Greensboro, Friends & Beautiful Fiancee’s

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Lake Oconee

We spent the weekend in Greensboro GA with Sheila’s friend/boss at his (OMG!!) (WTF??) (Really!?) (Holy Cow!!) b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l home in Harbor Club on Lake Oconee. As you might surmise, the house is fantastic! I told Sheila, “This is easily the cleanest home I have ever been in”, and she said, “It really is spotless and beautiful, isn’t it?”, but I could tell by her innuendo that she was thinking, either:

  1. “our house could be this clean if you didn’t have so many unemployed musicians in it every week”, or;
  2. “our house could be this clean if your make-believe dog wasn’t such a PITA”, or;
  3. “our house could be this clean if YOU would clean it”

I’m pretty sure that list could continue on for quite a while, but I’ll just let that drift away for the time being.

We stopped enroute to pick up Sheila’s friend/co-worker Val and her boyfriend at her home in Roswell, then headed east. For some who-the-heck-knows reason there was almost no traffic going through Atlanta (what? … I know, right? There is ALWAYS traffic in the ATL) (as a reminder, if you’re new: I’m going to refer to Atlanta most times as “The ATL”, it’s the hip thing to do, or so I’m told) so we made great time. Val suggested we stop in a town called Madison for a bite to eat since we were running a bit early.

Madison is a pretty little town with some very historic buildings. That, in and of itself, is remarkable since Georgia doesn’t have too much concern for historic structures, routinely knocking crap down to build new, shiny things that the hipsters can “ooh” and “aah” at with reckless abandon. 

Now, according to Sheila, it’s all Sherman’s fault for his march through Georgia when he torched the entire state as they marched (Sheila really dislikes Sherman) (odd, since Sheila grew up in California eating pizza with avocados and sprouts) (pretty sure Sherman didn’t have avocados OR sprouts), thereby creating this “screw history” attitude that seems to exist here in Georgia. To be completely fair, Sheila does have southern roots … her Great-Great-Grandfather fought for the South and was wounded in the Battle of Shiloh, and ultimately died from wounds suffered in the Battle of Shiloh (of course, that was probably 74 years later, but who’s counting) … so her indignation with “Uncle Billy” (the troops called Sherman that) is somewhat understandable.

The WWI Doughboy … figured I’d ease the Sherman tension with an unrelated war

But anyway, Madison somehow avoided being infected with Sherman-itis (not to mention avocados) and kept a lot of their old buildings, creating a beautiful southern-looking town. We had lunch at a little coffee shop that also had sandwiches, where the service was warm and the food was good … but everything was done at a snail’s pace and the 13-item menu seemed to be overwhelming to the sweet lady who waited on us. Dan (Val’s boyfriend) and I had two semi-similar sandwiches and I’m not sure if I ate the right one or not, but it was very tasty and my digestive tract had plenty of time to work on the processing while we waited for a check. By the time Dan paid (somehow I out-fumbled him for the check 😊) my meal was well on its way to being completely digested.

Madison Courthouse

We did take a quick walk around town (not too long … due to the dirge-like service pace we were now running late) and noted that anything representing a retail environment was closed (this is a Saturday at noon, BTW), so I’m guessing the exchange of cash isn’t a high priority in Madison GA. But the buildings were really nice and I can see a day in the not too distant future where Madison GA will be the cool place to be.

We ventured on to Greensboro, where Sheila’s friend (and boss, too, but they’ve worked together forever) Jeff and his wife Peg have their sort-of vacation home. If I haven’t already said it, OMG, what a beautiful home! Very spacious sitting right on Lake Oconee with a 5-boat dock (replete with lifts), a cool dock surface, wonderfully landscaped property … the very picture of relaxation and peace. This is a pic of the neighbor across the cove … I’m not posting any pics of Jeff & Peg’s house so the miscreants in Jersey that read this blog can come down here and rip them off  … (oops, did I write that out loud?) (didn’t mean to besmirch the character of my former Jersey brethern) (let me try that again) … I’m not posting any pics of Jeff & Peg’s house so the stellar folks in Jersey that read this blog don’t feel jealous (there, that’s better).

