Monday, August 27, 2018

Lucky Enough

If you are lucky enough to live on the water, 
you are lucky enough.
Unknown Author

I was upstairs when the doorbell rang. It was too late for the mail lady to be delivering, and most everybody else would text before dropping by. I could see thru the blinds that she was turning to leave by the time I opened the door.

She was young and petite. It was hard to say how young. She was old enough to drive, old enough to have multiple tattoos and a small nose ring. Her eyes were dark pools, her curls were of silky brown hair, and her smile was as soft as a child's. "Girl" seemed right for the short shorts and half T shirt.

She turned abruptly as I opened the door. I must have looked puzzled, because she immediately started to introduce herself, or rather her mission, as she wrung her hands.

"I know this is going to seem weird, I mean, I don't usually do anything like this. I hate to interrupt you but I just thought I might take a chance. I mean, if you were nice enough to give me a few minutes. Would you mind if I took a quick look, I mean, could I ask...." I opened the door wider and backed up to usher her in.

"I grew up spending every summer here with my grandmother. Everyday between the end of school and the beginning of the next year I was here.....WOW! This looks incredible! Wow! It looks so different!"

 "You remember that the deck used to go all the way around", I said. We just enclosed the part that was covered to add a dining space, and more room for the kitchen."

"I almost thought you had turned the house around. But yeah, I used to ride my bike around and around the deck".

We spent a little time talking about the new kitchen we had put in last year. Yes, she noticed the front of the house looked different but she still recognized it. When we bought the house, was that big square chopping block still there? Are Mr Jim and Miss Betty still next door? His brother? I like your garden.  Do you like flowers? My grandmother really liked flowers. That room right there was my room. The one with the glass doors overlooking the water.

"I came here every summer until I was about 12 or 13. Then my grandmother and my step-grandfather got a divorce. I never saw this house again." A pause as she looked around a little more.

"Would you mind if I went out on the back deck?"

"No, sure, come on." I led her across the living room and we walked out to the water side of the house.

"Oh, it looks just the same as I remember it. It is so beautiful."

Then a look back at me. "I was on my way to pick up my grandmother. She lives in Harlowe now. My mother is getting married again this weekend."

Then a look out again at the water. "I was having a really bad day. So on the way I just decided to stop by here. I knew it was a long shot, but I just had to try it. Thank you so much for letting me see it again."

Another far away look, so I said, "Why don't you just spend a little time reminiscing. I can leave you alone out here".

"Oh, would you mind? That is so nice of you. If I could just have a few minutes, it would be so helpful." She sat down on the top step, knees to elbows, head on hands, and stared out at the water.

I went back inside and sat down at the computer. I had never heard anyone talk about a grandchild in this house. I knew about the couple, the ugly divorce, then finally the death of the man. Wonder what had gone wrong today?

I glanced back out at the steps. Rain had moved my visitor from the step to the porch swing, but her gaze had not changed. She moved the swing a bit as if riding the ripples in the water. She almost seemed to hold her breath, diving deep and long before surfacing; then deep again.

At this pace, I began to wonder if she had lost track of time; maybe if she would even be able to walk away. Then I heard the back door open, and her cheerful voice say, "Thank you so much for letting me spend a while here. It was just what I needed."

She walked across the room and out the front door, down the steps and across the yard to her car. I don't think she ever turned back to look again. Whatever it was, she left it here. She wasn't fighting it anymore. She must have learned how to do that from the water long ago, when emotions were fluid and flexible.

I walked back out onto the deck and smiled. My soul is already sticky and stiff and I am just learning. Feels like maybe I am on the right track in the right place. 

“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.” 
― Anthony DoerrAll the Light We Cannot See

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


“My heart is strong, 
I will not fail, 
I won't be wronged, 
I will prevail.” 

