Today was a test, and I don’t think I fared too well. Our solar light for our flagpole was getting weak, and I was installing a new light on our front yard lamp post. Because the new lamp wasn’t designed for an aluminum pole installation, I had to “jury-rig” the wiring and mounting. “Jury-rig” describes a method of building or fixing something in a makeshift manner, and is usually applied to boating. But this wasn’t a boat; it was a yard lamppost, which is not nearly as exciting and sexy as a boat. It didn’t help that it was hot, I didn’t have all the right bits and pieces at hand, and after an hour and a half expended for a planned 15 minute job, my patience was waning… some “sailor words” slipped out instead of the “Aw, shucks” and “Darn it” that I had intended. (I think that some of those piranhas had gained the upper hand over my Prana…)
So where does a sailor go to regain his Prana when the little munching fish have gotten too aggressive? One of my favorite places is Lake Miona Park, off Rainey Trail/CR 472 in Oxford, FL. It’s a tranquil spot, little visited considering the 90,000 people living within 5 miles. The oak trees here are awesome, hung with Spanish moss and alive with birds and squirrels. (No, I did not bring Rudy and Gretchen here this time; it would have been chaos on a grand scale.)
There is a playground, a beach with a float, and a boat launch for kayakers, fishermen, and dragon boat racers. While I was there, a young couple was necking on the float. Since it was “R-rated necking”, I declined to photograph them. After all, their moms might be reading the blog! Let’s just say that it would make you all think about what it was like to be 16 and in love for the first time…
Nearby is a median, or “neutral ground”, on CR 472 where you often find sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis). Florida sandhill cranes are the least common subspecies; there are only about 5,000 remaining. These were two of four I saw today. The sandhill crane is a beautiful, but sometimes aggressive, bird that stands 3-4 feet tall. With a 6 to 7 foot wingspan, they can soar as efficiently as hawks or eagles. One of the characteristics of the species is the call; it sounds like a rolled French “r”, and is very loud; you can hear it a half mile away if it’s a quiet day. Also, the female makes two calls for each single call that the male makes. (Gee, they are pretty much like humans!) Suzanne has a special affinity for them because in her father’s final hours, two of these magnificent cranes came and stood guard outside his hospice room as if to see him safely on his way.
For lunch today, we took advantage of last night’s gifts from Joyce and Sharon; we ate their delicious olives, bread, and homemade basil pesto dipping sauce with three cheeses (brie, manchego and Irish cheddar) and a teeny-tiny glass of merlot. If you read in a previous blog entry about our exploding glass table top, here you can see our plywood replacement… not bad, eh?
It was a super lunch, but my only complaint was that my wine evaporated too quickly… it must have been the dry air… (Note: we hardly ever drink wine midday, but these treats and cheeses practically REQUIRED a glass of wine.)
Tonight we had a sumptuous dinner at our friends Elizabeth and Joseph’s house; it was our good fortune to find Elizabeth’s cousin Trevor visiting from Northern Ireland. Trevor is what is called “An Amazing Golfer” as well as a very personable guy. He lives in a small village and commented that they had had a terrible summer with more rain than anyone there had ever experienced. We are all trying to get Trevor to move to The Villages, at least on a part-time basis. He especially enjoys the friendly residents and the warm weather!
My mother taught me when I started dating that when invited to a girl’s house, one of the first things a young man should do after shaking the girl’s father’s hand firmly was to ask her mother how I could help in the kitchen. I was initially skeptical, but after volunteering to slice veggies and wash dishes a few times, I found that I was being invited back for dinner by the girls’ mothers. I didn’t always have great relationships with the young ladies themselves, but I always got along well with their mothers, even long after I stopped dating their daughters. Anyway, I learned that lesson well, and can usually still be counted on to help clean up after dinner.
An apology to those who have commented on this blog… I had not set up the comment moderation email correctly, and we just found ten comments, which will be published immediately. The problem should be corrected now, and we look forward to hearing from you!