Article by Jackie Rooney from Jacksonville.com
“No man has learned anything rightly, until he knows that every day is Doomsday.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The sky is falling. The sky is falling … or probably will any day now the way things are going. Cat. 5 hurricanes, 7.1 and 8.1 magnitude earthquakes, a total solar eclipse, terrorist attacks and threats of nuclear war with North Korea have me shaking in my flip flops.
I’m not the only one worried about the apocalypse. Doomsday writer David Meade predicted the world would end Sept. 23, but later backtracked that claim, saying astronomy and the biblical Book of Revelation predict Oct. 17 will start a seven-year cycle that will bring about the end of the world. He cited hurricanes Irma and Harvey as omens of things to come. “The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is ending. A major part of the world will not be the same the beginning of October,” he told the Washington Post. No kidding!
Folks have worried about apocalypse since Noah built an ark. In 1910 the world ducked Halley’s Comet and 90 years later Y2K bombed. In 2011, radio preacher Harold Camping got out of the rapture-prophesy business after miscalculating doomsday … twice. Dec. 21, 2012, was to have been the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. However, just in the nick of time archaeologists found a building in Guatemala with walls covered by murals and calendars that dispel that notion. Hieroglyphics on the wall say the calendar spans 7,000 years, far exceeding the doomsday date. But who can believe emoji graffiti scrawled by teenage Mayans?
On Jan. 1, followers of the Sword of God Brotherhood prepared for Armageddon by climbing a mountain in Bugarach, southwest France, where they believed aliens hidden inside the rock would save them. Larry Hall had a better idea. In 2008 he bought a retired vertical, underground missile silo and converted it into luxury apartments for folks who are worried about the apocalypse. His survival condo project can withstand catastrophic events, can house a dozen families, and has food, fisheries, gardens and a pool. A second silo is due to be finished fall 2018 — sounds like a hotel chain time-share to me. Nevertheless, as author Stephen King said, “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”
LIBRARY SYSTEM TURNS 40
Life at the Beaches offers many opportunities to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow there could be a Zombie Apocalypse … in a theater near you. Stayin’ Alive was the theme song on Sept. 27, when staff and patrons of the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library kicked up their heels to celebrate the St. Johns County Public Library System’s 40th birthday. This is “a blast to the past,” assistant branch manager/youth services librarian Anne Crawford said as Dance Alday studio owner Allan Alday took everyone back to the ’70s with disco lessons. The Nease Arts in Motion Club conducted “Crafternoons” for kindergarteners through fifth-graders. In the evening all ages were welcome to a chess and game night followed by the movie Clue.
“We are pleased to celebrate our library system’s 40th birthday,” branch manager Amy Ring said. “It’s staggering to think about the millions of items that have been checked out, the number of children we’ve seen grow up, and the changes that have taken place in our library system. This is a day to celebrate our patrons, our Friends group and their years of support, and our wonderful library staff. We can’t wait to see what the next 40 years will bring!”
The Friend’s popular semi-annual book sale in the library community room begins with a “members only” preview night from 4:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 1. The public sale will be 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3, and “Bag Day” is Nov. 4. Call 273-3990 for details.
A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
Longtime Jacksonville Beach resident Eula Wood is one of the oldest Beaches residents. On Sept. 22, the “HIS” family group at First Christian Church of the Beaches, celebrated her 103rd birthday. This “sharp as a tack” centenarian has wonderful stories to tell. She was born in Alabama, lived in Savannah and then came to Florida in the late ’40s to be near her sister. She got a job with Lanahan Lumber Company in the ’50s and worked there for 30 years. In 1976, she decided to move to the beach and was the first person to buy a condo in an oceanfront high-rise going up in Jacksonville Beach. She joined First Christian that same year. Eula has been an active volunteer with the Jacksonville Symphony Guild, Friends of Jacksonville University and the Cummer Museum of Art &Gardens. She also loved playing golf at the Hyde Park Golf Course on Jacksonville’s west side.
THE CAPITAL AFFAIR
Volunteers in Medicine hosted a sold-out luncheon, “The Capital Affair,” at Capital Grille, St. Johns Town Center. The Sept. 30 do raised money for the volunteer organization that provides medical services for more than 1,600 working uninsured individuals in Greater Jacksonville. VIM, founded in 2002 by Northeast Florida philanthropists Dottie Dorion and Dr. James Burt, is “an incredibly effective and innovative service organization,” executive director Mary Pat Corrigan said. “Today, more than 230 volunteer professionals donate their time to provide the lion’s share of patient services and programs.” Because of its extraordinary volunteer model, VIM delivers about $5 in services for every $1 donated.
