On our way back north this weekend we stopped off for a few hours in DeLand, AKA My Home Town.  The following are a few snaps I managed to get in between shepherding The Fam around the many small shops on Small Business Saturday, and of course a stop off in Bellini’s for lunch.  I also found two toys (a metal Tonka truck and front-end-loader) that I had when I was a kid.  Mine are long gone but boy do I wished I still had them (and at the rate they are going for, ~$50 each, that will remain a wish).

We parked right next to the one and only Pinkey’s Deluxe Shoe Shine which was run by Rufus Pinkey since 1944(!).  Unfortunately Mr Pinkey passed away in September, and with him a bit (more than a bit) of Old DeLand passed as well.   Its places like this and people like him that really set DeLand apart from almost anywhere else, and as I stood there for a bit looking around me at his little hut and the wall behind it, the pink building to the right with mysterious openings on the side with windows and what appears to be a stove pipe (!), Ritter’s pharmacy which has been serving drugs downtown since 1965, the small one story store fronts that have lasted for over 100 years, the big old “nickel and dime” stores that are now parceled out on the inside into smaller spaces, but yet still proudly present themselves as the grand old ladies of the Boulevard that they are, I realized a lot of what I’ve been looking for wherever I go (and a driver of this very blog) is directly related to the fact that what I’ve actually been seeking is places like DeLand itself, or to put it more bluntly, I’ve been looking for what’s been right under my nose: home.  DeLand, and large parts of Volusia county as well, still have “those places”, and still (mostly) respect that ethos.  Maybe someday we’ll manage to pull up stoop in Tally and make a final, permanent pilgrimage back home…