|Florida 2008 by mathewingram|
Hi, my name's Teague McMurtry. Some folks would call me a hick. From their perspective, I probably am. From my own, I'm a quiet country boy who has a way of finding trouble – or maybe it's that trouble finds me.
Anyhow, a friend of mine asked me to show you folks around
the area, get to know my neck of the woods, literally – since I'm the back country of Florida. I live in a small city you've never heard of, that's south of Daytona Beach. I rent a small house on Riverside Drive that runs along the banks of the Halifax River, also known as the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway. I've been here a few months and can't get over how peaceful it is near the water.
I grew up along the river and spent every minute I could
between there and the beach. Ironic that I joined the military and ended up spending several years in Afghanistan. Florida boy in the desert. At least it had sand.
So, I came home a few months ago, thinking I'd put all that
behind me, only to come up against a threat worse than any I faced over there. This was calculated, targeted, personal. Despite all that, I got the heart of a good woman for my efforts.
I'm gonna show you around and let you get a feel for the
place so you can understand where I'm coming from. This is my house on Riverside. It sits up on a sand dune cause at one time, that river right across the road, was the ocean and this was the beach. My house overlooks the water with a clear view of the islands in the middle.
We wander on down the road, heading south, we pass the police
station on our right. A little further down from there, that's where I got tangled up with the bike gang. Had me a time with those folks. Started out with one guy following me, but thanks to the gated communities around here, he couldn't get at me.
Now, I'm gonna take you down to visit my Uncle Billy. He
owns a deep sea fishing business as well as the best seafood restaurant in the area. He also works as a taxidermist, preserving the sports fish his clients catch. His place looks like a run down fish camp. The building is low and long, built from weathered wood that doesn't look like it would hold up in a stiff breeze. It may not look like much, but this place has been here over a hundred years, built by some member of his family. It's seen more hurricanes than you can imagine.
The whole place is surrounded by thick vegetation – pine and
palm trees, palmettos, scrub oaks, live oaks, water oaks and even some cactus. Thought we'd lose the place about 15 years ago. Fires swept through our area. Thankfully, the fires missed the property where the restaurant and house sit, but tore up all around here. It's only started really growing back in the last five years.
Uncle Tack's place up in Astor, where we're headed next, got
burned down and had to be rebuilt. This is the new place here. It's about an hour, hour and a half from where I live. Astor was the site of our family's original homestead. We've been here since around 1755, give or take, after the British traded Florida for Cuba in 1754. This was once a sugar mill and a salt processing plant. We found some pieces of the left over structures when they went to rebuild this place.
This cabin is built to look just like the one that sat here before the fires. It looks old and rustic, but it's got all the modern comforts, including indoor plumbing. Tack runs it like a bed and breakfast for folks who want the outdoor experience without all the fuss. Or, they can go out into the Ocala National Forest and get good and lost in all that nature. I worked as a guide for folks who want to go camping or bike trailing, hiking and the like. I'm almost as at home up in the deep woods as I am on the water.
The last place I'm gonna take you is up into the springs. My favorite is Alexander Springs, but they're all beautiful. The springs dot all of Florida. There's also an underwater cave system that runs all down the state. It's a hell of a trip to scuba dive the caves. You see beauty like you'll never see anywhere else. All through the Ocala National Forest, you'll find campgrounds, hiking trails, biking paths and all kinds of outdoor facilities that are open all year round for tourists and locals to enjoy.
Well, that wraps up our tour. Nothing more to see but the place where we took Randy and his biker gang down. If it hadn't been for my family, that would have been an entirely different story. I can't tell you what it meant to me and Vivica to have their support. That's what family's about, sticking up for, protecting and helping each other. Yup, family is important and mine is among the best there is.
I hope you enjoyed our short tour. Y'all feel free to have a look around and ask any questions you might have. I'll do my best to answer them.
Who is Dellani Oakes?
Dellani Oakes is a less than crazy, but slightly more than quite normal, author who lives in a small city south of Daytona Beach, Florida. Her novella, “The Ninja Tattoo”, was inspired by something that happened to her. No, nothing as dramatic as happens to Teague and Vivica, but though provoking, none the less.