― Alexandra LancLyrics of the Heart

I've been taken. Duped, fooled, suckered. I fell for the con about this time two years ago, and it has taken a huge amount of my time and energy since. It's like I'm slowly moving thru the 7 stages of grief, only I can't quite read what the next one is supposed to be. Closure and Acceptance will be nice....if I ever get there.
Getting ready to move from Georgia to North Carolina was a big deal. We were closing down a business that had been my life, my love and my livelihood for over 25 years. We were selling the property that held countless unique and sentimentally valuable plants.  We were leaving the house we designed and built on our own; the one that would be our last house ever, we thought.
To get that done took a lot of re-imagining, a lot of re-planning, and a lot re-organizing of convictions, sensibilities, and perspectives.
But, on the other hand, moving could be a good big deal. If we could manage the physical and mental move, we would be going to live and love the salt life at the coast. We could be downsizing the stuff of our lives in exchange for the grand babies that would fill our hearts. If we could just hold our breaths for about 12 months and get it done, we would be good. I made it for about 11 months. It was a bit of a struggle letting go. All the emotion coming and going was building to that final month. Time was getting short. Decisions needed to be made.  It was the band aid I just had to rip off, hoping the pain would go away quickly.

One of the very last things I had to do after moving but before actually closing on the sale of the house was to have an estate sale. We had some nice furniture and antiques, some silver, china and glassware that should have sold pretty easily. It mainly amounted to things that I would just not have room for in the new place at the coast. So it would be nice to pull in a few bucks for this or that, but mainly I needed to be done. So I started looking for someone to run an estate sale for us.
Then I slipped.

Looking back now, I was stupid; and willfully stupid. I did not want to face the final separations. I just wanted someone to come in and take care of it all. I wanted to look away; to be forced to stay away. And boy, did she know that. She was based nearby. She said all the right things about my stuff. She said her husband was a UGA professor. She said she could do the sale before the closing.
I asked a few questions. I checked out her husband at UGA. I stopped asking questions. I signed the contracts. Stupid.

At first it seemed like everything would be fine. Joe packed up his final loads and finished the move. Kathy Dove started staging the remaining items in the house. We would let her run the sale, take remaining items on consignment, and clean out the house before the closing. All that seemed to go according to plan, and the house did present itself clean and empty when we arrived for final walk just before the buyers. I was almost done holding my breath.

In the next month I got "the package" from the sale. Not a lot of money, a sheet scrawled with vague items sold, pictures of what furniture supposedly went to consignment, and a note full of excuses about the inventory not quite of her main guys was in the hospital....she would get it to me soon.....she would be sending monthly checks and reports on the consignment items.

So the weeks went on into months, and I started writing emails asking about the inventory and money she owed me. I even mentioned recommending her to our real estate agents hoping she might respond better. Well, that did get her to respond with a tiny check and a big goosh. But after that, for 6 months I got nothing.

By then we were really moved and settling in. Life was good on the coast. I really wasn't worried about the money. But I was nagged by the idea that I had been fooled; that I had trusted without verifying.

The story goes on from here, but the queasy feeling remained. I have retold each excruciating detail to myself a thousand fold....mostly in the middle of the night. The long story short version is that I took back what was left of the consignment. Much had "sold" without being paid. I made myself sit down with the original sale list only to find that many, if not most, of the expensive, choice items were unaccounted for. As she said to an undercover reporter just last week, "She was a picker before it was cool to be a picker, and she got most of her good stuff from estate sales".

From there I made myself go through everything in order to prepare to sue in Magistrate's court. She avoided service. I found a way to have the Secretary of State accept the service for her company. She did not pick up her certified letter. That meant she missed her allotted to to respond. I got a judgment. She renamed her company for the third time, and started over again. I had her shut down on the national estate sale advertising websites with that judgment. She still continued locally. I wrote bad reviews everywhere I could think of. I wrote the BBB. I contacted the trade organization for legit estate sales companies. Somewhere in here folks started contacting me about their experiences. I was not the only one fooled, cheated, frustrated. Each story held different details, but all shared the theme.

