Finding Our Way Back

THe old mill and pool

 

When our children were young, Bill and I loved to go camping at the springs and when the kids became teens, we took one Sunday off each month to camp, because Renie and Billy, and Bill and I were all so busy we didn’t have time to be together, or to talk. Yes, we missed church once a month, but we usually had a sweet service of our own, and everything turned out fine in the end.

We invited the young married people in our Sunday School Class/Small Group to come along. We were all close because we prayed together, commiserated with one another, helped each other through “stuff” and studied the Bible together. That weekend, Onisha and her family went, Pam and hers went, and The Crouses and their three children went too. I don’t know who else. If you were there, let us know.

Decades later, Pam, one of the people from that group, and I drove over to Ponce de Leon Springs for breakfast and a look around. We went to the Old Mill where you cook your own pancakes on a griddle in the middle of your table. The waitress asked if we’d been there before and I said I had and I told her jokingly that Pam thought she had been there.

“If you only think you’ve been here, I’ll explain the menu,” said the waitress. “I’ll bring pancake batter in our signature pottery pitchers, the one with the red speckles holds our special blend whole grain batter, the blue speckled one, has white batter. Spray the grill with the oil and pour out enough for your pancakes. You can order nuts, bacon, sausage, and eggs, too, if you want. We’ll cook those for you.

The griddle

 

Every time I’ve been to De Leon Springs in the past forty-five years, the same woman was waiting tables. Of course she was younger in the beginning and so was I. I’ll always remember how airy she looked in her tee-shirt and tiered cotton skirt. It could get very hot in there with the grills heated up, even though the fans were going. There was always a room full of people and no AC, just big open screens that showed the out-of-doors to perfect advantage.

Inside view of restaurant

 

I always think of that woman as the quick, friendly person who was working with her family who owned the place with her family and since my novel, Sacred Spring, was published, I’ve wanted to give her a copy, because in a way, I used her for a model for Elaine in the story. I was thrilled to see that as always, she was on the job. I told her we were old customers from long before the state bought the place. Her eyes lit up when I gave her the book and autographed it for her. She was so pleased, she gave me a big hug and because of her joy, I too, felt wonderful.

Pam and I then sat and talked for a long time. We like to talk about our grandchildren, books, our association with Rebekah Lyn Books (Pam is the public relations assistant). We talk about our churches and about movies. After a bit we decided to walk and talk. The Garden Spring Run and the pool itself take your breath away. We went into a tiny museum that has many beautiful historic photographs of Ponce de Leon Springs and the buildings. They have three ring binders full of newspaper clippings about archeological digs that have taken place there.

The museum was in a small room in this building.

Museum

When we finished the museum we thought we’d walk up the trail to see Methuselah, an ancient cypress tree, but it started to rain. Because we’d left Pam’s raincoat, my umbrella, our hats, and our “rubber” shoes in the car, we decided to retrace our steps, even though we got rained on before we arrived at the car.

We were happy. We’d found our way back to our first years as friends and to our children’s childhoods, and now we are finding our way back into a precious friendship that we both became too busy to nurture. It’s so comforting growing old with people you’ve known for a long time. Friendship surely is the dew of God for our lives on this earth.

 

To learn more about De Leon Springs, it’s history and activities visit their website.

http://www.planetdeland.com/sugarmill/

You can also purchase  Sacred Spring on Amazon by Clicking HERE

 

By DiVoran LItes

 

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Comments

  1. Your blog about our trip turned out wonderfully! Makes me want to go again and get in the water and walk the woodsy trails-always something more to look forward to! Thank you for years and years of friendship, of walking parts of our life journey together….and for more adventures together in the future!

  2. You may not know this, but I am a VERY nostalgic person. I love stuff like this. Great article!

  3. Such a wonderful memory and so exciting. I wished that somebody would have pointed us to that when we visited Florida. We were staying in Christmas, FL and asked what there was to see in the area. Everyone pointed to the west to Mickey Mouse land, just like those further north pointed south to Mickey Mouse land. Uh, just 25 miles to the east, there was that, I’m guessing, unknown area – uh, Cape Canaveral. DOH! When we camped near Seven Springs, again, they pointed to MM land and we missed that wonderful area where they filmed all the Tarzan movies, had glass-bottom boats and what my wife wanted to see – manatees! Even when we were near the Everglades, we asked what there was to see – idiots pointed to MM land to the north. Uh, we wanted to see what was in the area!! I plan to make a trip back down again and this time, I will make a list of what I want to see and Ponce deLeon Springs is definitely on the list of must-visit. We discovered Stephen Foster’s house and the famous river strictly by accident.

  4. What a wonderful “look back” story – I love these types of things, especially when it touches someone else. Thanks so much for posting!

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