2001 – A Pogo Odyssey. Waycross,
Miz Beaver’s Diary
Wednesday, March 21,
I wish I could find a way to leave Boise at about 10:00 AM and be in Jacksonville by 3:00 PM. Days that start at 4:30 AM are a bit much. I left Boise at 6:50 AM. I had plenty of time in Salt Lake to make my connection to Dallas-Fort Worth, so we landed at B5 and departed from B8. At DFW, I had more time yet, so we landed at 14 and departed from 13. I have a theory that the less time you have between flights, the further apart the gates are. We arrived early at Jacksonville, my bags came off the plane early and Hertz had my car ready. This was definitely a day when I couldn’t lose.
The drive from the airport to Waycross is nice anytime, but especially nice in the spring.
There were beautiful flowers in the median and everything looked fresh and green. I stopped at Subway in Waycross. The airlines have found a way to stop complaints about their food. They don’t give you any. I had reservations at The Hampton Inn. My room was very nice and the staff was as hospitable as they have always been in the past.
Thursday, March 22
Thursday was my day to browse around Waycross, do some shopping, press the wrinkles out of my clothes and get ready to have a great weekend. Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of going with Ray Young from Georgia and Harold Wimberley from Tennessee. (More about them later.) To “The Pig”. Every year when I go to Waycross, I hear stories about “The Pig”, so when they invited me to join them, I couldn’t say no. “The Pig” is a small restaurant in Waycross. They serve barbecue. That’s all, just barbecue. It is not fancy, but the food is very good. If you happen to be in Waycross and enjoy barbecue, you should visit “The Pig”. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel to join the Pogo Fan Club for a dinner of several varieties of chicken wings, salad and all sorts of extras arranged by William and Janice Parks of Waycross. This was a great opportunity to get together and greet old and new friends. Steve Thompson, Pogo Fan Club president and general factotum arrived from Minnesota with Bob Harvey from Illinois. Steve is recovering from eye surgery so Bob came along to help him drive. This was a better arrangement than waiting for the scraping of metal-on-metal to tell you when you were getting too close to the other cars. Bob has very distinguished looking gray hair. I heard it was brown when he left home, but that may be a baseless rumor.
Friday, March 23
The weather was fantastic and the morning and afternoon presented a great opportunity for sightseeing or whatever attracted your interest. I went to the Swamp. It is a short drive south on US1. I browsed through the exhibits and checked out the animals and then took the one-hour boat trip. It was a beautiful day with blue sky and sunshine and lots of ‘gators sunning themselves. The flowers were blooming and it was a great day to be in the Okefenokee.
At 5:00 PM we gathered at Mary Street Park for the Pogofest Parade. We exchanged stories about the hazards of riding the fire engines while Ray and Harold worked on Harold’s latest picture album. Every year, Harold takes pictures for his Pogofest album. He selects an object as the “theme” for the year. 2001 was the year of “Red Dog”. I have a few pictures of Red Dog and am negotiating with Harold to publish his album on-line.
After the parade, we went to the newly renovated Depot in downtown Waycross. The Pogofest committee treated us all to Low-Country Boil. It was as good as I remembered.
Following dinner we returned to The Hampton for the World Premiere showing of “Pogo, We Have Met The Enemy”. This is an animated movie done by Walt and Selby Kelly with WK doing the voices. I have heard of it for years and finally got an opportunity to see it. Steve Thompson purchased it on Ebay. I don’t remember the exact bidding history, but I think all the unsuccessful bidders were present at the showing. It is an interesting movie because it was done entirely by Walt & Selby Kelly. When you watch the movie you know this is what WK wanted it to look (and sound) like.
Saturday, March 24
Saturday was the day to check out the Street Fair, and then come to the Depot for “Miggle’s Emporium”. We had a nice gathering of Pogo fans for Buy-Sell-Trade. Nik Lauer and Leo Taflin from Washington State were there to introduce their book The Pogopedia. Bob Harvey or Robert C. Harvey as he is formally known was there with some Pogo books and his own books. We did some horse-trading and I came home with Children of the Yellow Kid, and The Art of the Funnies. There was a good selection of the more unusual Pogo and other comic collectibles. I bought, sold and traded and considered the day a success.
Saturday evening we went to Whitfield’s for dinner, followed by another showing of the Pogo movie for those who missed it on Friday. This was followed by an auction to raise money to help finance Pogofest. There were some good things for sale and some rather strange things for sale. We had a great time, laughed a lot and left some money behind to help make next year better yet.
If you have been to Pogofest before, you need to come back. If you haven’t been there before, you need to correct that in 2002. The tentative schedule is March 21-22 &23. Southern hospitality is better than you have heard, at least in Waycross. Start planning now. Tell your daughter she will have to re-schedule the wedding.