The struggle continues. It's still not about the money. It's about owning my mistakes. It's about not being the victim. It's also about working with other women who won't be victims. It's also gotten to be about law enforcement's reluctance to help us fight; about the bad guys and good guys; self esteem; the truth. I have learned a lot about the law. It's not perfect. It's not a straight line. I am beginning to see how using the law, even in this insignificant way, is more art, study and creativity.

So where am I now? I am trying to pursue and let go all at the same time. I am trying to support the group. I am fighting disappointment and relishing success each step of the way. I am leaning on my friends and family for good times, and hoping to improve. Hey, I am trying to remember..... that's life.

 "If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid." 

Epictetus, Greek philosopher

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Great Pine Needle Basket Caper

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.
If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.

Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant.
Steven Anderson

It all started innocently enough. A friend had been making wonderful art and baskets out of longleaf pine needles for a good while. A few times a year she offers a class on pine needle basketry at the Beaufort History Museum. I signed up for the class with a couple of other friends, and we arrived on the appointed morning ready to learn. Well, let me take that back. They were ready. I was completely unprepared. I did not bring a pocket book since I had a ride; no pen, no paper to take notes. I did not even think to bring my glasses to see the up close stitching I was supposed to be doing.
I spent a little time catching up by borrowing as much as I could, and calling my husband for an emergency glasses delivery. Finally I was ready to go, trying to get into the swing of the things. The process is time consuming and painstaking at first. But with friendly chatter, helpful oversight by our teacher, patience and glasses, we managed to pump out a sweet little basket each by the end of class. One little basket, and we were all hooked.

From there we took all sorts of directions. There were twines to source and buy, colors to pick, stitching needles to find, plastic straws to cut, bases to slice or invent. These items would come to me from one of our group before I had even thought about it. She'd tracked down everything we might need on Amazon, and packed the full set of supplies in a handy, homemade pouch. I was still working from behind.

Then of course there were pine needles to gather. First, we had to locate Longleaf Pines. They are usually found in areas nearer the southeastern coast, and I was sure I could spot them easily. We got some hints during class, and ended up one day in beach chairs under large longleafs chatting, collecting and bundling brown needles.

But what about green needles? Didn't we need some of those to dry as light tan additions to weave or dye? 

So that sent us off in search of shorter longleaf trees.  There were a few spots here and there with trees, but very often the green needles were not within reach. So we branched out to find hiking spots with large areas of longleaf pines that were protected, periodically burned, and otherwise controlled to safeguard the ecosystem. One of these spots was the Nature Conservancy's Green Swamp Preserve. 
                                                                                                                     We found Pitcher Plants, Sundew and Venus Flytrap growing among the wiregrass, sphagnum moss and cranberries. We located the burrows of gopher tortoise, identified  other plants in the mix, and found small, medium and larger sized Longleaf seedlings coming up after the burns.

 Armed with our collection bags, we secretly harvested green needles from unsuspecting juvenile trees to stash as bundles in boxes at home. 
Since then we've hiked in other Longleaf areas. The habitats have been different. Some are sandhills, some are swamps. Wherever we go, we now notice the differences in the look of pines. 

We watch each other's backs as we snatch more handfuls of green needles.  Imagine old women patrolling the back roads for seedling sightings, loitering under power lines, laughing over the loot, savoring our simple successes. No matter what the setting, these majestic trees stand silently over us, offering up needles for baskets and lessons of ecosystems, evolution, and stewardship. 

Now we're in search of interesting basket bases. Perhaps fired clay slabs from a friend's new pottery studio? Or maybe slices of a cedar trunk, or a driftwood log? So many ideas to explore.

 One little basket. That's all I've made so far. But I have so much more to show for it. 

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
 John Muir

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


 “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

It's that time of year when one looks back on the last months to reflect on past and present blessings. I should do this much more often, I know. But at least this holiday makes me sit down and focus. 
At the top of the list, I must recognize those I lost this year. Dear friends Charlotte and Becky were two of the most special women I have ever know. I miss them both, and think often of their generosity, strength, and enthusiasm. Each in their own ways gave me  plenty of  reasons to be happy, and ways to work towards being a better person.

