Donald Adams Carter enjoyed few things better that traveling and telling
Amie Cheatham Austin has a gift from her dad that most would envy. She has great memories of the man whose wish was that everyone attending his funeral wear flip-flops and shorts.
Most of Austin’s images of her father, Donald Adams Carver, are of a man who wore bathing suits and Hawaiian print shirts almost every day, she says.
His dress, no doubt was inspired by the fact that Carver was a sailor at heart. She describes him as “a really relaxed fellow” who saw himself as “Jimmy Buffet-esque.”
Carver, who was born April 10, 1942 in Atlanta, died June 12. Before his 1999 retirement, Carver owned the Don Carver Company, a property management business. Being his own boss gave him the freedom to dress as he pleased.
“When I was 9, he sold his business,” Austin says. On her the last of school that year, he drove up pulling his RV.
“I was totally mortified,” Austin says. “He was honking and saying ‘C’mon let’s go.’ We (she and twin sister Britton Carver) got into the car and we drove out West.
“We didn’t make a single reservation, we just drove,” she says. “We went to Yellowstone, Yosemite, NASA, the redwoods and we saw Mount Rushmore. We stayed on a dude ranch. We just showed up. I guess he knew someone there.
“When I was 13, he had a 40-foot trawler,” Austin says. “The day after school, me and my twin and three of our friends went to the Bahamas for the whole summer on it. We went and didn’t really have a plan. He did not want to go places where that had a nice touristy hotel.
The group visited about 20 of the Bahamas’ 700 islands, cays and islets.
“We would dock and go to an island where there were like 800 people,” she says. “We would just pull up to the dock talk to whomever owned it and figure out how much it would cost to stay there for a couple of days.”
They would live on the trawler.
“Sometimes they (islands they visited) were so small people didn’t have cars. Sometimes someone would have a golf cart. We would explore and tell them what we had discovered. Sometimes we would ask the locals where we should go next.
“Everywhere we went people said ‘You have got to go Nippers’ (a beach bar on Great Guana Cay.)
“Nippers was the most touristy place we went.”
The following year, they took the trip all over again.
“One morning, he woke us up early to walk a mile to see the sun come up. His favorite time of the day was really early in the morning.”
At his funeral, Austin wore bright blue shorts purchased just for the occasion and a pair of flip flops, she says.
“He was cremated,” says Austin. “He had a cast iron cook pot. It was rusted and looked awful. When the funeral home asked us to bring a container for his ashes, we took the cook pot. So sitting up on this huge ornate display where they would usually put an urn, we had a cook pot.
“He did have a lot of really great adventures in his life,” she says.
Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.