I have never made a bagel. I have never jumped off the roof of a house to see what flight was like. I have never run a marathon or a half marathon. I have never owned a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Maserati. Or a Porsche for that matter. I have never driven a car at more than 130 miles per hour. I have never parachuted out of an airplane. I have never been six feet tall in my bare feet. I have never undertaken studies for a PhD. I have never attempted to swim the English or any other channel. I have never been to either Mongolia. I have never sat through the whole of Gone With the Wind. I have few regrets, but living on the Treasure Coast of Florida I do wish I could make a good bagel. I miss them, and they are nowhere to be found.
It is a sad fact of life that Florida
has disqualified itself as a movie set
for a vast number of films
that will now go before the camera
on the streets of some Canadian city.
No one is making films about
drug runners coming ashore in
teal and pink with a soundtrack
by Jan Hammer, since the illicit
drug of the moment is likely to be
filming in the streets of Chinatown,
and the Port of Los Angeles and
a Wellcraft Scarab is no match
for an 11,000 TEU container ship.
And for horror and noir films
the simple fact is that even in
the dead of winter, the palms
will never look all that foreboding,
and fake snow melts all too quickly,
but we can hope that Beach Party
movies will make a grand return,
until then we just keep get along
here in the heart of Margaritaville.
When we tell friends
and acquaintances that we
are moving up the coast,
they look at us quizzically.
We think they wonder why
we are leaving our friends,
a world we have come to know,
for a place so alien to us.
We tell them that was by far
the hardest part, letting go
of those we treasure, hoping
they will soon come to visit.
They laugh, nod, and say yes,
but what they meant was that
it is so quiet up there, boring,
and at that we nod and smile.
There are three of them
and they walk slowly along the side
of the road, proud yes, but are they
old men who see no need to hurry,
or self-assumed royalty who dare not.
Nor is it clear if they are the same
group who gathered outside
the ornate gateway into PGA Village
two weeks ago, perhaps tired of
the endless greens fees to walk around.
We pause to watch them, wondering
if they are merely out for a stroll
on a pleasant spring day, or if
they are en route to Bed, Bath
and Beyond for the clearance sale.
They ignore us, as they are wont
to do, lost in their own world, we
simply part of the landscape,
for that is how things are in
the land of the Sandhill Cranes.
As a child I know the winters
must have been milder, as it
was never too cold to have my parents
take is to Sheridan Park where
my father would drag the old
wooden toboggan up the chute
adjacent to the stairs as we ran ahead,
and smile as we hurtled down
seeing how far we could go
across the snow packed runway.
After an hour, when our hands
were blue, the mitten clips
long since defeated, he would
once again smile as we drove
to Louie’s for a foot long and
a couple of orders of curly fries.
I’m thinking the weather changed
right about the time my parents
packed off to Florida, as if God
had given them some Noah-like
warning that winters would soon
get ugly, or maybe He was just
trying to help Detroit, since my step-
siblings had to have certain cars,
while I struggled through winter
in the north in my leaky, rusting Opel.
Bob Dylan is, to the best of my knowledge,
the only songwriter to successfully rhyme
outrageous and contagious, which doesn’t
explain why I knew I could never be
a successful songwriter in this life.
The explanation is far simpler, it was when
Leonard Cohen served me tea and apricots,
said he hated the river even living in Montreal
and said I should pack off to Florida or
California if I wanted oranges, though he
said, if I ever visited China, if I’d see
where their oranges came from.
We’re all older now, Leonard is dead
and even Bob admits he’s not sure
he’s younger now, but he says, Bob that is,
that I need to get over keeping up
with the Joneses, because in the final
analysis, we are all Jones at the end.
I saw a deceased palmetto bug
this morning in the rest room
of our favorite coffee shop .
It is the first we’ve seen
in four winters here in Florida,
and we didn’t mourn its passing.
Forty-six years ago, during
a previous Florida life, my cat
would find numerous palmettos,
which she found made great toys
to dribble across the terazzo floors
of the small apartment, and
once deceased, tuck into a corner
for later play, or when upset with me,
to deposit in some location where
I couldn’t hope to notice until
it was too late, the grin
on her face positively Cheshire.
She also caught mice, despite being
declawed, but she had the courtesy
to deposit their bodies by front door.
Hell is a place where what you
least desire becomes eternally yours,
or so we were told as children, well
not us, not the Jewish kids, for us
Hell was our mothers’ finding
that copy of Playboy we stole from
our father’s stash our mother
didn’t know about, and which he
would deny, throwing us under
the bus or any large vehicle she found
If we buy into Hell, and given that
ours is an aging population, many
of whom have landed in Florida
and Arizona to avoid the winters
that are hell on the ubiquitous
arthritis, and all those who have
joyously consumed the evangelical
Kool-Aid, when the final bell
rings, they may be surprised
to discover there is far, far more
of a chance of a snowball in Hell.
For Something Different, a new bird photo each day, visit my other blog:
He circles carefully
constantly adjusting altitude
expanding and contracting
his orbits in great increments.
His each move is calculated
that much is obvious.
And you watch him with
a deep fascination. You
are not the only watcher
this day, at this time, others
peer up as he plunges downward
breaking the surface, his head
appearing, thrown back, consuming
what ever it is he plucked.
While I stand watching
the anhinga on the shore
of the pond makes it clear
he finds the pelican
the least graceful
of all his distant kin.
The manatees hide just below
the surface sticking up their heads
every few minutes, for a breath
or to thrill the tourists who watch
intently, because it is a thing to do
in this part of Florida in winter.
The restaurants in the harbor
don’t mind, it draws a crowd and takes
pressure off the kitchen, for people
waiting for sea mammals do not
grow impatient like those waiting
for just burgers or an order
of fried clams with a side of fries.
The manatees will never understand
humans, why they queue up in the sun
to eat animals, when the sea
provides a free feast for herbivores
if you are only willing to immerse
yourself in the search for a meal.