In February, Jackie Cummings, of Canfield, Ohio, was staying on St. George Island when she observed rockers in synchronized motion on a breezy day. She had just finished reading “Outposts on the Gulf: Saint George Island and Apalachicola from Early Exploration to World War II,” by William Warren Rogers, and so an inspiration was born.

 

The rocking chair ghosts arrived today

Floating in on a westerly breeze.

They nodded and smiled, gliding into their chairs

Displaying remarkable ease.

 

Rocking and rocking, longing to speak,

Stuttering, uttering, quietly muttering,

Their voices told tales from the past:

Of Seminoles, Spaniards, a Union blockade,

"King Cotton,” Doc Gorrie, the "Apalach" story,

Of tonging and culling ,fishing the Bay,

Warm island picnics, fried Southern chicken, fresh lemonade,

Of packets and steamers, far-sighted dreamers,

Half-tracking, bullets cracking, GIs storming the shore,

Happy times, thriving times, the " Yellow Fever" times

And oh, so very much more.

 

The stories continued long after four;

Then a matronly ghost rose to say,

"Alas, end of stay! West Wind is departing the day.”

Reluctantly, when asked to comply,

The furniture lost its sway.

Then sadly, silently, without any delay,

The rocking chair ghosts slowly drifted away.

 

Jackie Cummings