Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Sportster and I are heading home. For the first time since December first, the GPS ordered, “Head West.” Excited and moody my imagination runs wild with what reaction Sportster must be having.

He has become addicted to the excitement of travel, but then as a pet owner, I transpose my feelings to him and believe he feels the same as I.

The sights and sounds of Florida. The alligators of the Florida Everglades, the turquoise waters of Key West, the mansions of Hemingway and John Ringling and even Kenny Chesney. The manatees, the panther, 

and Lu, the Hippopotamus at Homosassa Springs. Birds of every size and species squawk their calls and sing their songs from coast to coast. And continent to continent. These musical sounds, these images and eyes of nature now live in my mind.

What didn’t I see? I didn’t see a desert but I saw a sea of saw grass stretch as far as a bird could fly.

 I didn’t see the spines of cactus needles but instead the delicate draping of Spanish moss decorating every live oak and cypress tree.

I didn’t hear the silence of the desert but instead the voices of the real snow birds, who have visited the South for centuries; the blue herons, the egrets, the spoonbills and the flamingos.

My favorite place in Florida?  St. Augustine by far. Not because of the being the oldest town, but because of Kevin Crowell and his service dog, Bella and Kevin’s friend, Michael. The inspiration and peacefulness of nature  can take my breath away, but nothing can compare  to meeting  veterans who have not only defended my country for me, but also  attacked their own personal demons of war and now live on to inspire others who have similar struggles of despair. Nothing comes close to the feelings of honor and gratefulness that fills my heart from knowing Kevin and Michael…and Bella. People like you Kevin and Michael, make me want to sit a little taller in the saddle. A mere thank you will never be enough.

Fort Walton, Fla. Elks Lodge

On a lighter note, but not… as I spend my last days in Florida, I not only am I taking home many memories, but extra pounds as well. We arrived at the SKP Park in Wauchula on the day of their annual auction and bake sale. Only half of the pineapple upside down cake I bid on remains in my fridge, next to the homemade fudge. Eighty miles to the north at the SKP Park in Bushnell, we feasted on pinto beans, mashed potatoes, polish sausage and corn bread … and dessert. Add the sampling of seafood and alligator to the scale from the various restaurants, and you can bet more exercise than just moving my fingers across this keyboard is on my resolution list.

California Here I Come!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh... I love the Hemingway House! Did Sportser make friends with any of the cats?! Have safe travels as you head back west!