What I gained this year is almost hard to keep up with. After much planning, saving, and finally doing, we now have a fabulous new kitchen. While that in itself should not be held in such high esteem, the visions of many a dinner party with our wonderful and growing numbers of friends here make me smile at the thought. I know both Charlotte and Becky would like that idea, too.  We still have a little work to do here and there, but the dining room is now set for more than two, and the new views also include my young little garden. Yes, the deer continue to browse, or worse. But I continue to plant persistently, and hopefully.

I've learned a few things over this past year. Still in reference to those pesky deer, I am sorting out again the REALLY deer resistant plants. I hope to make greater strides yet. 
I am also beginning to learn the habits and tastes of the fish in the area. This has been a slow process, but one that makes me use my senses, and also makes me pay attention to the smallest cues.

It also gets me out and into the gorgeous world around us.  Joe and I have learned to enjoy these small moments together, and the occasional big moments with a keeper on the line. And let me tell you....I am beginning to understand what the fishing bug is. The thrill of a big hit followed by the struggle of pulling in a big fish is exhilarating. It keeps you wanting to do it again. 

On a completely different plane, I have been learning how hard it is to paint with watercolor. The process makes you have to see things inside out or backwards. Light goes first, not structure. Shadow takes it's cue from light. Subject matter slowly appears, and color takes a thousand variations and repetitions. I think I am learning how to see it, if not actually reproduce it.

I've also taught a few things this year, mostly to my adorable grandchildren. Olive and I dug and planted her first garden in October. She'll have tulips in spring, and maybe a few veggies this fall before the brutal Massachusetts winter fully blankets them. Walden and I have had some cooking adventures. Chocolate cake, chocolate icing, peeled shrimp, and chocolate mousse are all things we've cooked and enjoyed. (You see the theme here, I'm sure) We also helped him catch his first fish!

I went to a Bucket List Concert with Katie and Walden- Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Joan Baez! It was outside, with good seats, good food, and the very best of songs and harmonies. 
I have also happened on to some accidental moments that will be wonderful additions to that bucket full of memories. I've made some quick visits to see Walden this fall. Twenty four hours doesn't seem like much, but they have been chunks of pure joy for both of us. One little piece included the Touch A Truck event. More construction equipment than one could imagine, and all available to sit in and climb on. 
We've also learned that visits to see Olive can also be glorious spring and fall visits to the Berkshires with a small amount of planning. 
We have really enjoyed our season tickets to the Chamber Music Concert Series here, and feel fortunate to have access to world class musicians in "chamber" sized venues to enjoy the very best classical music. 

I have been blessed with many wonderful friends over the years, so I needed no expectations when we moved. But I now see one of the best gems of all, that I never imagined I would want, would be the fun of Friday night Russian Rummy with my GFFs. Maybe it's the food, or the drink, the competition, or the occasional extra jokers.... What am I talking about?? It's the companionship, the generosity of spirit, THE LAUGHTER!!
It has been a good year overall. I love where we are in life. And I am so grateful for every miracle moment.

  “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Old Gardener, New Deer Tricks- the REAL Story of Deer Resistance

