In my process of evaluating the recent frigid temperatures I can only think of one good thing about winter. I like the feeling of coming in from the cold and warming up with hot tea or cocoa. My husband and I moved our family to Florida in 1989 to escape Ohio winters.
Everyone says a person’s blood thins after they live in Florida for a number of years. For us, fifty degree temperatures are practically unbearable. My northern friends shake their heads and remark, “you don’t remember what cold is.”
Do you like winter? Some people do. Leave a comment and let me know your views on the subject. Maybe you can change my opinion.
Last summer Herb and I visited Pike’s Peak. Our guide took this photo of us pretending to run from Big Foot. I doubt if I could outrun Big Foot because I don’t run.
On the other hand, Herb is a runner. He’s competed in four marathons and done well for his age. He finished his last marathon at 65, and trains regularly.
I used to feel guilty about not running.
Dirty Harry said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”
I’ve accepted mine. Running is not my thing. There’s joy in accepting yourself for who you are. I like my age. As a senior citizen, I think I’ve earned the right to say no to anything I don’t want to do.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in staying active, choosing instead to walk or bike. We all know exercise is important, and I’m glad for alternatives. In the meantime, I ‘ll keep looking over my shoulder to see if Big Foot is closing in on me.
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This week I learned something about people who camp. In addition to bringing their bikes, kayaks, and fishing equipment, they usually make room for Fido.
Since Herb and I normally include our beagle with us on our campouts, we fit right in at Myakka River State Park. This was our first excursion with Buddy for 2019, and we were ready to explore more of the “real Florida.” Located in the southwestern part of the state, Myakka is the largest state park and the most visited. The beautiful Myakka River flows through vast unspoiled wetlands, palm hammocks, and natural prairies. Visitors enjoy photographing the numerous birds and alligators along the scenic Park Drive.
One morning during our stay we attended the camper’s coffee. Since the event was located at an outdoor pavilion, I thought it would be fun to include Buddy. We were prepared to bring him back to the campsite in case dogs weren’t allowed. Buddy was not only welcomed, he became the center of attention. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Leeann and Dan Brown, snowbirds temporarily volunteering this winter with the Friends of Myakka. They were excited to meet Buddy and wanted to know all about the red booties he wears on his back feet.
We were happy to share Buddy’s “back story”, and the upcoming release of Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street, my first children’s book. (Elk Lake Publishing) Later, Leeann and Dan visited us at our camper to chat and take photos of us with Buddy. They shared his story on their facebook page, RV Companions. All of a sudden I felt like I was on a book tour… after all, Buddy is the real star and Herb and I are only his managers.
Back to the Myakka campground. Our site was located in Old Prairie, which was one of three campgrounds located in the park. Almost everyone had a dog traveling with them, most had two. Of course when there are that many dogs in close proximity to one another, you have a fair amount of barking going on. I felt like a proud mama because Buddy seemed quiet and calmer than the rest. That was until we left him in the trailer for an hour while we visited the Canopy Walkway. Later, during a casual conversation, our neighbor informed us Buddy was not happy most of the time we were gone. His whining escalated to crying. Soon all the neighboring dogs started to bark. Note to self: administer the anti-anxiety medication at least two hours before leaving Buddy alone.
Even though Buddy woke up our neighbor at seven in the morning, he had an easy-going attitude and didn’t seem to mind. Maybe it was because he had four dogs of his own. He did suggest some of Buddy’s loneliness could be solved if we adopted a companion pet for Buddy. We were not interested. Living quarters are already tight inside our sixteen foot Viking. (We haven’t asked Buddy what he thinks about it.)
As night fell, peace also descended upon the busy campground. Some of the dogs were secure and quiet inside their RV’s. Others close to their owner’s feet, dozed by the campfire. The nightly soundtrack of waking insects began to play as the sun set. The smell of grilled burgers and hot dogs drifted through the air. Campers come and go, yet tonight there is a feeling of community among all of us who love nature, outdoor life, and dogs.
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