Things Change — A Reminiscence

The Season just ended here in Florida. (Many of us wonder, “If it’s the season, why can’t we shoot them?”)  We do look forward to Memorial Day. For some reason that magic date leads to the egress of about one-half to two-thirds of the people who clutter our roadways, beaches and golf courses. During the excruciatingly hot and humid period from (roughly) May 1st to October 1st, we get to be on time for appointments, pass quickly through the lines at Publix, and remember our manners…sorely tried for the preceding six months by people who stand “on” instead of “in” line and otherwise talk funny.

Hooray for Summer…mosquitoes, West Nile, hurricanes, lightning storms and all the other things that give us back our relative peace and quiet.

In all honesty, though, I have to say that this was a much less interesting place before it became a metropolis. When I was a kid, about the most exciting thing to do on a balmy South Florida night was cruise the fifty miles from Riviera Beach to Fort Lauderdale on U.S. 1 (no I-95 in those days) and see if you could make the entire distance without stopping for a traffic light. Possible, back then, believe it or not.  I’ve done it, but not recently. Like in 1963?

Now we have a world-class auditorium for opera and orchestral performances, more venues for popular music than you can easily count, and enough performers living in the area to make it possible to find a name entertainer doing something or other just about any night of the week. We also have SunFest, a pop and jazz festival held at the end of April.They block off Flagler Drive for four days, and we party, listen, tour juried art shows, eat all sorts of exotic food…all with the panorama of Palm Beach across the lake. Hey, it doesn’t get any better than that, especially when you’re sober and will remember it.

You can’t swim out to the reef and catch Caribbean Spiny Lobsters with your hands like you could when I was a kid. You can’t build a fire on the beach and cook ’em, either. You can’t skinny-dip with the Yankee girls, down on vacation and excited to be with a sexy lifeguard. But I’m not supposed to get in the sun any more anyway, and I sure do like jazz!

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