Posted by: penpatience | April 1, 2016


DSCF1588WRITERS WORDS:  “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. – John Muir, Naturalist



 FLOR –   E-E-E –  DA   ROCKS!

Tourism was alive and well this past winter in Southeast Florida. And what a crazy winter it was…Grey-haired, face-lifted, healthy, wealthy and not so wealthy senior snowbirds determined to migrate away from snowy, frigid temperatures flooded the area like a swarm of locusts.

I often felt like I was riding in a carnival bumper car. Bumper to bumper autos  in unusually heavy four to six lane traffic weaved, screeched to halts and ran through numerous red lights (yes, RED not yellow—you could knit a pair of socks while waiting for lights to change on some highways.) Speed limits were often ignored and there is validity to the saying, “Staying Alive on I-95.” Long lines queued in restaurants, super markets, drug stores, movie theaters, specialty shops, local malls, casinos and local fairs and attractions.  Parking was an often vicious battle in a war where consideration for your fellow man was moot. The battle cry, “that’s my spot—I saw it first” was a war between tourists, more tourists and frustrated residents waiting patiently for the seasonal visitors’ exodus home.

And this generation’s seniors are unlike seniors of previous generations. Blessed with reasonably good health and resources, there’s no sitting in the rocking chair watching TV for this bunch! Try to find a parking spot or get a tee time at one of Florida’s many golf courses. Bikini and Speedo clad (a sight to behold) seniors inhabit the beaches like tanned mannequins.

I admit, I also qualify as a “snowbird” although I no longer consider myself one. I do spend a few winter months in Florida and have done so for quite a few years now. But I live, write, visit family and seldom find myself embracing the tourist-mode having done so in initial trips. What I love most about Southeast Florida is the reliable sunny days and a writer’s opportunity for extensive people watching.

Nightspots and bars offer an abundance of people-watching opportunities. When Latino entertainers danced on the bar at a busy South Beach venue there wasn’t a vacant stool. Mostly male but also female eyes bestowed rapt attention to the dancers. Talented, sexy (M & F) and fit, I loved watching them as long as they didn’t spill my margaritaJ  One warm summer evening a Delray outdoor theatre featured a rock band. Lawn chairs were filled with grey-haired seniors and groups of all ages lounged on outdoor benches or hung outside restaurant bars watching the concert. This band rocked it! Lawn chairs emptied out as seniors of all sizes and shapes danced in front of the stage. One short, chubby, happy-faced grandma type caught my attention.  She had the stamina of a race horse. I can’t recall a dance she sat out. She moved and grooved all by herself occasionally swinging her hips alongside a lone male or two doing the same.  Although I may use this happy lady’s persona in some future story, it was great fun watching her dance. She was that good. Do any of you remember the song, “Mustang Sally?” Well, happy grandma could not contain herself when it played. She executed more unexpected grooves and I became her champion rooting her on.  Call HER Mustang Sally! I yelled through the din, “You go girl.–“Ride Sally Ride.”

Fun in the sun makes for better writers. Agreed?


A Reminder: Pledge to wear Blue for Autism Awareness on Saturday, April 2nd. Let’s all “Light It Up Blue” in 2016.

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