Is there anything better than the taste and smell of citrus on a cold February morning? One slice in and my whole kitchen is instantly filled with a blend of sweet and sour, melding into a zesty combination that is pure sunshine. I have been fortunate for much of my adult life to have fresh-squeezed at the start of my day. Certainly this is a privileged luxury in my northeast corner in winter. For the last decade of my mother’s life, one of her first tasks when she arrived in Jupiter, Florida, each January, was to order a big box of honey-bell oranges and ruby-red grapefruits straight from the fruit grove to be mailed to us. Despite the constant snowy vista beyond our window, this liquid gold is the certain elixir that keeps us believing that Spring will come, eventually.
Last summer, at my god-mother’s funeral, a cousin asked me if I missed my mother. Without skipping a beat I said of course, but I also added that I feel her inside of me, and in that place I hold her even closer. I hear her laugh coming from my throat, her gestures moving my hand, and her confidence as I stride into any situation. I encounter reminders of my mother in the shade of nail polish I pick out at the salon, reminders as I dive into the salty surf, reminders as I sit with her sister or brother, and certainly whenever talk drifts to the precious old days. She’s gone but she’s everywhere all at once.
“Change is the only constant in life” except perhaps in Florida where such loveliness as sunshine and orchids are permanent. After my recent trip I returned with so many of the same emotions as two years ago, although there are a few less lights shinning there now, Florida still holds many dear ones. I could say more but rebloging just works best this week… xxoo
Florida. The 3rd most populated state in our country, with close to 100 million annual visitors, 50+ million headed to Disney World alone. This trend has been on the upswing ever since central air conditioning turned humidity into a tame house guest. With a climate that is gentle on the joints and boasts endless miles of open beaches, those with grand means and those with meager resources, fly like snowbirds to the Sunshine State. “In 2011, the first of the baby boomers reached what used to be known as retirement age. And for the next 18 years, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day”(AARP). And you guessed it, most of these folks are headed right into this condo-complex playground. Many of my retired relatives and friends have sold off their northern homes, or at least shut the water off and lowered the…
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