The Old Lady had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and all day to get there.
So she said to the Golden Dragon: “Want to go on an adventure?”
Dragons are always up for adventures.
There was highway and then there were two signs pointing down a dirt road, one with the boat ramp symbol on it and the other indicating the Florida Birding Trail. So we went there.
There is a particularly spicy tang to being somewhere that one has never been.
There was a gopher turtle hole…
… and some other holes where maybe SOMEbody lives.
There were other things to be learned on this voyage of discovery, including finding out that retail computer technology has made such advances that the little Girl Scouts selling cookies outside a supermarket in Live Oak, Florida, have the capability to accept debit and credit cards as payment.
All of which goes to show that adventure is where you find it. You don’t have to go far, you just have to pay attention to the wonders all around you.
As you may know, The Old Lady has made a complete commitment to maintaining a positive outlook.
For example, the passport.
Months ago The Old Lady wanted a Passport Card, which is considerably cheaper than the Passport Book, because she saw that there might be an opportunity for her to cross the Mexican border and the Card is sufficient for that.
The clerk who rang up the order misunderstood and charged her for the Passport Book, which is what is required to travel overseas. The total was twice what The Old Lady expected.
She made a snap decision not to correct the clerk and to pay the extra for the Book, thinking that by doing so she might be putting the Universe on notice that if there was any opportunity for her to travel overseas she was ready!
Even now, months later, The Old Lady chooses to hold the positive belief that since she has her documents already in order an overseas opportunity might still arise… and that when it does, she will be allowed to travel freely.
“Tee hee,” cackled The Old Lady, “I reckon I’m the luckiest person on the planet.”
She has just returned from a fabulous all-expense-paid trip to Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Posh hotel? Paid for. Delicious food? Covered. Admission to tour the historic recording studios, a 1940s Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, and the world’s longest unmortared stone wall? No problem.“And oh,” added The Old Lady, “did I mention browsing at an upscale designer’s shop where the staff kept us supplied with coffee, pastries, mimosas, and a cheese tray?”The Old Lady had the time of her life! She always says that the very best time is on somebody else’s dime.
Recently she went to Manatee Springs State Park near Chiefland, FL, to see them again.
And she did! There were three together in the water, one a juvenile who was still nursing.
They were pale gray shadows in the water until they came up to breathe, but The Old Lady was thrilled just to see them from a distance.
THEN… a young woman offered to let The Old Lady take her kayak out for a closer look.
Talk about thrilled! The kayak even had a Plexiglas window in the bottom for a clear and magnified view as the kayak floated directly over the fine, fat creatures. It reminded The Old Lady of the glass-bottomed boats at Silver Springs.
It was nearly impossible to tell the young woman how much that short paddle meant to The Old Lady.
Kindness is sharing your kayak with a stranger for an exquisite experience.
… that The Old Lady has read recently is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of our Nature / Why Violence Has Declined.
This book not only reaffirms The Old Lady’s unshakeable commitment to the Pollyanna-Plus Philosophy of Positive Thought (motto: Expect a Miracle!) but Pinker has done his homework and has the facts and figures to prove his hypothesis: i.e., that violence has steadily declined throughout human history and is, right now, at its lowest global level ever.
“What about the mass shooting in ___???”, you may cry, “what about yesterday’s bombing in ___? The world is a dark and dangerous place!!!”
The Old Lady begs to differ.
You only know about the mass shootings and the bombings because you see them on TV. Nearly everybody carries a little video camera now in their phone and therefore you can see these frightening events, sometimes even as they are happening.
The Old Lady would like to remind you of all the places all over the world where good is being done and kind people are helping each other, but you won’t see THOSE things on TV… and therefore, the TV is giving you a skewed view of the world. It’s a lie. Don’t buy it.
The Old Lady noted with a wry grin the Santa Tracker featured on Google Search today, because she remembers the very first “Santa tracker.”
Christmas Eve, circa 1960: a news bulletin suddenly interrupted the TV program. A serious gentleman behind a desk announced that NORAD had spotted a mysterious flying object incoming over the Arctic Circle. The Old (then Young) Lady and her siblings were ecstatically excited! Being heavily into UFOs at that time, they thought it was the flying saucers arriving at last! When the camera took the shot of the radar screen with a crude cutout of Santa’s sleigh moving across to the sound of ho-ho-ho and jingling bells, the disappointment was crushing.
OK, the technology that makes possible the Google Santa Tracker is amazing.
But The Old Lady has nothing but sympathy for those nerdy kids who would prefer a visit by aliens from a technologically-advanced civilization.