It has been some time since I’ve written here. The Holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year have taken their yearly toll. Not so much in the bustle but in the emotional stew they churn up and which takes some quiet time to digest. It is a heartburn from which we all suffer.
But this quiet time was not all for naught. Ecclesiastics (and The Byrds) say, “To everything there is a season”. My mother put it more succinctly – “Are you thinkin’ or stinkin’?” In other words, “Are you actually using your brain or just wasting time”? The quiet season has ended and now is the time to plant.
How many of us have seen someone working and wished we could do the same thing? I have done so many times. But, Cowboys, Brain Surgeons, King of All the World and Folks That Can Actually Use a Smart Phone each have skills sets I don’t possess. Fashion modeling, sadly, just isn’t the same as it once was so ixnay on that, too.
Borrowing a page from my friend Cheryl’s “Book of Things You Might Like To Do and Things You Should Avoid”(sometimes referred to as the Meyers/Briggs Test), I did a self-evaluation of what I liked and might be able to do. Maybe something would develop from this process, I figured.
I have always loved history, so much so that I sometimes repeat it. Writing, too, has been something I’ve enjoyed, even though my writing a coherent sentence is often a struggle. But, from deep within my Celtic genes comes a love of storytelling – both as a listener and sometimes the teller.
Life would be much less colorful and interesting without hearing the tales of gypsies waiting to take naughty children away, Irish fairies and leprechauns (they’re different), gangsters and bad guys with names like The Beaver, GaGa, Itchy and Da’ Phone and The Lump. No history of Cuba would be complete without the story of a naked dwarf being placed in the “foundlings’ gate” of a Havana convent nor would the memory of a certain Connecticut town be as rich without recalling The Ride of Louie the Dog. Storytelling is the life blood of history.
So, what to do?
Friends and family that have visited us here in Jacksonville have most often taken with us a tour of St. Augustine. Some have toured with the Old Town Trolley, others on the golf cart with Peter Gold of Gold Tours. It has been the tours of the Ancient City with Peter Gold that we have, so far, found to be the most interesting. After each tour I would find myself digging into books for further information or verification of what we had heard from the guides. So, what to do?
Several weeks ago The Redhead and I were down in St. Augustine. We were spending the afternoon just walking around viewing the sites, talking with the several shop owners we have gotten to know and enjoying walking the streets of the oldest city in our nation. Tour guides were everywhere: Carriage Horse Tours, Pedal Cab Tours, Ghost Tours, Wine Tours, Walking Tours and, of course, the trolleys – the orange one and The Red Train. Leaving town later that night we passed by the Red Train depot. One of us muttered, “I’d love to drive one of those”. The Redhead said, “Why don’t you”?
After a week or so of research we again went down to the Red Train. I filled out an application. We then took a ride on one of their trains and later spoke with the owner. A few days later I was filling out more paperwork and getting a physical exam.
Tomorrow, February 2, I begin training as a St. Augustine Tour Guide working for The Red Train.
History, writing, storytelling, tour guide, host to tourists and international visitors, getting to know as much of the “oldest city” – its people and places – past and present as I can absorb…what a job!
Hope to see you soon