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Audrey’s Adventure: The Curious Beauty of Florida

Like the saltwater of the Intracoastal Waterway as seen from the I-1 drive between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida and I have a deep history that runs like high tide through my veins. When I was maybe seven years old, I took a trip down with my grandparents to visit family. At the time, only my dad’s brother and his family lived down here—nowadays, I also have an aunt in Deltona and some of my mom’s family in St. Augustine. I remember returning after a little longer than a week’s stay, sitting in the living room at my parents’ house upon our reunion, and crying. On so many levels, even at that age, the state embodied magic to me—the ocean, the warmth, the curious array of birds. I didn’t want to be away from it. 

The memory comes to me as a flash at some point while I’m in the car with my aunt Kim. Kim, my mother’s sister-in-law, is the personification of fierce love in several ways. Many of my relatives innately are. However, there’s a way I connect to her brand of strength in particular—whether it’s listening to her talk about her relationships with her female friends, her dynamic with her parents, or the chapter of our family’s hell when her son had cancer—that I haven’t found with most other females in my life. It’s raw, yet compassionate and grounded. It leaks through her when she sits at a table while we prepare a mailing for her kids’ school one night, as she tells me how amazed she is to see how I, my brother, and cousins have grown up; or when the two of us sit on the beach and talk about the nature of love. It hits me hardest when she brings up my grandmother.

Mary Lou Joseph was one of the great loves of my young life, and a presence who I have had to miss on the daily for around six years. It is normal for grandparents to pass early on in a person’s life, but I confess that the cosmos and I have had a couple of arguments where I’ve relentlessly whined about this. In her wisdom, her brilliance, and her unapologetic genuinity, she was a magical creature. All of the things I am learning about womanhood and life and love have a tendency to blow my head open more frequently than I’m prone to admitting, and as much as I feel cheated out of the perfect teacher, I feel guilt over neglecting my time with her in the final stages of her life. 

Before M.L. moved next door to us when I was maybe nine years old, she lived in a blue house on a cliff by Vinegar Flats, and before that, she lived in Florida. It makes sense to me that the most magical person I ever knew in my life spent many of her years in a place that keeps its magic a secret. Yes, there are Dunkin’ Donuts all over the damn place; ditto for housing developments, confusing billboards, and strip malls. But if you look a wee bit beyond each of those things, you find hordes of cranes standing at the edge of man-made ponds. Marshes that are home to manatees in crystalline waters. Trees that have towered like giants for hundreds of years. A sky that boasts a variety of clouds to interrupt shades of blue that barely seem to belong on this planet. 

Inland from Daytona Beach, a small town named Deltona is home to my Aunt Jeannie these days. She has long dark hair and the kind of laugh that will, even at this age, cause a rupture of joy so deep inside me that once I join her, it’s hard to stop. She possesses the sort of good nature where my words begin to spill the minute I sit in the car with her, and even though they slow down at points during our time together, they never really stop; the sort of good nature that furthers my belief in the magic that is inevitably drawn here (she is a Seattle transplant.) During our time together, we pass “Gilmore Girls” references back and forth, gleefully wander around Target, and take small adventures of all sorts.  

She also lives minutes away from a place I’ve always dreamt of visiting. Cassadaga is oft referred to as “the psychic capital of the world.” A drive into the settlement along a tree-lined road shrouds the visitor in an eerie charm, and a giant wooden sign reads “Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp” right at the edge of where a small collection of houses begins. Cassadaga is tiny—it warrants the title “unincorporated community” instead of “town.” It was claimed in 1835 by a man named George Colby, who was prophesied to start a spiritual community during a seance in New York; since blooming into a hub for seers, mystics, and gurus. Bright Eyes, one of my favorite bands growing up, recorded an album named after the place, the opening track of which—-“Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)”—-has at moments been the very slim thread that has held me together and reminded me the world is a beautiful place to live.

 The center of the activity is Hotel Cassadaga, across the street from the welcome center, and kitty corner from two blocks of home-operated psychic readers. There are multiple shops jam-packed with crystals, oils, incense, tarot cards, and the like. In one of these, I pay $25 to have a picture taken of my aura. The polaroid comes out completely red-colored. Red, in auric language, is said to indicate passion and physicality. In theory, a person has multiple colors in their auras. In this photo, my outline is swallowed by a large cloud of red, my body dark, and magenta hanging over the top.

