Diligence is the basis
When I looked out the car window, all I could wonder was, where are the trees? For miles, all there was is what looked like sticks with fronds on top. At 10-years-old, moving from Ohio to Florida wasn’t my decision. What will I do for fun and who will my friends be?
What was even worse was when we arrived at our new home, it was surrounded by orange groves. There were no climbing trees, no swinging vines. There were only “no trespassing” signs. At school, they said we lived "in the sticks” - the middle of nowhere.
One winter morning, I got up and headed for the beach. Friends gathered for a volleyball game. Soon they were tossing their sweaters. I joined in and found a new passion.
Besides volleyball, we were sunbathing on the beaches in the winter and water skiing in the summer. Along with the changing seasons, my attitude had changed. What I initially thought of as dull and out of place, now became exciting and anticipated. I was swimming in the Gulf while my friends from home hibernated in the snow. I even started to notice the difference in the Palm trees and the attraction they held.
I fell in love with the water, the beach, and water sports. Canoeing, boating, tubing, and kneeboarding replaced the winter sledding and snowball fights. Volleyball became my landlubber sport of choice.
So in later years, when America took a more natural, healthy, green-living-way, it was natural to follow. I gave up the french fries for baked Jicama or Sweet Potatoes, the Big Mac for Broiled, freshly caught fish, and the sugary desserts (well, I tried) for the Lychee, Mango, and Jaboticaba growing in our subtropical nursery.
Camping is a favorite pastime. Dale and I belong to Thousand Trails Camping Club and have access to campgrounds throughout the United States.
When our children were growing up, we belonged to Florida Pop-up Campers club which met monthly at locations throughout Florida. Some of our best memories include nightly campfires, marshmallow roasts, pot-luck dinners, and scavenger hunts.
One trip, in particular, stands out above all others.
It happened at Wekiva Springs campground in Apopka, Florida. After eating a roasted hog, the club stored the leftovers in a large cooler which was bungee closed and left outside a member’s trailer. Walking home that night, Dale passed the trailer. He watched a brown bear unsuccessfully try opening the bungeed cooler. Finally, the bear grabbed a handle, slung the cooler over its shoulder, and made off into the forest.
Dale notified the club of the bear, and three men followed in the bear’s tracks (not recommended). They found the still bungeed cooler nestled in what seemed to be the bear’s lair, sans bear. There was an assortment of candy wrappers, chip bags, beer cans, and sodas. Scanning the forest and not seeing the thief, they ran down and retrieved the stolen cooler.
The bungee had saved the club’s food, and the cooler became famous for its war wounds. It was the story to tell around the campfire. Mainly, how that little brown bear over the years became a giant grizzly!
The real story is buried in the fact that neighborhoods have been built around the forest and spring, encapsulating this small patch of forest. In turn, the bears and other wild animals are blocked in, giving them nowhere to roam.
Path to Writing
Alternative Health and wellness come naturally, having spent over 20 years living and working in a more organic domain. I've owned and operated two organic co-ops and managed a chiropractor's office for six years.
Twenty-five years after moving to Florida, I escaped my comfort zone. In 1999, I left a corporate job and chose to homeschool my two children. It wasn’t very popular. Being out of my element was nothing new.
I will never forget our first day at school. I was prepared. I had done my research and had picked two curriculums. My son approached the day with enthusiasm but not my daughter. Tears and cries of frustration erupted throughout the week, but she finally settled in. Secretly I questioned whether this was the right decision.
We stuck with it. Ultimately, education was not only received by both the children but myself as well. I spent 11 years on our homeschool board, holding positions from secretary to vice-president.
After fifteen years teaching a classical education, both children went to college, both graduating Summa Cum Laude with 4.0 gpas. They are listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges and served as interns before graduation.
My son took a job of assistant to the Dean at a college in NY. My daughter was employed as a traveling Chapter Consultant with her sorority. They have since both relocated to Florida. Both are close enough for plenty of visits throughout the year.
In May of 2018 my husband, Dale, and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary. Our wedding feels like yesterday. There are no grandchildren yet, but I anxiously await that period of life and the blessings it will bring.
For 16 years I’ve been a member of the Manatee Rare Fruit Council. My family has participated in their yearly fruit tree sale. For the past three years, Dale and I have served on the board. It has been called the most massive 1-day fruit tree sale in the southeastern United States by the region's Agricultural Inspector. I am involved in my church community life as a lector and choir member. I am also active on the committee for Respect Life, joining in monthly at the local Luncheon 4 Life meetings and yearly at the Walk for Life.
Whether it is the unborn, my rescue boxer, my special needs dog, or any who need a voice to speak for them, I believe
ALL life is precious.