Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Florida Bound

When I was a kid, I lived in the panhandle area of Florida (and by kid I mean teenager). Every year around Spring Break the tourists would start piling in. Yes, we got some folks in the winter, called Snowbirds-- folks for whom our winter was a balmy tropical paradise. But the real trade started around late March.

We made fun of the tourists. They would wear black knee socks with sandals. They would get horrible horrible sunburns on their faces and backs, with a little strip of white on their nose where they put some zinc. They drove crazy, because they didn't know where they were, and always wanted to turn left where they weren't supposed to turn left.

They brought jobs, and money, though. And we did appreciate that, although sometimes we weren't sure of the trade off. As a local, we hardly ever went to the beach in the summer. It just wasn't something you did-- you were working.

Well, where I live now is prime territory for what was called the Redneck Riviera. People within a day's drive-- La, MS, AL, Ark, tend to use the panhandle as their stomping grounds. It's a beautiful place-- I think better than any other beach I've seen. (And no, I haven't been to the real Riviera. I think that might be the one place that could actually compare.)

We are headed to FL this weekend. It's not exactly a vacation, although it will be one a little bit for us. We WILL go to the beach, and we're going on this pirate boat ride. Very touristy. My fifteen year old self would possibly be horrified. Mostly we're getting together with family to celebrate the life of my 101 year old grandmother who died a few months ago. This is the first time the whole family has been able to get together since then, and we're having a picnic & visiting. I'll see nieces & nephews and the kiddos' cousins that I haven't seen yet, new babies and all.

I'm looking forward to everything but that long drive. I miss beachfront. I would like to live someplace closer to water (real water... not the gator-ridden culverts around here). One day, when Andrew is retired (not too long really) from the military and I get to finally pick where we live, I hope to find something close to beach. Then, my kids can grow up mocking the sunburnt tourists & being mortified if her dad wears black socks (which when we were in Hawaii he tried to do.... let me say I made him take the socks off.)

Redneck I may not be, but I AM headed to the Riviera of my youth.


Anonymous said...

i put in 5 years in s.e. FL (Delray Beach); a totally diff. animal than the panhandle. black socks year-round. what is it with men and the black socks though? i don't even own a pair of black socks.

we are Toronto-bound tomorrow; opposite ends of the continent..well, more or less.

ccw said...

I'll assume you are home now so I hope that you had a wonderful time at the beach and with your family.