“Hello, my name is Ethel.”
Chorus: “Hi Ethel!”
“Umm, yeah, my name is Ethel, and I’m a recovering Northerner.”
Chorus: “Welcome to Florida, Ethel!”
Look, I was born and raised in New England. I believed to the bottom of my warm woolen double knitted socks that if you didn’t have the fortitude to stick out eight or nine months of cold and snow, you didn’t deserve to enjoy the short but perfect New England summer.
We used to joke about it:
“Say, Everett, what do you want to do this summer?”
“Gee I’m sorry, Ethel, I’ve got to work that weekend.”
But I was SOOOOOO sick of shoveling snow. Again, I realize this is sacrilege to a good Northerner. It’s healthy exercise, warms one up, clears paths and decks for winter use. But we were tired of it and decided to winter down south after retirement.
So here we are in central Florida. In December. In the sunshine. 75° Fahrenheit. No jacket. Flip flops on my feet for crying out loud. And BLOOMING FLOWERS!!! No one ever told me there would be winter-blooming flowers! I mean, I’d heard of Christmas Cactus and Poinsettias, but those are indoor plants that sit in your grandmother’s dining room. Everett and I went to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville this Monday and there was COLOR! Outside! We even saw a blooming BANANA TREE!
It IS winter. It still gets dark around 4:30, 5pm down here, just like up North. But the locals call anything below 70° “freezing”. And I can walk my dog 3 times a day without spending 20 minutes getting bundled up before and unbundled after. And I can stop to smell the flowers EVERY time.