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Mission

The Last Page of the Unwritten Surgeon's Journal

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Sunday - A bizarre day. I am writing this now because I have a moment and...well, I just feel like writing it. You'll have to wait for the webpage to see everything that preceded it. ;)

I actually woke up early - unlike yesterday when I didn't want to wake up at all - and got ready before Shay arrived. I saw the little green BMW Z3 coming up the road from the hotel window, but that couldn't prepare me for Shay, who appeared at the window shorty thereafter in nothing more (than I could see) than her white shirt and blue socks! I threatened to take a picture, but, alas, for you, dear reader, I didn't. So use your imagination. (Someone - I think it was Patrick Hand - said they saw here scurry out of camp thus clad quick as could be. Shay wandered into the bathroom to use the shower while I sat here and typed something or other about island fashions.

She wanted to put the top down for the trip back, which was fine for me. I felt slightly like James Bond with my shades on, riding in the passenger seat the scant 1/4 mile or so to the Fountain of Youth park in the BMW convertible. (If only it were steel blue instead of dark green, we'd have a bingo.) The camp was the typical sad state of affairs for the last day of an event - people were packing their tents and gear and loading their cars. There's something anachronistically anachronistic about people bringing cars into a former period campsite - you know? Michael, Kate, Callenish and Salty were just finishing up the loading of the white van for the 14 hour ride home, Mooseworth and Kelly were packing up their box on wheels and Red Jessi was rolling up her sleeping bag in preparation for a 6 hour jaunt. I hugged all the women and shook hands with the men and was sad that all my pub friends were leaving as soon as I arrived.

They hauled about breakfast, which looked as good as everything else that had been prepared this weekend. Of all the events that I have attended, this has to be the best food event I've seen yet. Alas, the veggie entre had bits of meat in it and, as yesterday attests, my stomach is just not up to the challenge, so I started getting ideas about going back to the hotel for scrambled eggs. (Note to all you reads who THINK you know what this means - you're wrong. But you'll have to wait for me to write the webpage to learn why. Too bad for you.) Shay generously offered me the keys to the BMW, so now I could REALLY play James Bond and drive the thing. So I took a little impromptu tour of St. Augustine, managing to find the worst parts of it with amazing rapidity. Fortunately, no BMWs were harmed in the making of this Surgeon's Journal.

I tooled back to the hotel, feel very smug and suave as I pulled into the parking lot and proceeded to crack the little plastic cowl in the back of the car as I put up the convertible roof. Shay later told me that it was already cracked, but I think she was just trying to make me feel better. Nevertheless, I had scrambled eggs and cheese grits, which is something you just can't get Michigan without going to a lot of trouble. (The grits, not the scrambled eggs. We're not savages.)

Then I put the top back down, so as to engage my James Bond image and drove the 1/4 mile back to the park. It was a very cool 1/4 mile. I spotted Sergeant Jeff's wife in the parking lot and begged her to take a photo of me at the wheel, "...looking like James Bond." So we'll have to see how that comes out.

After that, I mostly sat around and watched people work on breaking down their camps. Your ship's surgeon can watch other people work all day long. It was warm and sunny and I eventually deposited myself in front of Shay's tent to chat with her and Patrick Hand. Shay invited me to lie in her bed rather than on the ground, which proved to be a good idea, I think. (The sun was hot and my head was in the shade and...well, mostly she just had a very comfy mattress.) Several inappropriate jokes which I'm sure I do not recall were made, the best of which was from either Doug or William who suggested that I write "Mission slept here." on the wall of Shay's tent. (This is actually a historical joke, but you are invited to read it however suits you despite the fact that I am almost certain you are wrong.)

Within an hour or so, the camp was pretty much broken down (meaning I had to stop dozing in the warm bed) and Shay Patrick and I agreed that we should meet at the little period tavern in historic St. Augustine that served Woodchuck Cider that Shay had taken a liking to. Since the Z3 had every possible open molecule filled with Shay's gear, Patrick and I walked back to town with the agreement to meet her at the tavern, the name of which I hope to get before I write the web page. (You know how it is.) We arrived (I imagine) around 3:30, the agreed upon time, and had a drink. We finished that and...no Shay. I wondered aloud if we should try and find the Pirate House, the hostel where Shay (and eventually Patrick) was staying and, in typical Prince of Pirates fashion, Patrick said she would be along eventually and we might as well have another drink. So we did. She appeared sometime near the end of that round with a charming young blond girl in tow. This turned out to be Ru. (I later learned that they had done a bit of clothes shopping on the way over. Uh huh.)

Ru, as it happens, was here from Sweden on a 3 month visa and was also staying at the Pirate Hotel in the community girl's bedroom with Shay. (It's only $20 a night, which is a bargain by anyone's standards.) She had arrived in New York last week or some such time, gone to...Virginia?...for a few days, gone to Atlanta to see the first street in America to allow African Americans to open businesses and then had come to St. Augustine. I think. Remember that I had had two Woodchuck Ciders by then. There may have been a day or two somewhere else along the way. Her future plans seemed rather nebulous to me, although they included "mostly the east coast," along with (apparently) New Orleans, Texas and Washington State. Oh, and California. Per usual, I found such adventurousness in a single girl most admirable so we all had another round. Or two. Maybe three. I forget.

