County Lines by Bob
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
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
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
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
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
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
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