Early Morning Mist and a Song
Today was a special day for the Sandpoint Rotary Club. We had presentations from 3 recent participants in our Youth Services Foreign Exchange Student program. I participated via Zoom and it was great to hear the experiences of two local students, one of which went to Croatia and another who went to Taiwan and a student from Brazil who spent a year in Sandpoint. The exchange program is just one of the many ways that Rotary promotes goodwill and peace on an international scale. The students develop an appreciation for other cultures, life long friendships and a realization that there is a "big world" out there! The exchange program is just one of the several Youth Services programs of the Sandpoint Rotary Club that I am riding to raise funds to support. Thanks to all for your generous donations. There is still time to donate, just go to the donate section of www.ridewithmel.com.
Now to today's ride. Another great ride of 80 miles through the Panhandle of Florida. Currently in Live Oak Florida. Built along the Pensacola & Georgia Railroad in or prior to 1861, Live Oak was named for a southern live oak tree under which railroad workers rested and ate lunch. When a railroad depot was built nearby, the small community that sprung up around it was called “Live Oak Station”
Great early morning scenery. Looking down the road at sunrise it was as though I was riding into a mist shrouded forest. Early morning reflections, one of several county courthouses that I rode by today, a large peanut farming operation and lastly the Suwannee River which is the river featured in the 1851 song, "Old Folks at Home" by Stephen Foster. The song is also known as "Swanee River". Foster had composed most of the lyrics but was struggling to name the river of the opening line, and asked his brother to suggest one. The first suggestion was "Yazoo" (in Mississippi), which despite fitting the melody perfectly, was rejected by Foster. The second suggestion was "Pee Dee" (in South Carolina), to which Foster said, "Oh pshaw! I won't have that." His brother then consulted an atlas and called out "Suwannee!" Foster said, "That's it, exactly!" Adding it to the lyrics, he purposely misspelled it as "Swanee" to fit the melody. Foster himself never saw the Suwannee, or even visited Florida, but nevertheless Florida made "Old Folks At Home" its state song in 1935, replacing "Florida, My Florida". Despite the song's popularity during the era, few people outside of Florida actually knew where the Suwannee River was, or that it was even a real place.