The girl in the big house…

The Herlong House in Micanopy

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Its hard to believe it is almost summer again.
Theres something about the fresh Florida mornings when they come up with the sun how they have this scent and a breeze to push it across your face.
You know how you have those Deja Vu expereinces where you seem to flash back into a moment that seems that you did it already once sometime before….theres something about that scent and breeze that brings me back to my first day in Florida-my first morning in the town of Micanopy.
Theres not much to the place-it is a fast one minute drive from 441 to 441-the old highway makes a quick loop,or so used to be-now a day the place is a small tourist mecca and the sleepy pace of the town I knew in the 1970’s sure has long gone.
The first days I came to be here it was so quiet at night you could hear the millions of green frogs yelling at each other,I guess singing for love….and you could literally walk down the center line of the main street-and sit down even,if you so felt the need-because the place was that quiet. It was a contrast to a young guy from Washington DC.
I didnt know what to expect-I didnt know anybody here…I got here by a fluke-and as luck had it I did learn there was someone that I knew who had a brother who lived in this town….and here I will ever be,well-in spirit at the moment,I live over in Levy County now…but I have a grave in the grave yard in Micanopy.
I had to be voted in to be buried there-like an acceptance committee,and several of them met me there at the cemetery to show me some graves and I asked to lay down on a few to see how I would like the view. That got the old girls laughing and broke the ice and they selected a spot that made me happy-so,one day my old body will always be in Micanopy.
Funny how the south is-they wanted to make sure I would be worthy to be intered with them…the true Florida native,and me-from Washington DC. Hell-been here so long it doesnt matter any more.
In the towns center is this house. The old Herlong House.
My first week in town I was sitting out on a bench set up on the sidewalk-sitting there drinking a beer and sucking in all that green frog music and I see these two guys walking up the street. They looked pissed off and when they approached me I knew they were pissed-the bald headed one grabbed me up and started yelling at me. I started to cry-the other guy sort of believed me-they were looking for someone-but I didnt know anyone,so the bald headed guy punches me in the face and warns me worse will happen if I ever cross his path again.
This was the south…this was 1970.
They lived in this house-the bald guy and his daughter. By some fluke of nature she and I got pregnant-her getting the fullest of the chore-me being the dad. It all happened on the upper left hand porch-there are french doors that opened and the bed was right there.
I didnt the bald guy was her dad-nor did I know he lived in that house. Her mother was dead-or gone somehow,so it was him and her-except I hadnt gotten the connection right yet until it came to the night I was supposed to tell her father I had gotten his daughter in the way of child. This wasnt easy either-I was 19,she was still in high school. And her dad was the bald headed guy that punched me out my first week in town and gave me the warning of doom if I ever crossed his path again….and there I was.
That was summer 37 years ago.
The shotgun wedding took place in the foyer of this house.

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