Our GPS then took us on a lovely drive through forests and orchards to the gate outside of the legendary Shrine of the Pines in Baldwin. Not open til May 15, and nobody wanted to let us in on Mother's Day...
So we headed for Kaleva, where tour guide Jim did let us in and told us all he could about the Bottle House that the town embraces to this day. Pop bottler and builder John Mackinen constructed the sweet, tidy, symmetrical "happy home" in 1951 and died shortly after. He was a Finn, as were many of Kaleva's other citizens. Their heritage was celebrated in a series of colorful murals in the town's old gym, and more recently, with a metal grasshopper to honor St. Urho. That's the saint who drove the hoppers out of Finland, doncha know?
Turns out it's only about five miles from the Bottle House to Big Joe's. That's Joe McCuaig, the 6'6" painter/carver/morel mushroom hunter we met a few years back at Folk Fest in Atlanta.
His yard has some messages reminding "the paparazzy" to stay away, and a bottle tree to catch the light. Joe's mermaids, snake handlers and fish eating fish eating fish are some of the themes that seem to recur most often in his art. Getting "the previous occupant" out of the White House made Joe very happy, but he's already poking some fun at the stimulus package, and how little stimulation it brings the folks he knows. While wandering with Mike out back, Joe found a couple small morels that we left behind for he and his wife Sharon to cook as they pleased. Along with a Big Ball T-Shirt to "negotiate" over.
Music In the Van--Best of Sam Cooke, "All I Intended to Be" Emmylou Harris, "After the Goldrush" Neil Young
Don's Mother's Day Found $$--75 cents (viva Starbucks!) for a new total of $6.20.