These past winters spent in Florida have been wonderful, exhilarating and eye opening, for sure. I've heard "y'all" come out of my Yankee mouth once or twice. There's a strange hankering for grits. I understand why the Southern folks don't understand me-I have to slow down the wordslinkingtogether when I talk. Maybe someday I'll be welcomed as just myself-not as a "Northerner."
I know it takes time to acclimate to a new situation. We've been part of this area for almost 20 years! But that was as a tourist, visiting with Dad here and there, renting for a month or two at a time. I'm frustrated that I don't have my life long friends along for me to say: "Did you see how funny that was?" We'll always be Snow Birds as New York is my birth home but definitely enjoying this time of my life here in a warm climate.
When out to dinner with the movie group which we started going to when Dad was alive, we are the youngest by 20 years or so, save one woman my age. When Dad was here, he would take exception to the litany of "The Organ Recital." As each came and sat, each one would recite which organ they had trouble with that week. So often, it was just venting. Sometimes, it was serious. The doctors offices down here are teeming with Medicare recipients-and we have fine docs here, I have to say as a lifelong New Yorker who tends to be slightly biased.
Dad would always avoid the organ recital. He was not one to call attention to himself. When my mom was alive, she probably wouldn't give him the time to allow this anyway. Headaches-not allowed! Back pain-nix! Occasionally he would say he had a bad tummy. He had colitis as a kid and that was exasperated when he spent a year in a German concentration camp during World War II.
The sun, the weather and all the time outdoors have been a boon to my health and well being. I am sitting here in my beautiful home looking out at swaying palms and a sweet little lagoon. All organs are intact, thank God. We are free from Coronavirus. We are exercising our bodies, minds and souls. All is good.
Monday, January 13, 2020
We are back in Florida for our third winter as residents. The sun, palm trees, green grass and beautiful colors are a great change from the northern winters. I smile driving down the road and catching the osprey's huge nest, with two sitting in it protecting their eggs.
Florida is definitely a leap away from the reality of winter months I remember. The folks who were born here or have been here for 30 years or more are tough on us "Northern" people. Of course, we are all "Northern" people since it IS the southernmost state in the Union. I used to resent the slurs: "Oh, you're from Lawng Eiland." Yes, "Ma'am", I politely answer, leaving out "Bless Your Heart."
The sight of the confederate flag still can make me shiver. I don't condone it waving alone, without our red, white and blue. It's a direct hit on me, as a daughter of a World War II survivor and granddaughter of a WW I. Puhleeze, don't tell me the South is still resenting the fact they lost to us "Northern" people.
I'm craving good theater. I miss my busy New York City streets where I get my creative juices flowing. We have tickets to see Tony Danza in our local arts center this week. That may stave off my melancholy for a good show. The art is amazing, though. Ringling has a magnificent art center in Sarasota. The Edison house is near us for education and we enjoy the lectures at the local libraries all around.
I've found time to volunteer again. I worked for our company for many years and had to let that go in New York. But I found a place that I can make a difference in someones life with Hospice. I worked at their thrift shop all last year and wanted to get full in on the experience. Since both my parents died while on Hospice's watch in NY, I knew it was wonderful. Plus, for many years, I served on a board of a Long Island Hospice. After Dad passed in 2018, enough time has gone by where I feel it wouldn't hurt seeing older people at the end of their lives. Training was extensive, and I was off to see my first patient/client. And, as God has such a great way of tweaking me on the head, he presented me with a beautiful woman who is in the same nursing home as my Dad was in 2018.
No coincidences, you say?
We trade the old for the new. I may have given up my old haunts and the world I used to live but I find my senses being pulled elsewhere. I am on the back nine of life, as the golfers say. No denying that I don't have 40 more years. Embracing the new. Moving toward a different goal. Enjoying all the different people here, with their "Northern" accents. Acceptance is the Answer!