Not Jeff’s house
Jeff and Peg took us for a boat ride around Lake Oconee. That lake is HUGE, just about 30 square miles. It was created in the late ‘70’s by the local power utility to work in conjunction with a dam, so as a result all of the land immediately abutting the water surface is owned by Georgia Power and leased to the residents. Unfortunately for Jeff/Peg, the bulkhead is NOT owned by GP … in keeping with the trends of all public utilities, if it is going to cost money you’re paying for it, not the utility. But Jeff explained that, since their property is located in a cove, the bulkhead doesn’t get battered by waves from speeding boats and jet skis and subsequently it’s in pretty good shape.
Jeff – boss, friend, boat captain

It’s always a little awkward for me in these types of settings at first. Frank, Sheila’s husband who passed away a few weeks after Bunny, was a gregarious and outgoing guy who was always well liked, so while I don’t necessarily feel the need to “compete” in any way, I’m always super cognizant of the fact that these are Sheila’s long-term friends (and in this case, co-workers and THE BOSS) and I can’t just be all, you know, uhh … Jersey …   But in this instance, Jeff & Peg and Val & Dan (sounds like some horrible rom-com from ‘80’s, doesn’t it?) were incredibly gracious and welcoming and tolerated my slowly developing Georgia mannerism re-boot.

After a tour of Lake Oconee, which included some lake swimming off of the boat (Jeff cautioned everyone not to dive head-first off the boat) (it’s a man-made lake and anything could be below the, at times, shallow water depth). Neither Sheila nor I participated in the off-the-boat swimming; we had both, independently, come to the conclusion that we weren’t going to do anything that had even a remote possibility of damaging a body part (Jeff: “Don’t jump head-first off the boat, you could easily be impaled on a used-to-be pine tree trunk in some shallow parts”) before we get married … I guess the innuendo is that once we’re married who really cares if stuff breaks or not … plus, I’m the whitest white man since Johnny Winter (who? I can just hear everyone under the age of 50 hitting the Google search pages) and Sheila isn’t very far behind me, pigment-wise. (but why is her skin sooo pretty and mine sooo pasty?) We don’t need to be beet red and peeling while saying “I Do”.

Peg, Dan and Val not impaled on tree trunks

After a beautiful afternoon on the water and relaxing with adult beverages (I did partake in the adult beverages), we were treated to a wonderful meal prepared by Peg (really, truly wonderful!!) and then spent the evening at a local marina off the lake listening to live music and enjoying the end of a really coolio day! These folks are all extremely nice and, BTW, very intelligent, which is always a challenge for me to keep up with conversations regarding, for example, “sustainability” (FYI, they all seriously disliked the over-use of the term) (I was busy wiping spittle off my chin and contemplating the oddity of toe hair) (Sheila was busy looking through her contacts list for a replacement fiancée) (there is a guy in there named Sergio … I really gotta get rid of that guy).

I’ve come to realize that Sheila’s friends, whether work related or otherwise, are all extremely nice. I can’t think of a single one of them that I find to be a drag. Sheila has liked all of my friends, but I’ve been careful to only introduce her to my friends that I know chew with their mouth closed. And her friends always seem interested in my musical background, which is somewhat unique to most people who may never have seen a professional musician live and in person at their dining room table. Kind of like looking at a slug and wondering “How to they move like that and why do they leave a slime trail?” j/k, they were very gracious and friendly and didn’t hold my musical proclivities against me. (Okay … yes, I had to look up “proclivities” … but I had to call Laura first to tell me how to spell it) (Laura is another smarty-pants) (Laura=daughter, if you’re new here)

Sunday morning Peg served up a knock-out breakfast! It’s amazing how effortlessly she put these beautiful and delicious meals together, since she always seemed to be sitting with us without any prolonged absences. When I cook it takes about 4 days to get my ingredients together, then I have to bug Sheila about 20 times while cooking it, the stove is always a mess, dogs begging at my feet, food all over the place, garbage bag getting constantly changed, honestly, it’s a disaster! Peg just kind of floated past the kitchen, I think she might have twitched her nose like Samantha on Bewitched (again, the sounds of Google-searching are likely going on right now), and Bam! … Here’s some delicious food!

The weekend was great and I’m so appreciative of the generosity and kindness shown me by Sheila’s circle of peeps.  It’s all a part of the wonderment that is Sheila and makes me even more aware of the level of my good fortune in meeting this pure soul.

As an aside, when I first began speaking with Sheila she told me she was a “very private person” and “didn’t like having her personal information displayed” for everyone to see. Well, clearly, that goal has been smashed to pieces! I guess those are the perils of falling in love with a Jersey musician who also happens to be a blabbermouth. Yet somehow this beautiful woman continues to keep me around … is there anyone more blessed than me?

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