Stalking the snowbirds

Florida — Will the third time be the charm?

This pretty much sums up my first trip to Florida.

This scene from the movie “Midnight Cowboy” pretty much sums up my first trip to Florida.

I’m not all that keen on Florida. Twice I’ve gone there and twice I’ve gotten bad colds. In fact, the first time I went there, I was on a hitchhiking trip with my friend Willard Morrison. That was back in 1970. We had gone to Mardi Gras, which proved to be a bust. Another story for another time. Then we decided to check out Miami.

We caught a ride in New Orleans from a sailor who lived in Pensacola. It was late when we arrived there and he generously offered to put us up for the night. His wife was livid.

A few nights earlier, we spent the night in a men’s shelter in New Orleans listening to drunks snoring and farting all night. Not nearly as bad as listening to our host’s wife bitching into the wee hours of the morning. And she didn’t even offer to make us breakfast.

Willard and I eventually made it to Miami, where we couldn’t find any beach accessible to the public. But we walked the beaches anyway, trespassing on hotel property. We got bitten by sand fleas and I caught a cold. We took a Greyhound bus back to Cleveland.

The second time I went to Florida was in the early 1990s. Drove down with my then wife and my young daughter. We stayed with my parents in Old Town. I immediately came down with a nasty cold and was bedridden the whole time.

So, why go there again?

I’m flying down to drop in on my parents. Unannounced. It will be worth it just to see the looks on their faces.
I just hope they’re dressed when I get there.


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