“You need to let go of some of your anger,” the aura photographer tells me. “Forgive the people who have mistreated you.” 

I tell her I’m working on it.

She points to the photo of her aura she wears as a badge around her neck, which is a murky white-indigo-blue, indicating enlightenment, she tells me. She’s worked very hard to have the aura she does, she says. 

“You have potential, but I don’t think you love yourself,” she tells me.

My nostrils flare and I cock an eyebrow. If I wasn’t necessarily angry before, I am now. This is my least favorite conversation to have with people, and it’s one I’ve had a few times over the years. Because I am emotional, and because I have a dark streak, it’s been assumed that, as a woman, I don’t love myself; that couldn’t be further from the truth. Before I can pick a fight with her about this, she launches into a fifteen-minute oral history of how she acquired her aura camera. She writes a number down on the packet she gave me, and tells me I should consider buying one. 

Afterwards, Jeannie and I wander back towards the car. On the ground, I find an action figure with flowers pinned to it. An odd artifact. 

“What is that?” Jeannie asks me.

“It’s a fairy,” I tell her, because that seems the most appropriate answer. I take it with me, and later, pack it into the box of stuff I send back home to myself. 

 After Jeannie sends me off to Kim, I spend the next few days exploring the corner of St. Augustine they live in, drinking a lot of iced coffee, and running errands with her. She takes me to the old village of St. Augustine to explore the shops and eat gourmet popsicles. She also makes a point to take me to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological park. 

St. Augustine is currently celebrating its 450th anniversary, having been founded in 1565. The Fountain of Youth is a site that traces back through its history, with replicas of early buildings, boats, and informational activities such as a planetarium. It is paradise for my geeky side, as I bounce around in models of old chapels and down the boardwalk that stretches a coastal inlet. The park is littered with peacocks that roam freely, some of which are albino, and the roar of a cannon periodically disrupts the quiet to send my aunt and I jumping out of our skin. In a small theater, we watch the voyage of Ponce De Leon explained on a three-dimensional globe. We leave just before the park closes. 

My last day in Florida, my aunt Lisa (who is married to my dad’s brother) takes me on a bike tour of Jacksonville Beach. We drink at a rooftop bar that overlooks the sea, which is a variety of colors in the day’s calm waters. We coast along the beach shortly afterwards, for miles. I remember a bike ride I took through the area a few days prior, wondering if I was bad at loving; now, as a level of surreality sets in, the world becomes a simple matter of me passing beach goers, following my aunt, listening to the approach of a storm in a distance, and feeling my legs push the pedals. It feels a little like sorrow, but a little moreso like freedom. Having time with my aunts down here has affected me in such a way. The three of them—all strong, smart, gentle women—have allowed me to share myself in ways I’m still learning how to do, and what I take from this is an immense amount of relief that can only be explained by the mystical powers of love. 

Before I catch my train, my uncle Tom takes my cousin Andrea and I to dinner on the river in Jacksonville. Only a few brief moments into being seated on the porch, the three of us fixate on a cloud of flying black objects hovering only slightly yonder. Throughout the course of our meal, we watch this giant mass of birds mimic the ocean’s movement in the air, flying in perfect harmony like currents. Other patrons take photos, and the waitress gapes in awe. None of us have seen anything like this before. 

The bewitchery of Florida to me is present in some of the most beautiful shoreline to be found in the U.S., the wild that seems unfazed by the presence of a human world, and the succession of people I love who have found home here. The rest of the world seems to see a very different beast than I do, in the politics, retirement communities, and pastel-colored houses of Miami, but they just haven’t met the place properly. The feeling of leaving isn’t as devastating as it was when I was younger—I have the power now to return at will, and still things to look forward to on this trip. After I go see more family in the Atlanta area, I’m pulling a big fat smiley-faced route to Los Angeles, where I have a free ticket to see my most favorite of bands.

