There goes my little brother and sister- in- law back to Key West on Sunday. Always happy when they stop by!  Earlier we took two of our children and went to the Cracker Barrel .  We inspected the gift shop, talked loud over the drone of restaurant chatter.  The 5 of us sat there chatting away, mostly talking about food and eating,  yakking about people from the past and present and still talking about more food as we ate.  My brother and  I remembering Nana’s matzah balls,  potato kugel, farfel, how we drank Mogan David, ‘Mad dog’  20/20 as children at the sedars and loved it — oh those days of  grandmothers cooking with real butter,  lots of sugar and love, simple times, great food.
Even though these are lean times now, you would not know it from the turn out here. And people are expanding, getting wider and wider,  The Cracker Barrel is a prime example of padding you while they pad their own pocketbook very well! The place was packed and I really mean packed! The gift shop was packed, you had to turn sideways to try not to sideswipe both other people, the dining room was packed! The plates are heaped full of food, packed with so much saturated fat that if arteries could speak, they would be screaming to stop already after about 3 bites!  I bet this restaurant goes through a swimming pool of lard a month inside that kitchen! We ingested mega carbs,  pecans pancakes, hash browns, biscuit, all smothered in butter and drowning in maple syrup and washed down with sweet southern tea. This is why America is so damn fat! This is why they say the next generation won’t outlive their parents and be riddled with heart disease and diabetes– We can’t say no to fatty food! Ok, I’ll speak for myself, I can’t say no! This might be a reason I have gained some poundage along the way, that and being addicted to Facebook and writing blogs and working my photography. This chair I’m sitting in now has a permanent indentation! Exercise? Go find someone else to ask, I get up to find the remote,  (okay, I do walk outside to take a few pictures, it takes muscles to open my heavy duty sliding glass door — isn’t that exercise?)
Even as we left, the benches and rocking chairs lining the porch at Cracker Barrel were almost all taken. And, you still see people smoking a lot. I remember as a child decades ago how smoking seemed mandatory, our mothers and fathers, grandfathers and even our pediatricians smoked like chimneys, my mother had a 3 pack a day habit of Lucky Strikes! How do we non smokers from that generation of the 50’s not all  have lung damage and disease?
We laughed and enjoyed the deja vu’ as the college age children rolled their eyes at our conversations..  I wish we lived closer.    I miss my brother and Penni when they go away, wish we were just across town and not 7 hours away!

After they left, I turned the truck to my east and headed to the Like Oak Cottage tea tasting.   The Cottage is owned by Liz Darwick and her husband. Liz is also the Executive Director of the Historic Sanford Welcome Center, she’s busy for sure!
I have passed this place many many times and did not really know it was there at 1021 West first Street, Sanford. You have to access it by driving up either side street then by driving to the rear of the property.  
The yard is filled with ferns and native flowers, an inviting and charming house of soft aqua blue.  Once inside the door, there was a table with finger foods,   the colors warm with a soft glow from all the windows filled with afternoon light skipping on through  The tea tester had her set up,   two of the teas being sold had all the proceeds going to Susan G. Komen cure for breast cancer. I bought a black tea with a hint of peach, it was a smooth blend.  The Cottage is also a ‘Tea Guild” and will host tea parties for you! Email Liz: at
Wandering through the tiny rooms one wonders who originally lived in these close quarters.  Funny how they really didn’t think much of closet or bathroom space, but it’s definitely a piece of history and was fun looking through Liz’s objects trying to find familiar things I once knew.  Seeing all the linens and porcelain reminded me once again of my Nana and her beautiful home and decor and how happy I am to still have the beautiful one of a kind table cloths and napkins she used for holidays. And how as a younger child when sleeping over at her house, I would wake up early and set the breakfast table as she did and she would be so happy, probably thought I too would be setting a table each night for my family, well I suppose I could put at least a place mat on the tv trays to make them a little classier, but I don’t.
Each room was painted a different southern color and furnished appropriately for giving the appearance of times long ago.  Here’s a look and remember, it’s all for sale:

It’s little treasures were well placed and there’s a blend of gifts, new and old to enjoy. Have fun discovering this along the way to downtown Sanford, Live Oak Cottage, 407-314-6809 

Make a day of visiting our little, vibrant town, go visit all the antique shops, Maya’s Book store and eat at the many restaurants. Remember to take a look at the Historic Sanford Welcome Center and enjoy the ongoing wildlife exhibit.  

At home things are always busy with my crane family:   They fly in and out off and on all day.    The dragonflies are mating, crows moving in for the crumbs and seed on the ground.   Lots of the usual birds,   And as the moon comes up, it’s all about enjoying the gorgeous view. 
As I stared,  I wondered how 7 people lived in my own  ’60’s’ house, clustered together sharing small bedrooms, tiny closets and bathrooms,  It’s functional for the two of us,  but if we had to add 5 more, yikes, that’s too crazy to think about!
It was a day filled  with nostalgia, missing the old family and wishing my brother and Penni lived closer. Wishing to change the eating habits, but enjoying the gluttony of fatty foods that make the serotonin happy.
I sat back in my chair and observed Frankie,   the 18 year old cat looking at me through her wise and ancient eyes just wanting a few strokes, a little human contact. Does she ever remember back to certain times? Of being a kitten? Getting spayed?  I doubt she thinks of anything except her urges to eat and use the box, maybe when I get to be her age, let’s see 5 cat years X 18 makes her 90 in human years, I guess if I make it that far and still remember my own name and my grandchildrens by then and to eat by myself  and ‘use the box’ then the importance of other things won’t really matter, will it?