Finding the whole thing quite interesting, I asked Ru a bunch of questions. What made her decide to come here? Everyone asked her that. She thought America would be an interesting place. Did it match her expectations? She had had lots of "wild ideas" on the plane on the way over, but she had forgotten them all once she arrived here and just gotten lost in the moment. What did her parents say when she decided to do this? They had told her to be safe and have fun and occasionally texted or called her. Did she know about the character in Winnie-the-Pooh who shared her name? Her name was spelled different, but she said she was named after Roo and thought that the character was really cool because when he wanted to do something, like swim in the creek, he just did it. Well, her parents got THAT right! A girl named after Roo. How cool is THAT?

During the third or fourth or whatevereth round, a pair of guys in period Spanish outfits arrived in the tavern with a guitar. They started playing standard Spanish tunes which Shay knew (naturally - being a piano player/singer at a club in Key Largo) so she joined them for a few songs. A couple came in and sat at the musicians table and were saranaded. Then a group of young girls arrived, whom the Spaniards made a successful pitch to and they all joined them. Shay and Ru confided to Patrick and I the secrets of attracting women which were (as far as I can remember them) that you should play a guitar and be sort of brooding and mysterious. It seems to me that there was another one, but I don't recall it. Looking at the Spaniards, I guessed she was right.

Shay and I had a standing date to go to the French place I will eventually mention that Sergeant Jim had mentioned to us on the trolley and, after four or possibly five hard ciders, I invited Patrick and Ru to join us. In keeping with the spirit of things that had happened so far that you may eventually read about, I didn't recall exactly where the restaurant was. I knew what road it was on and the direction it was in, but that was about it. Shay had the solution, so we all trooped out of the bar of some unknown name and went to another bar several blocks away (and in the wrong direction) of some unknown name. Shay explained that the bartender here knew where everything was. (Who needs mapquest? We have Carlos the bartender.) Turns out Carlos wasn't there, but the other bartender (We'll just call him Phred) knew and gave Shay the directions.

It turned out to be quite a hike, but we were all feeling no pain, so we trooped the mile or so to the alleged French restaurant. It turned out to be more sort of German and French, and maybe a little Indian restaurant. Ru assured me that it was in no way European in decor, but the food was very, very good and the service was great. Ru and I had crepes, Shay had seafood pasta (that was outstanding) and Patrick had chicken curry. Oh, and wine. We had a very good Shiraz. Ru wasn't going to have any until she found out it was a Shiraz. (Although I suspect this wasn't the real reason. You'll have to wait for that.)

Following that we wandered back into town. I will probably explain all this on a previous page that hasn't been written yet, but the town is a charming maze of alleys and winding streets with a variety of little shops, restaurants and bars everywhere. Much effort has been made to keep it sort of historic. We were wandering around, looking for who knows what when I spotted a alleyway that appeared to have no redeeming features whatsoever. Naturally Shay chose this alley to go down. We ran into a group of ghosttourers which led to my spouting off about not believing in ghosts, which everyone else disagreed with to different degrees. If you know me, this led to more strident verbal opposition which I announced just as we were passing a second group of ghosttourers, to whom the group leader was explaining some ghostly happening in a low voice. This didn't bother me. Ok, I felt a little bad.

Shay led us down some blind alleys and then eventually found a through street, at the end of which we found another charming little bar. So we went in there for more cider. (All except me - they had NewCastle on tap, and I can't resist that. I'm proud to say that Ru approved of my choice.) Ru and I discussed spirituality and philosophy for a quite a while, going from belief in ghosts to belief in God to belief in whether Hobbes is a real tiger or not. She decided I was too stubborn and rational, which are traits I am especially proud of. Then, out of the blue, she announced that she was only 20. For some reason I found this amazingly funny. (This is why she didn't want to have wine in the restaurant. But if you hang around with three people who are clearly not 20, I guess you get a pass.)

After a round there, Shay said that Ru wanted to hear some live music, so we want back to that bar on the corner (which was not very far from where we were at) and asked again for directions. Who needs maps? Unfortunately, we apparently got wrong directions or got them mixed up and, after 20 minutes of walking on the charming streets, wound up back at the map bar. There we learned that we had missed the place we were looking for, although, being after 9pm on Sunday, the music was over anyhow. So we all went back to the hostel where we ran into the owner - who gave me a ride back to the hotel.

So that's it. I just didn't want to forget all that. You'll get more with pictures when the web page is done in a few weeks or so. It was a really fun event with a street battle unlike any other I've seen before.

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dang !! wish i were there !! sounds great !! btw, hobbes IS real !!

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The essence of my argument (which is apparently stubborn and rational) is that everything that is real to you is real to you in the moment that you believe it to be so. We each exist in our our own little worlds that are never fully shared with anyone else and we can build it in any manner we want and experience it that way.

Ru is the sort of person who doesn't blog on a three month trip, she writes poems about it. (Which is really cool in a way, but poetry is not my favorite form of writing.)

So Hobbes is real to Calvin (and the readers who get to live in his world), but not necessarily to anyone else.

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Hobbes just may be wondering if Mission is real.

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