Peg and I spent Christmas in Florida. It was sunny some of the time and the lowest temperature was 70°. Of course, because Peg was in charge, our main pastime was shopping. Oh, we could have played golf or gone to the ocean, but our major activity was avoiding being rammed on the streets by some demolition driving snowbird from New York or being rammed in WalMart by some bargain chasing octogenarian pushing a cart with one hand and a cane with the other.
I actually got to where the challenge of “dodge cart” was exhilarating. Since I am in my 70’s, I had a distinct advantage over most of the treasure hunters. However, it was not unusual for some blue-haired, tennis shoe wearing lady, clad in a tee shirt emblazoned with some catchy phrase such as, “So’s your old man”, to surprise me with a shove to the back of my knees.
According to Peg, we had to go to Florida at least once in 2015 to check on the small condo her mom gave us to make sure it was okay; it wasn’t. The first thing we ran into was a commode in need of surgery. We fixed it with only three trips to Lowe’s. Then the “new” garbage disposal leaked. Not to worry. One more trip to Lowe’s and 80 bucks did the trick.
Just as I had Peg convinced to return to where Christmas is celebrated properly, the two main windows were damaged by a rainstorm. As I am a man, I was willing to ignore things for another year, but Peg’s female side took over. She demanded we act responsibly. So we stayed to save the interior from even more rain that the Weather App predicted.
I knew the repair jobs were not that much more than we face in Indiana on a regular basis. That was not really the problem. What caused me to continually dream of a northern Christmas was the amalgam of tinsel and plastic contraptions Floridians use for Christmas decorations.
If one pictures Clement Moore’s vision from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas then juxtaposes it with a scene from Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, you too can have Christmas in Florida.
As Peg and I wandered around in short sleeves and short pants, we saw numerous attempts to reconcile Florida with Christmas. There were white plastic snowmen sitting on lush green lawns as they were being sprayed by automatic sprinklers. There were Santa Clauses, plastic of course, dressed in heavy red snow suits. There was the normal plethora of tiny white lights but now on palm trees.
And worst of all, there were plastic sleighs sitting in sand piles. At least they were not being pulled by eight flamingos led by a ninth with a glowing red beak.