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. 
Benjamin Franklin

Deer hoof print
I have had a great time gardening in my own garden in the last year. I am learning about perennials, salt tolerance, wind tolerance, rock gardening, storm surge, sand as soil, flowering rotations, and anger management. Yes, anger management. On any given day, I don't need the North Koreans, Democrats or Republicans to start my day off wrong. All I need to do is to walk out into my infant garden to see what was chomped the night before. Mind you, I have spent hours and hours choosing from "Deer Resistant" lists, although always noting the caveat that deer "might" nibble on just about anything with starvation pressures. But here we are in the middle of a lush summer, with the woods spreading out behind me for miles.
I have resorted to caging some plants, netting others, and even spraying the rest, all with spotty results at best.
My years in psychology push me to inquire....What do deer really want? Is it the tender leaf? Is it the newly planted gem? Is it the one that has gotten knee high, or those ground covers that can be hoovered up with a sway of the head? Psychology is perfectly subjective enough to answer this question. It seems that the deer only want what I want- nothing more, nothing less. They will bypass a large delicious place filler for the insignificant deer resistant gomphrena seedlings
Gomphrena globosa 'QIS Orange'
 I had nursed from their package to the "nip-it-in" the bud stage. I planted the deer resistant Scabiosa seedlings among the established Artemesia 'Silver Brocade'
Scabiosa atropurpurea and Artemesia 'Silver Brocade'
to protect them early on. That worked well until the monsters decided it was a delicious combination, and razed the entire bed. Last fall I had the brilliant idea of sowing poppies in the empty spaces I hoped to fill up in spring. Deer "never" touch poppies. Yet the "million seed" mix I purchased never produced one uneaten flower from any species but Eschscholzia californica- the California poppy- (hope it seeds in!!)
They'll wait until the night before I plan to make pesto for a company dinner to take every leaf of the sweet basil,
Sweet Basil
and, for good measure, pick most of the purple basil leaves off and spit them on the ground. They'll try to fake me out by just snipping off the new, very yellow tops of Sedum 'Angelina' or the red of
Sedum 'Sun Sparkler Firecracker'
Sedum 'Sunsparkler Firecracker', so as to make me wonder what happened to the color over night. And, hey- Martha Stewart, my Salvia elegans (pineapple sage)
Salvia elegans
was 2 1/2 ' when it started. Hasn't been over 5" since, and gets regularly mowed, leaves, stems and all. Yucca 'Color Guard', Hesperaloe parviflora flower stalk
Hesperaloe parviflora
, Sedum 'Sunsparkler Firecracker', Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Akame', Asclepias 'Gay Butterflies', Amsonia hubrichtii, Coreopsis 'Zagreb', Bronze Fennel, French Tarragon, Heliotropium arborescens....all mowed down; all "deer resistant". 
So I am making my own list, based on completely unscientific, but replicated trials of my own. That's the list I think we need.
I would love your feedback, too.



Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’
Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Duke Gardens’
Edgeworthia chrysantha
Illicium parviflorum ‘Florida Sunshine’
Juniperus virginiana ‘Hillspire’
Malvaviscus arboreus var drummondii
Michelia (Magnolia) figo
Spiraea thunbergia ‘Ogon’


Acorus gramineus ‘Oborozuki’
Agastache rupestris
Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’
Allium tuberosum
Ardisia crenata
Carex elata
Carex glauca ‘Blue Danube’
Colocasia esculenta
Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’
Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’
Crinum species
Crocosmia x ‘Lucifer’
Disporum cantoniense
Epimedium sulphureum
Euphorbia myrsinites
Euphorbia robbiae
Euphorbia wulfenii
Farfugium gigantean
Festuca glauca ‘Boulder Blue’
Iris germanica cvs
Iris louisiana ‘C’est Magnifique’
Iris tectorum
Juncus effusus
Molinia caerulea ‘Strahlenquelle’
Nasella tenuissima
Nepeta faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’
Osmunda regalis
Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’
Salvia greggii

Santolina rosmarinifolia
Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine'

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. 
Anthony J. D'Angelo

I continue to trial plants to learn what really works. 
l hope this also means the plants in my garden will never cease to grow, too !

Monday, April 24, 2017

Just Ask Emily

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity –


Our friend Charlotte died on Saturday. She was not terribly sick for very long, and walked willingly into the hands of God, as was her way. She spent the better part of the last year making sure that her friends and family knew that she was ready to go when she must. She pulled no punches.
Charlotte was a pistol - " a person with a lot of verve and personality, and the sort you don't forget."  She was an infectious gardener and plantswoman; a woman of both words and deeds; one smart cookie. She liked "pretty things". She loved to celebrate- she loved dinner parties, beer, wine, fancy hors d'oeuvres, candles and flowers, bourbon. She liked her food spicy, and her hugs big and tight. She was the driving force behind the Piedmont Gardeners Spring Garden Tour, held every third Saturday in April for the last 25 years. That tour not only encouraged the love of gardening in the Athens, Ga, area, but raised scholarship money to support horticulture and design students at UGA. And best of all, she was a beloved mother to her two girls, and dearest "Mimi" to her four granddaughters.

