Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Harley and the Castaways

My mom, brother and I spent the day together yesterday, with two agenda items in mind. I wanted to revisit Castaway Island, a city park we visited last July but couldn't really see because the nature trail was closed. And my brother wanted to take us to one of his favorite eateries, in Fernandina Beach.

I was hoping to see some more cool birds at Castaway Island -- you may remember last summer I saw a roseate spoonbill there. But this time, we didn't see much -- a lone palm warbler, a distant osprey hunting for fish, swarms of odd little swoopy birds in midair above us. I guess midday on a warm afternoon is not the best time to birdwatch.

On the way there, we drove past this shopfront.

"OK, we just passed a shop decorated with a mural of three monkeys riding on a shark," I said to the family before demanding that my brother turn the car around. What's with the cross on the door? Is it a church? While I get the three monkeys -- hear, see and speak no evil -- I am mystified about the shark. Could it be...Satan?

We took a car ferry across the St. Johns River, which was a novel experience, and drove up Amelia Island. In Fernandina Beach we admired the Lesesne House, which was built in 1860 and has been occupied by the same family since immediately after the Civil War. As I told my family, the house is nice -- but the trees make the picture!

We had lunch at Tasty's, a burger place that has been fashioned out of an old Gulf Oil gas station. I had a Carolina burger with bacon and barbecue sauce, and sweet potato fries. (I made up for it at dinner with a kale salad!) My brother loves their burgers, and I gotta agree -- they are good.

We also ran into this big guy ambling up Centre Street, the main drag through Fernandina, where he was attracting so much attention you'd think he was Brad Pitt. His name is Harley. He's a rescued Great Dane and he came up to at least my waist. He had a head like a football. A whole lotta dog!

I asked his owner if I could take a picture, and he said yes. He added that he was in the process of building a wide skateboard with big rubber wheels, so Harley could pull him along the beach.

"That would be the picture!" I said. "When you get that done, let me know!"


  1. Why did the dog owner say "eyes"? By the way wasn't "Whole Lotta Dog" a number by Led Zeppelin?

  2. Oh my god, Steve. I had the longest dream about you this early morning. First, you and Dave were foreign agents but I think my brain decided that that was not really a good story line and next thing I knew, I was visiting your house in London except it obviously was NOT London and there was a beautiful ocean but wild and your house was extremely fancy and for some reason I had to make Thanksgiving dinner there for many, many people and there was not a turkey to be had.
    There was more.
    Oh, so much more.
    The shark, the monkeys and the giant beautiful dog would have fit right in.

  3. what IS the deal with the shark and the turquoise cross? and that's a helluva chain around that dogs neck who looks like a big sweetie.

  4. Another awesome set of photos. Harley looks like a sweetheart with a bit of the joker in him. I can't begin to imagine what that mural is supposed to mean. That's a puzzler for sure. Most of all, I love your title! It sounds like a 1960's rock band.

  5. That shark and monkey mural is pretty wild. It's great to see that Great Dane there. My sister has had Great Danes all of her adult life. They are such big goofy loving dogs. The one she has now is named Lilly. She is 150 pounds of pure exuberance and crazy lean on you love.

  6. Harley looks like a lovable doofus - I would LOVE to see a picture of him pulling his owner along. Ha!

  7. Harley is not only a doofus, he's a great poser as well. And who ever understands the murals that decorate buildings and walkways these days?

  8. And when you get that picture, let US know :) Harley is such a great name for that pupper.

    And Tasty's is a pretty fine name for an eatery, too!

  9. You always have the best adventures! Please say hi to your Mother for me.

  10. What a giant! He looks very calm and placid.

  11. Dogs instinctively know you are a friend.