Dispatches from the Sunshine State

Now that my husband is fully retired, we tried out the Florida snowbird thing and got away from the cold gray blahs of Indiana winter for a few weeks. Other than the drive there and back, we had a great time. What’s not to love when every day is sunny, and the average temperature hovers around 72?

We rented a mobile home in an “Over 55” mobile home/RV resort near Ft. Myers Beach. Everyone was friendly, and the grounds and facilities were immaculate, but homes were sandwiched mighty close together. A rule worth remembering there: keep your shades drawn when shedding clothes.

The pool was a central gathering place. I loved being a fly on the wall, listening to poolside gossip. A hen party was a daily happening in the shallow end, and as is common with the over 55 crowd, medical woes were a popular topic. I heard discussions about kidneys, bowels, bladders, depression, adult ADHD and bulges (I won’t give details, but it was a man who mentioned bulges). The lady who admitted having adult ADHD was not taking enough medicine. She talked incessantly and was always trying to corner someone new to listen to her medical history. I learned the hard way: don’t make eye contact.

My opinion of pool attire for the over 55 crowd: women of a certain age should remember time marches on and give up on bikinis. And word to the wise: tattoos don’t age well.

COVID was a frequent topic at the resort. My favorite bit from a COVID conversation: an American woman asking a Canadian woman if Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a communist. I guess the Yank thought that a valid question since Canada has done a better job containing the virus and getting its citizens vaccinated. Darn commies!

Tennis courts? Empty. Pickleball courts? Overflowing. I’m leery of friends here in Columbus who’ve encouraged me to try pickleball, saying “it’s just for fun.” They are mostly former competitive tennis players, and I’m pretty sure they’re just as competitive at pickleball. My suspicions about killer pickleball were confirmed in Florida. The first woman I met at the resort was wearing a cast on one arm. Yep, pickleball injury. Broken ulna and radius. And a lady I met in the hot tub lamented being relegated to water aerobics until she healed enough from her pickleball injury to return to the courts.

I met interesting people. The lady next-door, a Florida native, had a long career as a crime scene investigator for the sunshine state. A younger woman I met was retired from an information technology career and living the gypsy life. She pulls a mini Airstream with her pickup truck and takes on IT contracts here and there. A single mom for years, she said she was back in the dating game now that her daughters were raised … and warned me about the married men in RV resorts who’ll tell you they’re not married, but really are. Note to self: look into becoming a nun if widowed in the future.

Best incident of people watching: a woman hiking in a swampy eco preserve wearing an off shoulder blouse, skinny jeans & high heeled boots.

I love finding the best of humanity wherever We travel. On our last day in Florida, I saw the sweetest couple at the pool. They looked to be in their 80s. The husband was gently and patiently teaching his wife to swim.

That’s the best of my dispatches from Snowbird City. We’re back in Siberia now, all too soon.