We got the news of her death on a visit to Massachusetts. We were there to visit our granddaughter Olive, but spent a little time doing other things while Olive was in school. One of those things was a tour of Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst. It has been a good long time since I have seriously read Emily's poetry, but there are a few poems whose first lines, at least, I remember. And it occurs to me now that the approach Emily Dickinson took with her poetry was much the same as Charlotte's approach to life and to death. She was straightforward, precise, directly to the point even on tough subjects, but with a creative flair, a lilt, maybe a sly wink.

The weekend would have been sad for us but for Olive.
Olive is a hoot. She's got a twinkle in her eye, and plan in her head. Her smiles and spark kept us energized, enthusiastic, swingin' and slidin'.

Olive is 21 months, but she can say most anything she wants. Her chatter is non-stop. If you say something to her, she'll repeat it. If you ask her something, she mostly nods and says "Yep". She loves reading, she loves puzzles, she loves being outside, she loves all sorts of food. She is pure joy to be with; a light touch to a heavy heart. I've spent some time mulling over the emotions stirred up over those few days. As it turns out, Emily had already figured it out for me, and put it in words that even I could understand.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lobal Warming

How about this weather? Everyone I know is asking that same question. Here we are at the end of February, and I'm in shorts and a T-shirt cutting grass and sowing vegetable seed outside. Something crazy is going on.

Some will tell you it's global warming. Maybe it is or maybe it isn't. But I am old enough to know that this isn't the first time we've had temperatures like this in  February.

It was a week at the end of February, 1974. We were all right in the middle of winter quarter, the horrible days of dark,cold, rain. Studies were going well, I guess, but who can remember that part? What I do remember is that the country was nearing a change in the Viet Nam war. College protests had really revved up just before I got to UGA in 1970. They still persisted thru the next several years, but nothing to the degree of those in the 60s. Even with the success of those protests, or maybe because of that success, college campuses like mine continued to look for a way to make a statement. But then, college students can have a bit of a short attention span. 

Apparently the idea of streaking had come from other college campuses here and there. . It was probably a small but fun way to continue the thrill of civil disobedience. 

Spring break was weeks away at that point. It seemed like the sun never came out. Then, out of nowhere, it got warm. Not warmish....but hot warm, humid warm, summer warm. Kids got outside. Summer clothes appeared. The drudgery of every day college classes disappeared. Sex was in the air. Young brains were on fire. And the streaking began.

As with most social phenomena, it started small -just a few wacky guys, maybe on a dare. Then a few more, and a few more after that. The warm weather made it easier to do, and also gave the few an audience of the more since so many folks were outside enjoying the sun. Timing was random, but word seemed to get out. Campus was abuzz, distracted, seduced by the warmth and tantalized by the exposure. 

Spurred on by their peers, more and more joined the ranks of the naked. Fraternity brothers gathered in groups. Dormitories organized even larger packs of runners. The news was getting out to every student, then snowballing into the media across the Southeast. A little harmless fun was turning into a competitive sport across college campuses. Each day a new challenge was laid down and then met that night. By the end of the week, campus police had closed down whole streets because of the crowds. Thousands lined Baxter street, in the ultimate in food and drink tailgating, to watch the proceedings. The finale "big streak" produced 1543 bare bottomed beauties and a new national record.  

The next day, damp, gray, cold was back. 
Exams were looming.  The fever broke. As quick as it came, it was gone.
 But now, as the weather warms, we old folks can smile and remember.

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there's nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”

― E.E. Cummings