But at one point, Kim whispers to me under her breath “You should really move to Florida, Audrey.” She might be right. If I ever really want to start over, I have a trove of resources and dear people to make that a reality.

Yet it might be better to leave my relationship with it as it is—a place to escape that  feels like home.

Travel: Tasting the Best of Apalachicola, Florida

   I pushed away my plate and picked up my purse to leave The Fisherman’s Wife and move on, but at the last minute I pulled out my phone and took a photo of the only bite left on my plate. One crescent of cornbread was all that remained of a meal of fried shrimp, cheese grits, coleslaw and hushpuppies.

    I took the photo because I’d already made one call to my husband telling him I’d found a place he might want to visit and he might never want to leave and I knew the hushpuppy—the Southern staple of seasoned cornmeal batter, fried crisp and brown—would strike its mark. But I also took it because I’d been trying to think of the best way to describe the unique personality of the north coast of a state that is probably best known for the broad beaches, busy theme parks and bustling cities on the lower half of the peninsula. Looking down at my empty plate, I found my answer. In a lot of ways, the food—the seafood—is the key.
    It’s impossible to spend any time in that part of Florida and not be offered a fresh Apalachicola oyster, pulled out of the bay that morning, shucked and served on a saltine cracker and dressed with horseradish and hot sauce. Afternoons become “Oyster Hour” when local restaurants serve up more fresh oysters with laughter, gossip and plenty of cold beer. Dinner might be Grouper or a basket of grilled oysters or fat Gulf shrimp, butterflied, battered and fried or simply boiled and seasoned and then served ready to peel and eat. Life centers around the bounty and it is served up fresh and simply prepared.

    The cluster of small communities in Franklin County, Florida, the largest of which is Apalachicola, or Apalach, as the locals call the small picturesque waterfront town, has shown a unique ability to reinvent itself to fit the times. At various points in its history the county was home to one of the busiest ports on the Gulf of Mexico. It was the site of a thriving sponge market and later an important Southern timber hub. Times and industry have changed but the one constant has been and still is the rich variety of seafood harvested locally by people who are deeply rooted in the community. People like the fisherman married to the fisherman’s wife who’d served up fresh-caught shrimp for my lunch.

    While there, I met people who’ve lived in the county for generations and others who moved to the area to get away from the larger and busier world. I met a few first-time visitors like myself. But I quickly discovered we all have something in common. We love the slow pace of life. We love the natural beauty of the coastline and rivers and estuaries, and all the wildlife that come with them. And we really, really, love the food.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


Travel: Morning on St. George Island, Florida

I woke up early, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, slipped into a sweater and walked out into the cool morning, closing the door behind me.

Following the short path to the beach, I stepped onto the soft, damp, sand and began to walk the curving edge of St. George Island, the small, uncrowded, barrier island off the coast of North Florida. The sun was just peeking over the horizon. I could see someone far ahead throwing a stick for the dog at his side, but other than that I didn’t see another soul. Looking the other way I could believe I had the island to myself.
The tide had come and gone before the sun rose and the tideline was littered with what the water had left behind. The compacted sand at the water’s edge was carpeted with a layer of shells, or the bits and pieces of what had once been seashells before they were tumbled and broken by the surf.

As I walked, my head down, my eyes on the sand in front of me, I occasionally stopped and picked up something that caught my eye. The sound of the waves cancelled out any other sound and my mind wandered as I strolled.

When I got back to the beach house, while the coffee brewed, I emptied my pockets onto the counter in the kitchen and examined what I’d brought back with me. I’d liked one for the soft band of pale pink that ran across the widest part, another for the curious curves and and chambers that were exposed. Looking closely at the shell fragments I’d picked up, I realized that each had been chosen, not because it had been part of a more beautiful whole, but because even in its brokenness it was still something unique and exquisite and worth a second look, Worth slipping into a pocket. We put such emphasis on perfection, but time and time again nature reminds us that beauty is more than the surface of any object. True beauty is in the bones and the scars and the brokenness that remains after stronger forces work against us.
I put the handful of shells into a plastic bag and slipped it into my suitcase. Years from now, when I run across them in a drawer or on a shelf on the patio, I may have forgotten where I originally found them, like so many of the sticks and stones I’ve gathered and brought home with me. The soft morning on an quiet island just beginning to warm under the morning sun will have slipped from my memory, but I am willing to bet that as I hold the broken shells in my hand I will turn them this way and that, looking closer at the soft colors and the delicate shapes, and I will find them beautiful again.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Travel: Kayaking the New River in Franklin County, Florida

    The dark water of the New River slips silently downstream, continuing to carry my kayak forward whenever I lift my paddles, allowing me to float quietly for a few minutes absorbing the sights and sounds and the lush North Florida landscape around me.

