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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell

The Golden Girls had gone back home after being gone from there for what seemed like an eternity to them. It was a time that I will treasure for the opportunity it was for me to spend that much time with them.  Not something I had expected to do but glad that I could.  While they were arriving back in Fall Branch, Bruce and I took a breath of being free of responsibilities after over two months and since we did not have to rush right home, went to the waterfront to see what all the rest of the town was all abuzz about.   

The International Petanque Championship, the largest Pentanque tournament in the USA, was being played here in our little town just at closing time for the gallery.  A game that is similar to several games of various countries, Boules, Bonche Ball, and some others.  But Pentanque is the game our island has adopted as its own.  This was the two teams which were slated to compete in the championship game as a friendly rivalry an fun sportsmanship was the atmosphere.

The courts are located in the riverfront parking lot just down the street from my gallery, a spot all of you are familiar with as it is my favorite spot to grab a good sunset as I close out the day.

The game is played on a gravel surface which at other times doubles as parking, except for the courts that stay in place for the local club to use each week.  The equipment is very simply so anyone can afford to play.  A Boule and a Pig.  The Boule is a stainless steel ball.  The Pig is a small brightly colored ball of wood.

A round ring serves as the spot the player must stand to toss his Boule.  Once this spot is determined and the Pig tossed to its spot it can't be moved.  Each player must make his tosses from this spot.  Players have their own "form" for tossing the ball, partly is determined on what your objective is going to be.  Are you trying to place your bowle in the best spot which is closest to the Pig or are you trying to knock the begeebies out of your opponent's Boule so that he no longer has a "winning position".  These international competitors are very good at that.  In one demo one of these players hit the Boule 50 times straight.

The town is very proud of it Petanque Club which is now the largest local club in the USA.

The object of course is to get your ball (Boule) closest to the Pig at the end of the game.  Points are scored accordingly

The "form" of an excellent player, who just happens to be the guy who is "the" dead eye who can hit 50 Boules in a row without missing.

It is an exacting game and full of stradgy and fun.  The players determine just how close they are to decide what route to take to bring home the trophy.

It is a game which does reward skill but lack of does not disqualify those who play, even if they do not possess the ability to hit a ball from some absurd distance 50 times in a row.  Old people can play as it does not require any great physical condition.   Kids can play with adults.  it is a game of fun and fellowship and being part of something much bigger than the local weekend game. You are a Petanque player and enthusiast.  A very unique sport.  Thanks to all who came from such faraway places to give us a touch of being part of an international group.  You can find this whole tournament if you click on the following links.  The first one is the first half of the championship game and the second half is this link  .  Happy watching, you will learn a lot about the game.  I won't even tell you who wins.

When I looked up I saw the rays as they separated through the gaps in the clouds telling me that there might be something special happening behind me also.

As I turn around and decide to spend part of my time monitoring the sunset whose colors are beginning to show some promise for a pretty sunset.

The colors behind the game are proving to be as much an attraction as the Pentanque Championship. with many different accents chatting about the wonderful color and aiming their camera phones with it in their sights.

As is often the case the sunset itself if one show and the 5 or 10 minutes afterward give a whole different show even though they share the same stage.

A much more pastel world but none the less beautiful.

It keeps changing for at least 30 minutes.

It has been a good time for finding fossils on the beach and I even found some nice sharks teeth to boot.  The funny looking piece beside the dime and the sharks tooth is the mouth plate of a puffer fish.  Lisa was very envious of that but then I was envious of the fossilized crab claw she found.

Time has a way of moving at a very fast pace especially when you have too much to do.  Suddenly it was Thanksgiving and the opening of The Christmas Season.  As is usual the Ritz has a Tree Lighting the night before Thanksgiving.  It is a well attended event with the whole community invited.

Santa no longer arrived via the White horse drawn carriage but in a little red pickup truck.  Not sure the reason.  I still remember the day when Santa parachuted onto the beach from a plane.  Then in the next few seconds he appeared on the top floor of the Hotel, then a few seconds later the spotlight showed Santa walking across the lawn to the stage.  It was all quite magical, but there was always the risk factor of loosing Santa with a night time parachute opening (or not opening) onto the beach with either a landing in the water or worst still to have a splatted Santa on the beach with all the towns children watching.

Santa flips a switch and it is the signal that the time for the Holiday Season has begun.

Another change was that the days with the time change, became a time for catching the sunsets, which happened about the same time my gallery was slated to end its day. Not that I ever get ready to leave right at 5 o'clock.  This one I almost ran to the waterfront but missed the full blaze of the lower clouds that was there  in the beginning.

As the sun sank behind the horizon the show was the brightness of the higher layer of clouds and if the lower clouds had not been there it would have been quite spectacular.  It is this lower light which can wash the water with its color.

 It would be a different Christmas and Thanksgiving with me being way behind and the rigors of running a business and keeping up with the season demands, left me with a lot of catching up to do. There is so much that only I can do, like the glass light catcher/ornaments I make, no one else can do those, not even the firing, because it is something only I can determine by look and a total judgment call as to when it is time to stop the heating.   And my Mother-in-Law is coming for Christmas.  Whew, this is the same lady who when Bruce took me to introduce me to her for the first time, told me that she had an alarm that goes off should a single icicle should fall off the tree and hit the floor.  Yep, lots to do.

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