Sarasota, on the Gulf just South of Tampa, has a hot and sticky summer. It rains a lot! Of concern are the narrow gutters of our condo, which pour sheets of water against old windows, and inadequate drains which cannot take the water away. The water table in Florida is not far beneath the surface, and the summer storms can be gushers. We have as good a chance of disappearing into a sinkhole as being blown apart in a hurricane. The plants in my new potted garden are more prone to be waterlogged than dry, and a toad took up residence in one the day I set it out. It is hot, it is wet, everything grows, and some things grow huge. Pat took us to the Marie Selby Gardens to see a really big flower…the bloom of a corpse plant. It is big enough to hide a corpse….smells like a corpse, in a few days it is a corpse!
Then we took Geoff out to the Celery Fields, an Audubon park. No celery, and at midday, no birds.
It is hard to decide what to paint in a flat, tropical landscape. My swampy Florida didn’t turn out well, but a big beach scene was more fun. I paint in a well-lit few square feet just off the kitchen, and while using oils, I crack the door. It seemed like such a great idea, but while the fumes went out, ooooh, a snake came in, and found a comfy spot in my rag pile.
We watched with concern Trump’s rants in Cleveland, and Hilary’s in Philadelphia, and the pool was a regular late night treat. I wasn’t disturbed except by prowling cats, bats, possum, raccoons and an owl all outside the lanai. No alligators. They are here, we saw them at Myakka Preserve.
We had a day on Anna Maria Island, a 40 minutes drive up the freeway beyond Bradenton. In summer there are no crowds. We parked at the Sandbar, and wandered the beach, then ate burgers and fries at a bar, like regular trippers. We are burning calories playing pickle ball. It has been a real highlight….. social, aerobic, and fun. I am now playing on the advanced court, and we are both looking on eBay for paddles, and next year we will both be Silver Sneakers. We play at the Y.
We checked out a few restaurants, some with Pat, our delightful neighbor. She took us to Antoine’s for muscles, we took her to El Toro Bravo for beans! And on the other side, Bruce and Dottie sent us on our way with wine, and an angel. We still had time to leave the condo in dying order…… Ahh, I did forget the fridge. Who knows what will be dying in there!
We arrived in Seneca in time for dinner… Our 9 hour drive was 10.5 thanks to a huge jam. We detoured between Macon and Athens. On the quiet back roads were the usual wheel-less cars up on blocks, old sofas spewing foam, coal carrying railcars, and kudzu blankets draping banks and trees. There were a few charming small towns with Antebellum homes with long shady porches and bright rocking chairs. Monticello, Madison (spared destruction in the civil war because Sherman was fond of the mayor’s pretty daughter) and Pendleton in South Carolina.
We sailed out on Lake Seneca in an Ultimate 20, then swam in our underwear in the lake. We checked out the rock at Clemson, drank whisky with Chase and Paulette, ate popcorn shrimp and hamburgers resembling hockey pucks at the Esso Club, and drank 32oz bladder busters from Bojangles. We drew the line at a drive down Ramcat Alley (to buy fish for dinner and ram a cat) Pete pointed out the old brick ruins of Newry, where the fabric for civil war uniforms was made, its post office the size of a bathroom.
Dang, it was hotter than a goats butt in a pepper patch, the ribs were grannyslappin’ good and these Yankees were treated finer’n frog hair. But after an evening stroll with Jamison, dadgummit was time to go !