    Tall Tupelo trees, with their bright green leaves and graceful branches, reach out over the orchid-like blooms of flowers that bloom along the riverbanks.

    The air is heavy with moisture but the morning is cool, the sun hidden in the low clouds. The sound of birds is all around us.

    We put in at a bend in the river at Tate’s Hell State Forest, near the small town of Carrabelle, beside a narrow steel bridge that rumbles and whines when vehicles cross on Gully Branch Road. Knobby cypress knees poke up out of the thick black mud that sucks at our sandals as we step into our kayaks.

   We push away and the world immediately closes around us.

    When most people think of Florida, postcard images of broad white beaches, high rise condominiums and crowds come to mind. And that is certainly true for most of the state. But the northernmost part, the panhandle of the peninsula, is a unique blend of pinewood forest, smooth sandy coastline and fertile estuaries. Green, lush, forest gives way to sandy beaches and streams and rivers, like the New River, feed fresh water into surrounding watersheds and eventually into Apalachicola Bay. This part of Florida, Franklin County, is sometimes called 'the forgotten coast' and it does feel as though the worst of progress—the noise, the crowds, the congestion and careless treatment of the natural world—has raced past. A blessing, I think, in this case.    

     I realize the rest of my group has moved ahead, around the next bend, and I am alone. There is a sense of mystery in the moment. Paddling along the surface of the water, even though the morning is cool, I watch for snakes at the edge of the river. On the drive to the park I caught sight of an alligator in a small stream beside the road and I know alligators can be found in the water but I’m relieved that they stay out of sight while I am there.  I see an eagle flying overhead, one sharp eye trained on me, I’m sure. Black bear, cats and countless other wild creatures call this place home and I wonder what they make of the people who come to play.

    We pull out of the water just as a soft rain begins to fall.  After the kayaks are loaded and we are back in the river guide’s van, I look out the window. Already there is a break in the sky and a patch of bright blue shines through. And the black water of the river, relieved again of the weight and interruption of interlopers, moves silently on.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Labrador To Miss 27 Votes For Mitt

Raul Labrador will miss the 27 votes scheduled in the House for Wednesday to campaign for Mitt Romney in Miami, said Jake Ball, his district director. But Labrador will take a late flight back to Washington, D.C., late Wednesday and be back for votes on Thursday and Friday. Labrador leaves Idaho before dawn Wednesday to fly to Florida to help Romney appeal to Hispanic voters. "He'll be in Miami less than 24 hours," Ball said/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: The HucksOnline poll shows widespread disapproval of Congressman Raul Labrador's decision to miss 27 roll call votes today to campaign for Mitt Romney in Florida. Does this indicate Labrador's priorities this election season?

Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/09/18/idahopolitics/idahos_labrador_would_miss_27_scheduled_votes_wednesday_if_he_ca#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy

Zimmerman Makes 1st Appearance

Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman made his first court appearance Thursday on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, as a court document provided new details on the prosecution's case. During the brief appearance, Zimmerman stood up straight, looked straight ahead and wore a gray prison jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer "Yes, sir," twice after he was asked basic questions about the charge against him and his attorney. His hair was shaved down to stubble and he had a thin goatee, which appeared consistent with his booking photo from the day before. He had resurfaced Wednesday to turn himself in after weeks in hiding. Judge Mark E. Herr said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and that an arraignment would be held on May 29 before another judge/AP. More here. (AP photo: George Zimmerman, center, stands with his attorney Mark O'Mara, right, during a court hearing today)

Question: Can George Zimmerman get a fair trial in Florida?

