What Have I Learned in Florida?

I leave here in a little over 12 hours. Over the course of my flight north, I will lose anywhere from 40&#176 to 60&#176!

The five days I spent with my folks has been wonderful. I spent more time with my dad, nearly every waking hour, but lots of time with my mom too. As sappy as this sounds, every second was a treat. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity.

Tonight, in conversation, my mom told me there were times when I was growing up, when we didn’t speak. I don’t remember that at all. Maybe I blotted it out. Those days are certainly gone.

My mom and dad have a great marriage. They are excellent companions and good friends. And, for the most part, they are friends with each others friends. That’s a bonus in any relationship.

I’ve said in the past that living here in Florida has been life extension for them. I’m sticking with that. It could also be argued, it’s the happiest time of their lives. Even more than happy, they are content.

They have their health… though it’s tough to say both parents are in excellent health when my dad has been through a bypass operation, both carotid arteries have been cleaned, he’s suffered the loss of one eye and now failing hearing. My mom’s a cancer survivor. Still, there doesn’t seem to be anything they want to do that they don’t do because of physical restraints.

My dad and I have talked about his being 78. It’s an age he never planned for – never imagined living to. He doesn’t feel like 78, but what should 78 feel like? Both my folks are older than any family member before them. Neither seems old.

Even Steffie has commented on their relative youth, compared to their friends specifically and their contemporaries in general. This is a major compliment coming from someone who does not throw out compliments easily.

The area in Florida where they live is Utopia for seniors. Today, my mom went to ceramics class. She has started painting again – something she hadn’t done seriously for decades. My dad has easy access to golf and high speed access on the computer. Their condo complex has social events and shows on a regular basis. John Davidson is coming in a few weeks. They’ll be going to a cousin’s condo to see Elaine Boozler.

In this part of Palm Beach County, seniors rule. They are mainstream. They are catered to. They are the goose that lays the golden egg – and you think twice before screwing with the goose.

They are surrounded by friends. The group of friends they’ve had for the past 50+ years – a group that was scattered across the New York City Metropolitan Area – is now here… and in the same town! And they have made Florida friends here in the condo complex.

My dad is a computer guru here. I had always kidded him about that. Friday, a man approached my dad in the condo clubhouse and thanked him for earlier advice. He was proud of his accomplishment, and vindicated, all at once.

Tonight, at dinner, someone talked about a development named “Journey’s End.” No one in Florida wants to think about the journey’s end. I don’t blame them. Yet it surrounds them.

My mom attended a memorial ceremony a few days ago. “I didn’t know he had done so much,” she said. The sound of sirens is often heard along Military Trail or nearby Boynton Beach Boulevard. Their coterie of friends is smaller than it once was. Most have, so far, dodged serious ailments.

Helaine and I talk often about dumping winter and moving here, where it’s always warm. After five days here – five days of beautiful weather while Connecticut suffered through cold temperatures of historic proportion – I am more enticed by the idea than ever. It’s still too early in our lives, but our day will come.

We should be as happy – as content – as my parents.

5 thoughts on “What Have I Learned in Florida?”

  1. Geoff:

    I enjoyed reading about your trip to see your Mom and Dad. I just lost my Dad (he was 81) in November so I’m glad you got to enjoy your parents on this trip. You are lucky to still have them, so visit and stay in touch as much as you can. I am new to reading your web page, but enjoy it a lot. Glad you got rid of the beard, tho!! My Mom is one of your former weatherwathchers (“Vera” in Cheshire). LOL.

    Take care.

  2. You forgot to mention that your parents are also pee-in-your pants funny!! The Fox family is certainly a big perq of marrying your cousin. I am delighted to hear that they are so well. Its warm and sunny here in SoCal but we are too far away from family. Love, Melissa

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