Original writing: Feb 23rd
What a difference forty years makes. Terri and I are in Captiva, Florida as I write this. She's out shopping in Sanabel and I've just finished a walk through the asphalt streets to reacquaint myself. My wife and I planned this trip a few months ago as our annual late-winter vacation. Travel costs are out of control so we decided to stay within the contiguous forty-eight. The last time I was here I was about five years old. Young enough to get lost and just old enough to remember what it was like here so long ago. Back then most, if not all, of the roads were nothing more than shell covered sand. The homes were small, one story unconditioned cottages tucked away in the lush green of palm and banyan trees wrapped in vines of every sort. Every day on the way to the beach my older brothers, sister, and I would run from shady forage to shady forage lest we burn the bottoms of our feet. In the evenings we'd follow mom and dad to the local diner, all the way pushing and teasing each other about snakes and crocodiles hiding in the bushes.
As I reminisce I realize the monsters have been replaced. Nestled among the bushes and finely trimmed lawns are two and three story million dollar McMansions. Oh, they're fine looking homes, but what bothers me is the slow and comfortable pace that's missing on the island. No longer are the quaint sandy roads. No longer are the people walking about visiting. No longer do lemonade sipping elders wave from their front porch as I walk by. Everyone is snug in the cool dwellings of modern convenience surrounded with DO NOT ENTER, NO TRESPASSING, ARMED RESPONSE and FOR SALE signs. Today there was a traffic jam at Andy Rosse Lane and Captiva Drive. The UPS truck was double parked for a delivery at the Bubble Room gift shop. I simply walked through the mess in amazement that they absolutely needed to hop in the family Rover to drive 5 blocks to The Mucky Duck. "Hey folks! The high today is 74!. How `bout ridin' a bike?"
Our rental unit is not fancy by any stretch. But it serves it's purpose in modest comfort, and it's in the middle of "town". Live music plays every day from across the street at the Key Lime. It soothes my soul when I can hear it between the passing cars.
It's two o'clock and my beer's about finished. Terri's not back yet, so I guess I'll head over to the general store, pick up a tin of Macanudo's and an ice cream Drum Stick, and read my book on the beach.
I'm gettin' pretty good at that ring game.