Florida To Charge Zimmerman Today

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey will hold a 6 p.m. ET news conference today to "release new information" about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin (left). The Associated Press is reporting that she will announce charges against George Zimmerman (right), the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who has claimed he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. The unidentified law enforcement source who spoke to the AP did not know the exact charge or charges that Corey is expected to announce at the state attorney's office in Jacksonville. Zimmerman is also expected to be arrested soon, the AP said/Michael Winter, USA Today. More here.

Question: Does the projected charge fit the crime?

Cats outnumber inmates at Fla. prison

BELLE GLADE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say dozens of cats that sneaked into a South Florida prison will be found new homes before the facility closes next month.

As many as 80 cats have burrowed under fences and taken up residence at the state-run prison in Belle Glade. Prisoners have been feeding the animals, even though rules prohibit that.

The 1,000-inmate prison closes Dec. 1. Officials tell The Palm Beach Post that as of Monday, there are more cats than prisoners at the facility. Just 69 inmates remain awaiting transfers.

Palm Beach County animal control officers are removing the cats so they won't starve when the prison closes. They're offering to waive adoption fees to find them new homes.

Some of the cats have been euthanized because they were feral and couldn't be adopted.

APhoto Of The Day — 7.8.11

Kiegan Lynch of Greenville, S.C., sits buried in the sand up to his chest in Cocoa Beach, Fla., this morning. Lynch and his family traveled from South Carolina to view the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, the final shuttle mission. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. When I grow up, my parents debt will have me buried up to my neck — CoeurGenX.
  • 2. The 2012 campaign season is apparently under way as Tea Party supporters have begun burying their opponents in mud — Nic.
  • 3. Kiegan thinks he can add more sand if only they would raise the debt ceiling — Kiegan.

Florida defeats UCLA

No. 2 Florida scored the last seven points to pull away from No. 7 UCLA 73-65. The Gators advance to the Sweet 16 in New Orleans on Thursday. They will meet the winner of tonight's GU-BYU game.

Florida pardons Doors’ Jim Morrison

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Forty years after Jim Morrison was convicted of exposing himself at a wild Miami concert, this is the end: Florida’s Clemency Board, egged on by departing Gov. Charlie Crist, pardoned The Doors’ long-dead singer Thursday.

Some people who were at the Miami show March 1, 1969, insist even today that he exposed himself, though others in the audience and Morrison’s bandmates contend he was just teasing the crowd and only pretended to do the deed. Crist, (below, left) tuned in to the controversy by a Doors fan, said there was enough doubt about what happened at the Dinner Key Auditorium to justify a pardon.

The board, which consists of Crist and a three-member Cabinet, voted unanimously to pardon Morrison on indecent exposure and profanity charges as they granted several other pardons Thursday. At the hearing, the governor called the convictions a “blot” on the record of an accomplished artist for “something he may or may not have done.”

  He said Morrison died before he was afforded the chance to present his appeal, so Crist was doing that for him. Board members pointed out several times that they couldn’t retry the case but that the pardon forgave Morrison and negated his sentence.

  “In this case the guilt or innocence is in God’s hands, not ours,” Crist said.

Morrison had received a six-month jail sentence — never served — and a $500 fine for the 1970 convictions, which carried consequences for the band. Ray Manzarek, The Doors’ keyboard player, said Miami was supposed to be the start of a 20-city tour, but every venue canceled after Morrison’s arrest.

“We had the mandate of heaven, and I think at that moment, he lost the mandate of heaven,” Manzarek said. “In the recording studio, the magic stayed, but I think at that moment in Miami, the live performance magic left for a little while and then came back intermittently.”

Morrison’s appeals were never resolved. He was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971 at age 27. No official cause of death was ever issued — his manager said he died of “natural causes.”

Manzarek and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger supported the pardon because they say Morrison never exposed himself, though they agreed Florida’s move will have little effect on Morrison’s wild, outsized, drug-addled rock ‘n’ roll image.

“Jim’s legacy is one of Dionysian madness and frenzy and of a chaotic American poet. I don’t think that the Miami episode has altered his image one iota,” Manzarek said.

