisses.  That will require another lap to the pier and back.

We accept lovingly and openly those who are not family as full fledged members.  Nicki's one and only, Bobby gives Orie a nice shoulder and neck massage.  Much needed after reeling in all those fish.  The line forms to his left.

Son, Eric, has met his grandmother in Orlando on the front end of the trip while David and Rizza and granddog Bella were able to make it up to the island for a day and night toward the end.  You can see poor Bella's boo boo.  Her front leg was broken just after her last trip up here.  She still has several weeks to go in the cast, but she doesn't let it slow her down very much.

A Low County boil for about 25 people rounded out the eating marathon.  Local Fernandina shrimp of course.  I decided to turn the picture taking over to someone else for a change since I am never in any of them.  Want my face recorded for memory time some too...

The Jones Girls.

The family (except for Bruce) that was there that night.  Of course you know how it is with men, don't like to see themselves in photos.

Adoring sister with baby brother and one of the few greats in the family, great grand children that is.  The other two are up in Minnesota and were not able to make it this time.

Reagan and I collaborated on a painting which was given to Grandmother Mimi/Sister Susan for her birthday.  Reagan, who is quite the artist herself, had not seen the finished product and was very happy with the end result.

The weather had turned chilly toward the end of their stay so bundling up in my 40+ year old, soft snuggly quilt was a feel good moment in more ways than one.  

It was a great visit, with family members all coming and going and not were ever together at any of the events but Mom got to see all her grandkids that Susan and I provided her with along with all of her children but one.  We made lots of memories to treasure.

Two other crazy men in my life who are and always to be missed, my dad on the right, who has been gone for many years, and my old pastor and almost family, of 40 some years.  The photo was taken at mine and Bruce's wedding 24 years ago.  These two men who were such an important part of my life both gone now.  R. V. Wells passed away last week.  One of the most unique men I have ever known, from football coach to minister he most of all loved people, no matter who or where they came from.  R. V. had aged a lot but this is how I like to remember both him and my dad at this stage in their lives, the images I see in my mind when I head back into memory lane.  Two men who celebrated a sense of humor and being a little bit crazy in this world of serious issues.  Always good to laugh and both of them could do that for you.  Many stories flood the memory involving humor, wit, and practical jokes that made them both the unique men that they were.

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)

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