Wednesday, July 4, 2012

There's No Place Like Home after the Cummer Museum, Jacksonville

On my first day with my Jacksonville customer, the umbrella is definitely in order.

Even the ducks and geese are headed for higher ground.

The rain hangs around off and on all day.  This really shouldn't present a problem because my plans today are to go to the Cummer Museum since this is the only night they are open late.

As usual, I ask my customer, "What is there to do here in Jacksonville other than going to the mall?"  He looks at me and says, "Go to St. Augustine."  A totally different city. 

I tell him the idea is to see what Jacksonville has to offer.  I mention that I was unable to find any live theater show here, something I usually try to do.  He knows of a dinner theater called Alhambra and helpfully looks it up for me.  They are showing the Wizard of Oz, giving me an option for later in the week.

Sometimes customers have lunch brought in.  Sometimes they accompany me to lunch.  This gentleman is of the "I'll see you in about an hour" variety so during lunch I drive out to Jacksonville Beach Pier.  I hope that if the storm moves out before I go I can come back on the morning I fly home to get some photos of the sunrise.

No sun under red flag conditions today.

Some people are undeterred.

There are a few people on the pier.  It costs $1 to just walk on here.  I don't have much time left so maybe Friday I will pay the extra buck.

More fun with the filters on my new app.

Red Flags everywhere

This bird was practicing his technique by extending his wings and "gliding" while sitting on the No Dogs Allowed sign.

When work is done for the day I decide to go directly to the museum.  This will allow me to get done earlier so I can get dinner and get back to the hotel at a decent hour.  The museum is on the outskirts of downtown and it is raining when I arrive.  Luckily I procured the umbrella yesterday because the parking lot is across the street.

Because of all the rain, the formal Gardens are closed.   There is a gargoyle rescued from a New York building scheduled for demolition, a statue of the Roman goddess Diana, a tea garden, an Italian garden and a Live oak tree estimated to be over 175 years old.  At least in theory, I can't verify any of this since I didn't see it.

The museum itself is like most other art museums I have been to but smaller.  Remember, I live in the Dallas area.  You could probably fit 5 Cummers inside the Dallas Museum of Art.

There is a large area for kids that includes some interactive exhibits.  While nice, I am currently not in possession of a child so my presence here is met with hostile looks of suspicion.  Especially when I get out my camera.

There is also a video that gives a history of the family, the museum and the gardens.  There is one advantage to seeing the gardens on video rather than in person. 
Fewer mosquitoes.

There are several Andy Warhol pieces in the museum's collection.  In this gallery I also saw a woman's breast.  It wasn't in one of the art pieces.  It was on a seriously under-dressed patron having a wardrobe malfunction (I prefer to assume it was accidental, the two men she was with might choose otherwise).

And a whole room of religious art, which I have always been drawn to.  Give me a cemetery with some statues and my camera and I am happy.

The whole museum takes less than an hour (I don't read all of the plaques, never will) and I am feeling pretty glad it was also free to get in tonight.  The ladies room is closed for some reason and I really need to find a working restroom soon so time to go.

And then, it was like I was in a movie.  I am standing outside waiting to cross the street to return to the parking lot.  There is quite a bit of traffic so I wait near the curb.  There are around half a dozen people across the street waiting to cross to my side.  They look at me.  I look at them.  I don't see the truck.

There is a sizable puddle against the curb on my side of the street.  All of the cars move to the other lane to avoid it.  Not him.  He accelerates.  Before I can react he hits the puddle and the water makes a perfect arc that hits me right in the chest.  My hair and top are soaking wet.  The people across the street just look at me and are kind enough not to laugh.

My pants are the least wet thing I have on at this point.  I am really unhappy.  I cannot stand to be in wet clothing.  I am over 10 miles from the hotel.  My hair is dripping.  I had planned to go directly to dinner.  Not now.

On the way back to the hotel I am miserable.  The museum was mainly a bust and now I am wet to boot.  There is only one thing left to do.

Commiserate with someone else who knows what I know...There's no place like home.

That's right.  I go to the dinner theater.  Because the museum didn't take very long, I have time - or so I think.  The GPS says it will take 10 minutes from my hotel once I get there and dry off and change clothes.

It takes me over an hour to get there in a torrential downpour.  When I arrive the power is off.  I am on the verge of tears.

This is because I rented a vehicle.  It never occurred to me to rent a VESSEL!  That would have been much smarter under the circumstances.

Fortunately, the drive over isn't wasted as the power comes back on and I am sold a ticket.  When the hostess shows me to my table, we have to stand there a moment because my seat is occupied with a purse.  Finally, the woman looks up and is informed that her purse is in my seat.  She sighs loudly, rolls her eyes and slowly makes a production of moving it.  This is a table for 4 and she isn't happy that I have inserted myself into her little party of 3 (she has two girls around 10 years old with her).

Later, Mary - the mother - loosens up and is nice and chatty with me.  This could be because I just started talking to her and acting like nothing was wrong and that I didn't notice her rude behavior in the beginning.  It could be the 3 glasses of wine she had.

I have Iced Tea, the Emerald City Cod and the Tin cup of chocolate mousse which is actually brought to me in a glass Mason jar.  I have no idea what Mary and the girls had since they are finished and the table is cleared before I even arrive.  Mary is still on her first glass of wine.  Two and three come in pretty quick succession after I get there.  I try not to take it personally.

The play is fine, not great but not terrible either.  I find myself wishing I could steal Dorothy's ruby slippers and tap my way back home.  But I have big feet so I doubt they would fit me.

After Mary loosened up a little, I asked her the same question I asked my customer earlier - what should I do here in Jacksonville?  She said, "Go to St. Augustine".  Okay, okay, universe, I get the message.  Tomorrow, that is exactly what I will do.

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