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80 Years Ago

Archives 04-25-2001

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

For comments or questions contact Bob at bobncl@hotmail.com




Pinchy and I spent a few days in Cassadaga when we went to Florida recently. Founded in 1895, Cassadaga is the oldest spiritualist community in the United States.

Cassadaga was designed and developed with a simple concept in mind: Trees and wildlife are more valuable than concrete and asphalt.

Cassadaga has no shortage of shade or squirrels or birds or Tarot card readers or astrologers. Fortune tellers of every description work out of stores and houses along Cassadaga Boulevard and a narrow back road, appropriately named Psychic Avenue.

Every corner has a book store with everything from Zen to Tao to Ram Dass to the Lost Teachings of Jesus. Sitar music and the chanting of Buddhist monks from stereo speakers swirl out of open doors, inviting the enlightened and those wanting to be to come in and look around.

No high-pressure sales tactics. Sit back. Relax. Read. Breathe in the sandalwood incense. Soak up the soothing vibes. No hurry. No hassles. A thank you and a come back soon, whether you buy anything or not. Peace. Love. Everything is mellow. Everything is cool, even the cops in Cassadaga.

Finding a place to stay is simple. There's one hotel in Cassadaga. I'll let you guess the name. The rooms are inexpensive and provide that slipping-into-the-past feeling.

In our room, a wooden dresser painted thick in pale green, like Grandma covered everything in except the baby, sat on one side of a double bed with an iron bedstead. On the other side, a black dial phone occupied the top of a night stand, heavy with the same abundant color.

A gallon of the stuff must have cost all of a dime. Probably paid for with two Indian-head nickels.

No shower in the bathroom. Only a porcelain tub, big enough to spread out in, as water, nearly hot enough to scald a lobster, reached my chin.

While Pinchy was in the bathroom frizzing her hair, I sat outside, waiting under a giant cypress bounded by a hibiscus hedge. I kept expecting Grandpa to walk up and toss a couple rabbits down."Here, boy, clean ‘em."

Distant recollections returning in settings similar to the past. Old feelings surfacing, rising to inhale deeply. I could almost smell Grandpa's pipe tobacco. After all these years, I still miss him. Childhood memories cut the deepest.

The morning after we arrived, Pinchy and I ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant.

She had her usual half piece of dry toast and two tablespoons of bran flakes with a splash of no-fat milk.

I ordered three eggs, three slices of toast, slathered with butter, three slices of bacon, grits, and a double stack of pancakes covered in blueberry syrup. I washed everything down with a pot of thick coffee, then another.

How Pinchy eats, or more accurately how she doesn't eat, is her business. But I want some meat on my bones when I reach Valhalla after crossing over.

After breakfast, Pinchy walked to a nearby park, where lectures on chakras and reincarnation were scheduled. According to a pamphlet, a demonstration of past life regression would follow the lectures.

I returned to our room, did a meditation to open my third eye, removed my Tarot cards from their sandalwood box, and sat at a table on a patio outside the rear door. A concrete path connected the patio to a nearby sidewalk, where tourists of every description meandered about. Some in a hurry. Some leisurely enjoying the trip.

I placed a cardboard sign on the table: TAROT CARD READINGS. Charges for a reading are fairly standard: $25 for 15 minutes, $40 for half an hour, $75 for an hour.

I used a spread called the Celtic Cross, pronounced keltic. I threw in astrology to make the readings more interesting.

Many books report that Tarot cards were invented in England in the 13th century to represent members of the royal court. Not true.

Tarot cards, small stone tablets etched with symbolism, were used for occult divination in ancient Egypt, the birthplace of all the major world religions today.

The first Buddha telling his disciples to turn the other cheek 600 years before the beginning of the Christian era was no coincidence.

Tarot cards, when used correctly, plug into a divine power source.

When giving a reading, many Tarot card readers stick to what most people are concerned with, sex and money. Or finances and romance to be less direct. I'm not that kind of reader. I focus on the person's spiritual path. We're all on a spiritual journey, whether we call it that or not.

Even my former addictions are of spiritual significance. Like William Blake put it, "The road of excess leads to enlightenment." Perhaps he should have added, "If it doesn't kill you first."

When Pinchy returned, I closed my Tarot reading business, unfolded the wad I had earned, and removed 25% for a donation to a homeless shelter. "Give and it shall be given to you, pressed down and flowing over."

The following morning, Pinchy and I participated in an all-faiths worship service to welcome the rising sun. An old hippie strummed a guitar and the congregation sang, "Good morning, Starshine, the Earth says hello. You twinkle above us. We twinkle below." I pounded along on my bongos.

After celebrating the dawn of a new day, Pinchy and I headed for the airport.

We enjoyed a good time in Cassadaga, home to friendly spirits and America's finest psychics, located off Interstate 4 at exit 55 between Orlando and Daytona. Just follow the signs.



Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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