Monday, January 14, 2013

Shrines and bikers and hooligans, oh my.

On Friday night I met a few people in the park who took a liking to me and offered to take me out the next night. We started with an old shrine built by a man in the 20s, then to a great restaurant and ended the evening with drinks at a seedy fishing shack/bar.

From Wikipedia; The story of St. Anne's Shrine goes like this: A man from Canada, (believed to be Napoleon Pelletier) came down to Florida with his very sick son. His son had been diagnosed as terminally ill. While traveling in Florida, they came upon the little lake at what is now St. Anne's. They swam and camped there and the boy's condition improved, and he was miraculously cured. His cure was attributed to the healing waters, and so the man single-handedly built a shrine to St. Anne, a popular Canadian saint associated with water, in an oak hammock next to the lake. The Catholic Church eventually demolished most of the church, leaving only the altar. Several stone walls, and the original steps of the church remain.

While there, I mentioned to them I wished I had something to leave on the altar. Janet just happened to have some Christmas ornaments in her car and amongst them were two angels. They had survived a bad car accident she and her mother were in so they had great significance to her.  Saying a prayer, they placed them on the altar. It was a lovely way to end our visit.

From Cherry Pocket's website; According to folklore Cherry Pocket was discovered in the late forties by two men, one named Mr. Cherry.  Because of the way the land lays with the canals, they thought it looked like a pocket, therefore... CHERRY POCKET. It was a place for hardy fishermen and very few women.  Rumor has it at distant times there have been cock-fighting, gambling, gator wrestling and of course lots of "Big Fish" caught in Lake Pierce and many "Big Fish Stories" to go along with that.

The Tavern started out as a small room with a front door and a back door, a few groceries and bait and tackle.  We've heard stories of men riding their horses in the front door of the tavern for a drink and out the back door.  We also heard stories of men coming in the front door and flying out the back door with a little help from someone's fist.  
Cherry Pocket is found in the middle of nowhere. The closest town is Lake Wales, where I am staying, about 20 minutes down a windy road. Their website shows a pretty place with beautifully presented food. What I saw was something completely different. When we arrived at 8:30 there was no one left but bikers and a few other stragglers. The door was opened for us by what looked like a 12 year old boy but was actually a woman. The bartender was an older bleach-blond woman with tattoos up and down her body and all the waitresses were similarly adorned. The music was provided by a 30-something country guy and his guitar who belted out old tunes by Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Mike Ness. The beer was cheap and I bought the first round for my new friends. This was my kind of place!

I've met quite a few people in my folks community, all whom I like a lot, but I would be willing to bet these three are the hooligans in the park. I'm happy to have met them.

1 comment:

  1. We are just down the road in Avon Park. Must go and check out both of these places - they sure sound interesting.