Remember when friends came home from a vacation, and you had to sit through a boring slide show? And you stifled yawns through the hours? I’ve saved you the embarrassment of yawning through my slide show by writing about my fabulous vacation, and I have included some unique photos I know you’ll love.
My son Steve and his domestic partner, Terri, took me to Florida for a week in the sunshine. We did some lying in the sun, as you do in Florida, but mostly we were on the move. We did a lot of walking, averaging more than 10,000 steps a day, through nature preserves, on boardwalks by the gulf, and along beaches. Terri and I swam laps in our beautiful heated pool, while Steve fished off the peer just a short walk from our condo. On one of our walks, we observed an osprey couple protecting their young. We also gazed at Venus and Jupiter from the balcony of our luxury VRBO condo. We bought fresh sea bass to grill for dinner and dined at upscale trendy restaurants. But I want to tell you about some highlights I will always treasure.
Terri had long dreamed of swimming with manatees, so that was first on our agenda. When Steve and I collected her from her adventure, she was bubbling over with excitement. Imagine floating face down in a crystal clear river, when suddenly a manatee was swimming right next to you on your right, and her baby was swimming on your left. Your heart beats wildly, because you know it’s not good to get between a mother and her calf, but they seemed to be fine with it. Another one swims directly under you, only inches below. It is nothing I would ever want to do, but I loved hearing every detail.
Steve and I had a similar experience as we kayaked with manatees the next day. We shared a tandem kayak, while Terri was in her own. I always checked with Steve before I dipped my paddle into the water so I could help propel our kayak, and not hit a manatee. Dozens of them swam without a care through dozens of kayaks with dozens of gawking people with cameras. We paddled along what could be called the main thoroughfare and then turned off onto a quiet channel, which was lined with opulent homes and thousands of birds of many kinds. It was there that I could paddle too and get an upper body workout. But while it was exciting to know we were sharing the waterway with these cow-sized creatures, it was Quiet and peaceful as well.
One night we dined on a restaurant’s dock and enjoyed watching dolphins frolicking nearby. Another night, we took a break from shopping and strolled on the boardwalk. We watched in wonder as a boat sailed through the raised drawbridge, while pelicans, sea crows, and seagulls, all sitting atop posts, kept a keen eye out for “dinner.” Another night we ate at a Cuban restaurant, where three roosters strutted around our picnic table. The biggest one declared me his new best friend, after I tossed him some bits of crust from my Cuban sandwich. Still, he scared me to death when he suddenly crowed right next to me. The server said they just showed up one day and stayed. How did they know Cuban food could be so good?
It’s hard to convey my joy in just one page, and I have several photos to show you. Maybe you’d better come over and see my slide show after all.
The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir
Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life
Available from Amazon
Columnist for Our Special Magazine
and Contributing Essayist for Light Magazine