VIM client Debbie Dobes told her story. She lost her job, was unemployed for six months and lost her medical insurance. Although she found a new job, the insurance premiums were too high. Then she broke her back in a car accident and her son died. She found VIM in 2015. “They were all so kind to me,” Dobes said. “They healed my heart; they healed my body.”
The affair emceed by WJXT-TV4 news anchor Joy Purdy, included a silent auction of high-end items, such as a luxury driving experience in a Tesla, a Brooks Brothers suit, and a night’s stay at the Breakers Resort. The gourmet Capital Grille lunch ended with a fashion show featuring fall designs by Cabi, Brooks Brothers and Erin Healy Designs. Top sponsors were Capital Grille, Bacardi, First Coast Cardiovascular, The Leb Family, Florida Blue, Inger &Pat Geraghty, Sissine’s, United Health Care and Arlington Toyota.
On Oct. 1, Beaches Residents Actively Supporting The Symphony stepped up to kick off its season with a new event, the BRASS Bash. The family-friendly barbeque at Three Palms restaurant at Oak Bridge Club at TPC Sawgrass was so well-received, “we’re planning on making this one of our annual events,” membership chairwoman Katheryn Hancock said. “We hope to get people engaged and get new members.”
Three Palms produced a spread of burgers and brats with sauerkraut. The afternoon’s entertainment included performances by a string quartet — Clinton Dewing, Aurelia Duca, Jiayi Huang and Kacy Clopton — from the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and 2017 BRASS Ring winner Leila Warren, an 8- year-old violinist who astounded guests with her talent.
BRASS is an all-volunteer group that supports the symphony with financial contributions and by promoting concert attendance and fostering orchestral music appreciation and facilitating music education by mentoring young musicians with the annual BRASS Ring student music competition. For information, or to join, go to www.BRASSonline.org.
‘HERE COMES THE FALL’
Looking ahead, there are plenty of opportunities to party at the Beaches. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday Oct. 17, Vicar’s Landing retirement community and Lend an Ear Outreach will co-sponsor “Hear Comes the Fall,” at Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach. The fundraiser benefits Lend an Ear, an organization that helps patients in the community who can’t afford expensive hearing aids, and who don’t qualify for insurance assistance. Entertainment includes live music, a raffle and a wine toss. Tickets for the event are $80 in advance or $85 at the door. Send a check to Vicar’s Landing, 1000 Vicar’s Landing Way, Ponte Vedra 32082, or go on line at www.lendanearoutreach.org/hearcomesfall.
The 14th annual Beach Bash benefiting Beaches Habitat for Humanity will be at 6 p.m., Tuesday Oct. 17, at Sawgrass Beach Club. The event includes food stations provided by top area restaurants, an open bar, live auction and music by the Groov Band. Proceeds will be used to build hope and homes for families in need of safe affordable housing in Beaches communities. Tickets are $100 in advance/$125 at the door. Call 904-595-5803 or www.Beacheshabitat.org.
A FINAL WORD
Don’t rest easy yet. The Doomsday Clock, a metaphor for technological catastrophe, is ticking closer to the apocalypse, according to Nobel laureates at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. The hands were first set to 11:53 p.m. in 1947, but came closest to doom (midnight) when the minute hand was advanced to two minutes before midnight after the first H-bomb test in 1953. The settings are based on scientific evaluation of the worldwide state of nuclear arsenals and nuclear meltdowns, major earthquakes, tsunamis and signs of climate change.
The most optimistic time was 1991 when the cold war ended and the clock was set back to 11:43 p.m. The hands on the iconic clock were at three minutes to midnight during 2015 and 2016; in February they were advanced to two and a half minutes to midnight. Yikes!
I better get busy working on my bucket list — write a best-seller; fill my sharks teeth jar to the top; clean the house — nah; research the family tree; shred 40 years of tax records in case a post-cataclysm extraterrestrial or zombie tries to steal my identity, and shed a few pounds, because if I go, I want to go lookin’ good.
On the other hand, as Erma Bombeck said: “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”
Jackie Rooney is a freelance writer in Ponte Vedra Beach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.