The pardon isn’t enough for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, who says she married Morrison in a ceremony that was never made official. She wanted the convictions expunged and called the pardon “a complete cheap, cynical, political ploy.”

“I have a real problem with the semantics of a pardon. The pardon says that all his suffering and all that he went through during the trial, everything both of us went through, was negated,” she said.

Kennealy Morrison says she exchanged vows with Morrison in a Celtic pagan ceremony. Morrison left his entire estate to another woman, Pamela Courson, a longtime girlfriend who was with him when he died. Courson died in 1974.

Kennealy Morrison said Morrison’s convictions led to his demise, and that of the band. She said he felt like he “had been made a scapegoat of the counterculture movement.”

“He cared about it. It affected him deeply. In fact, I think it was one of the contributory causes of his death, actually. It certainly destroyed The Doors, pretty much. They didn’t perform so much as a group after Miami, after the verdict came through,” she said.

Manzarek and Krieger said Morrison’s main interest in appealing the case was avoiding jail time.

“He wouldn’t give a (expletive)” about a pardon, Krieger said. “He would think it was old news.”

Here’s what most people who were at the concert agree on: The Doors went on stage late. The auditorium was oversold and wasn’t air conditioned. Morrison was drunk and stopped in the middle of songs with an anti-authority, profanity-riddled rant.

A live lamb was brought on stage at one point, and Morrison also grabbed a police officer’s hat and threw it in the crowd. The singer took off his shirt and fiddled with his belt, and fans poured onto the stage.

“There were 100 photos offered in evidence at the trial, photos of everything — Jim with the lamb, Jim with the hat, on the stage collapsing, riot in the audience. Not one photo of Jim’s magnificent member,” said Manzarek.

“It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis,” he said.

Krieger added: “Nobody would like to have that charge hanging over their head even if they are dead. I’m sure his family would be happy to see that go, especially since it never happened.”

While Morrison denied exposing himself, he defended the use of nudity in theater even after his arrest. And he never toned down his lifestyle.

The fact that Morrison didn’t change his life is exactly why he shouldn’t have been pardoned, said retired Miami police sergeant Angel Lago, who came to Tallahassee to speak against the pardon. While he wasn’t on the police force at the time of the concert, he said a friend testified at the trial that Morrison exposed himself. He firmly said his friend wouldn’t have lied under oath.

“The man is not worthy of this. I don’t care if he was a poet, I don’t care if he walked on water,” Largo told reporters during a break in the meeting.

Crist, a Republican-turned-independent, began considering a pardon for Morrison in 2007 after fan David Diamond of Dayton, Ohio, contacted him, and began pursuing it after he lost a bid for U.S. Senate last month. He steps down as governor next month.

Parting Shot — 6.30.10

A small fish hangs on the bill of an anhinga after the bird speared it, while fishing underwater in The Anhinga Trail section of Everglades National Park near Homestead, Fla., Wednesday. The anhinga is one of the best fresh water diving bird. It slips beneath the water surface quietly, barely making a ripple and fishes for its food. It eats fish, frogs, eggs, and even small alligators. After spearing the fish it flipped it off its bill and swallowed it. (AP/ Photo/J Pat Carter)

Points leader McClenathan brings Fram ‘bracket’ car to Gainesville

Cory McClenathan’s strong start to 2010 has the NHRA Top Fuel driver atop the points standings heading to the Sunshine State’s Gatornationals this weekend.

Williams hopes to return Saturday

(Memo to self: Never forget computer on four-day, out-of-town trip again.)

Shock defensive back Aaron Williams (knee) didn’t play against Florida, but he’s optimistic that he’ll return for Saturday’s home game against Central Valley. I’ll have more after I attend tomorrow’s practice.  

UPDATE: Central Valley took its lumps in more ways than one in losing to Arkansas and ex-Shock coach Chris Siegfried. More here and a little more here in the Fresno Bee, which apparently doesn’t staff home games..

OK, this info is obviously beyond late, but we’ll put up the links anyway from Spokane’s latest win. Here’s the story from the S-RShock PR, Firecats PR and the News-Press of Fort Myers.