By Steve Gimmestad
It was the second day of a moving sale. Like animals sense fear, people sensed it was bargain time. A man walked over to the table marked ‘All Items – $10’. He picked up one item and turned it around in his hands for a moment. “How much is this?”
“Ten dollars,” was the reply to him.
“I’ll give you five for it,” he said with the grin of a man about to get a deal.
The man handed over his five-dollar bill. He took a step toward the exit, turned and asked: “What is it?”
That reminds me…
I got in a fight with Ol’ Man Winter a couple years ago. He was being particularly annoying and I was fed up with his attitude; -30 degree temps, lots of snow, little sunshine. The Winter Severity Index hit 190 that winter (100 is considered severe). He has been cold to me ever since, bordering on brutally frigid. As we learned from the commercial back in the 70’s: “It’s not a good idea to fool with Mother Nature,” and Ol’ Man Winter is a member of her family.
I had been faithful these many years; never going on a winter vacation, dutifully shoveling snow and clearing ice. Yet, there was no reciprocity in the relationship. Rather than a couple inches of fluffy white stuff you could play with, I would get 20 inches of heavy, wet snow and then below-zero temps which turned it all into a solid glacier that would not leave my driveway until the spring thaw (which meant June). It was enough, and I knew it was time to move on from this relationship.
The moving sale mentioned above was mine, and we were selling almost everything we owned. As I walked through the house, I was in awe that most all of the things I had accumulated in life had a price tag on it. Well, almost all. The memories, friendships, and a couple growlers of Lift Bridge Pale Ale, were among the precious items that would make the journey to the New World with us. We cried and laughed as we counted our booty, and found that our life’s accumulation was worth $2,215. And we prayed that none of the checks would bounce.
It was -12 degrees when we pulled out of the driveway at 6AM. The trailer tugged and bumped as we crossed over the glacier that was our driveway. The thought of a fun picnic lunch at a warm wayside rest kept us motivated. About 700 miles later, the wind and cold dashed the picnic plans, and we settled for a slab of cold meatloaf pressed between a couple of tubes of string cheese while sitting in the car. Man, I love travelin’!
We did not have cell phones or any other modern gadgets, and relied on walkie-talkies to communicate between our two vehicles. Otherwise we would have known about the low pressure system enveloping much of the eastern United States. It would stay below 30 degrees until we hit the Florida border. It seems Ol’ Man Winter was still a little bitter about our argument.
When we informed friends and family of our moving plans, there was a mixed reaction. Cries of abandonment and desertion came from many. The more sophisticated said our desire for self-fulfillment was very noble, but highly misdirected, and we should just take up yoga. Upon arrival in Florida, we discovered we weren’t alone in our desire for new experiences.
The reasons were legion when asking others living in this area as to why they made the move. Warmth and sunshine topped the list. It seems I wasn’t the only one Ol’ Man Winter PO’d over the last few years. An interesting tidbit here. I was at a presentation a couple weeks ago on Marco. There were a little over 100 people in attendance. The speaker asked for a show of hands: How many people here were born in Florida? A quick count ensued and it was determined that one person was born in Florida. “This is a land of other people,” said the presenter. I bow to, and embrace, that heritage.
I know I have much to learn, and that’s where you, dear readers, come in. Even though it’s been a few months now, I still haven’t figured out where the whitewater rivers are, why I can’t swim anywhere I want, or how to build a good campfire using palm wood. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Yes, it’s time for some new memories and to explore this vast new world filled with smiles and sunshine. Unhappiness is not a good state in which to live. We much prefer Florida.