Essays

The Real Florida

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This morning, during one of Carpenter Country’s sunny, rainy, ever-changing weather days, I received an email from a friend who said she was thinking of moving to the Sunshine State. At the bottom of her message, she added–so tell me all about the real Florida.

I wrote back: The real Florida is like an illusion, hard to pin down.

For instance, the state comes with heat, humidity, hurricanes, alligators, spiders, snakes and scorpions. Your pets, if you have any, will most likely need to take medication forever to keep them free from heartworm, fleas, ticks and tapeworms.

Lightning strikes thousands of times a year. It can knock out televisions, computers, air conditioners, almost any appliance, even those wrapped in bullet proof vests, surge protectors and lightning arresters.

On the other hand, if you enjoy beaches, boating, fishing, golf, tennis, bridge and a host of equally great activities–or love double rainbows, spectacular sunsets and landscapes that stretch from gently rolling hills to windswept sand dunes–the state originally named Feast of Flowers is the place for you.

So, the reality is …?

Who knows–take your pick.

But here’s a caution. Before diving into this sun, fun, calamity-strewn paradise, it might be best to first do what Juan Ponce de Leon should have done.

Discover a Fountain of Margaritas and take a big, long drink.

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