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The Sugarcane Festival at the Meltons’

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There was an event that recently took place in our county called “The Sugarcane Festival” and it was hosted by and at the property of Mr. Steve Melton. You had to take some back roads and dirt roads to get to it, but like many who go looking for great Florida destinations, this was a true “Florida on a Tankful” experience! The awaited adventure started last year when my wife and I attended another good Florida mini-attraction. It was the “Pioneer Days” gathering in Dade City. While we were taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of that venue, I happened to stop in at the sugarcane “old-time processing” set up on the north end of the grounds. It was there that I first met and had a good conversation with Mr. Melton. He mentioned a little bit about the shindig that his family puts on and I was able to get his phone number before heading home.

A few days before the Cane Fest, I cut down some of my sugarcane, cleaned, trimmed, and dried a dozen or so stalks, and when the day came, we were ready to go. Saturday morning was upon us, and as most busy Floridians can attest, trips and priorities were juggled around to “make it work.” We took the wife’s minivan to church, and the music practice went well. Got home and loaded those cut cane stalks into my wife’s van, and got it ready to roll. I turned the key to start the car and click, click, click was all we heard (bummer)! Fortunately, this slowed things down, but it was not going to keep me (us) from making our appointment. Being as the old trusty Dodge pickup was parked next to the van, the items to be taken were quickly transferred, and off we went.

A brief look to the past.

Late last week, I loaded the family up in the van and took them for a little drive through the countryside. We took Hwy 50 east to Lockhart Road and took it out to just a little ways past where it goes over the I-75 interstate. Once past this landmark, we came upon an agricultural business on the left side of the road named “Jack Melton Family Farms.” I then mistook this to be the site for the coming festival. We got to the end of Lockhart Road and turned right so as to head back home.

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Fast forward to today, we came up on that aforementioned business property, and there was nothing going on! I turned the truck onto the dirt road loop and was going to head back west when my wife suggested that we continue heading a little more south on Lockhart and see if we see any commotion going on. As we discussed this option, two cars went by us, one right behind the other. We looked at each other, and she said, “Follow those cars!” We all got to the end of Lockhart Road, and as the two vehicles both turned left at the intersection, we followed suit. It was not hard to see where everyone was going, as there were “stick down” signs saying Melton’s Sugarcane Festival.

Now, besides the transfer of harmonicas and cane stalks, we had brought some fold-up lawn chairs (just in case). It turns out that there were several meeting places on the grounds where fold-up chairs were already set up (nice). A few historical notes here- while speaking with Mr. Melton (Steve), I found out that he had purchased a Grist mill (that was steady cranking out corn meal and grits) back in 2010, but upon further inspection, I note that the label affixed to the mill stated as follows; Arnold Grist Mill Started June 10th, 1918, Operated in Lawrenceville, Ga. The Top Runner Millstone is probably a rose conglomerate stone from Lancaster, Penn.

As we strolled around the property, we spoke with several of the vendors and machinery display groups. It was (to me) a reminder that before there was “corporate” electricity in most homes and businesses, people relied on personal energy products, from wind turbines, water hydroelectric, (and mechanical water (Hydro) mills to belt the machine motivation.

I believe that (1) the people back in the days that a lot of those old machines were designed for were able to handle energy calamities a lot better than what I feel people would do today. (2) I feel that those living “The American Dream” of yesteryear were a lot more patriotic than most of the common folk of today.

Now, in closing, I am going to offer you all some advice. Teach (or show )your family some tools, trades, and tips on how to survive if ever there comes a day when we lose our electricity (like, for a time more than a week, month, or quite possibly, a year)! You may be thinking, “This will NEVER HAPPEN to us.” (I have a news flash for you; as I have stated in the past, as our earth’s magnetic “shield” gets further depleted (and it has already diminished about 20 percent). It could happen (so NEVER SAY NEVER)! The people that are trying to get the U.S. into a “New World Order” are basing their marketing aim at younger kids and do NOT want the older generations teaching family values like survival and family strength to the generation that knows more about computer coding than assisting in home repairs, just saying. The family members are going to have to do these things because they sure will not be learning anything like that in public schools! (Getting off of my soap box now), Y’all have a fun and blessed week, and remember, being kind and helpful is part of being AMERICAN!

Sugarcane Fest at the Meltons. Photo provided by Steve Goodwin.
Sugarcane Fest at the Meltons. Photo provided by Steve Goodwin.
Sugarcane Fest at the Meltons. Photo provided by Steve Goodwin.
Sugarcane Fest at the Meltons. Photo provided by Steve Goodwin.
Sugarcane Fest at the Meltons. Photo provided by Steve Goodwin.
Sugarcane Fest at the Meltons. Photo provided by Steve Goodwin.

Steve Goodwin is a recently retired Christian conservative veteran (of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division), who still feels that “duty to country” did not end when the military uniform got hung up. He and his wife Cecelia live on the edge of a beautifully wooded tract of land just south of the bypass, and are involved in not only church activities, but also attend school board meetings and local community action events as well.

Steven Goodwin
Steven Goodwin
Steve Goodwin is a recently retired Christian conservative veteran (of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division), who still feels that "duty to country" did not end when the military uniform got hung up. He and his wife Cecelia live on the edge of a beautifully wooded tract of land just south of the bypass, and are involved in not only church activities, but also attend school board meetings and local community action events as well.
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