Monday, April 15, 2013

Pittsburgh to Tampa




 daily haiku

coo of the mourning dove
off alone somewhere

Well, it is Sunday and snow is coming down slanted at times because of the wind. We're having April showers...sometimes rain, sometimes snow, but what ever form in which it comes, we need it badly so I will not complain.

I am home from a trip to visit two of my children. The first stop was in Pittsburgh to visit our oldest son and his wife, plus their two dogs. Stephen and Alice adopt many older dogs who cannot find homes. They grow to love them and then lose them in a few years, but the time they spend together is special for all of them. Currently they have a Husky mix and a retired Greyhound - beautiful dogs very sedate and loving in their older years. I admire their courage in adopting them.

While I was there, Alice drove me to Fallingwater, the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house built around the Bear Run stream.  It has been one of my dreams to see this house and I was not disappointed. It is most unusual and the level of thoughtful little details in the design is amazing. For instance, most rooms have a rock floor.... rocks that have been smoothed by the water and have little undulations. Wherever the view from the room looks towards the water, the rocks have been polished with Johnson's Wax so that they have a similar reflection as the water and they merge together. The house, now a museum is only available by guided tours and no indoor pictures allowed. Throughout each room are wonderful pieces of art ..Picasso, Diego Rivera and a new sculptor to me- Richmond Barthe - one small bust was utterly exquisite, the most emotional piece of work I have ever seen.

After the tour we drove a little further south to another less well known FLW house - Kentuck Knob. In contrast to the multi-level Fallingwater, this is a smaller house all on one level.  It is also built with natural rock from the area and the interior is hewn wood and rock. The impression is one of a log cabin in some ways; it is intimate, cozy and warm. It is currently owned by a British Lord - Lord Palumbo - who is noted for his contributions to the arts and architecture. The grounds of Kentuck Knob have a collection of sculptures the most eye catching of which is the Red Army, about 200 -300 iron silhouettes painted red. There is also a large piece of the Berlin Wall. 

We also took a tour of downtown Pittsburgh on WW II DUKW boat. Much fun! We traversed downtown buildings by wheel then entered the Ohio River and chugged into the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. 

I left Pittsburgh and flew to Tampa, Fl. to visit daughter Sarah and husband Jerry. Sarah unfortunately had to work much of the time, but Jerry was a great host and we went to the new Tampa Historical Center. I was most interested in the exhibit of the Seminole Tribe and the Indian Wars. One of the generals in the war against the Seminoles was Zachary Taylor who later became President. Interesting to me because the person who homesteaded my quarter section was named Zachary Taylor Cox - obviously after the President of that name.

The next day we went to one of my favorite places, Ybor City, the Cuban quarter of Tampa, where we had lunch at Columbia - my favorite restaurant in the US, I believe. Fried plantains send me to heaven :) We went to the El Molino coffee roasters and I ordered Cuban coffee to be shipped home - it is best made very strong and has a wonderful flavor.

So now I am back to being alone again on my hill and watching the snow squalls of April driving through. I loved being with the children and miss them a lot. I wish we lived closer, but at the moment we are driven by our choices, them to the east and me to my beloved west. As Frank Lloyd Wright said when he selected the site for Taliesin West “This is pure abstraction wherever you look.”


  1. Dear Chris, these photographs are so sharp and clear. You must have both a wonderful camera and an amazing eye. I'm glad for you that your trip to see your children was so rewarding and that you got to eat plantains at your favorite restaurant.

    I enjoy going away and visiting but I always love coming home to the three cats and to the comfort of being surrounded by those things of beauty that most speak to me. Peace.

  2. Thanks so much for your nice words, Dee. I do have a good camera, but I don't take it when I travel; I use a point and shoot Canon, it has a good lens and is easy to use. Peace to you too. Chris