"Did you hear it was zero degrees last night back in New York?"
"I called home, and it's raining in St. Louis."
|In Jacksonville the roads were crowded, but not the beaches|
One elderly woman told me, "I come here in the beginning of October and stay until the end of April. I miss most of the cold weather back home in Indiana." She has a double-wide trailer out near the airport, she said. She has two sons. One drives her down in October and flies home. The other flies down in April and drives her back. "I'm very lucky," she concluded.
|They like their mermaids|
"It was minus 32 degrees when I left home after Christmas," one fellow from Canada told me. "That's centigrade. But still, that's about minus 26 Fahrenheit."
The other topic of conversation centers around: Where do people come from originally? If you're ever in Florida by yourself, and you get lonely, there is a tried-and-true way to start a conversation with any stranger. Just ask, "Where do you come from?" And the conversation will go from there.
|Seafood restaurant on Anna Maria Island|
I was in a coffee shop at the beach the other day, and a fellow walked in sporting an Ohio State sweatshirt. (A lot of people are wearing Ohio State clothing these days, because, in case you don't know, Ohio State beat Oregon to take the national collegiate football championship).
"Oh, where in Ohio?" someone asks. "Youngstown," comes the reply. "Oh, I'm from Pittsburgh," a man offers. Somebody else is from Wilkes Barre, and then another one chimes in that they know Wilkes Barre. They're from New Jersey, but they have family near Wilkes Barre.
|It was warmer farther south in Sarasota|
Then another says, "Oh, my wife comes from Cleveland. But we live outside Atlanta now." Then someone else is from Savannah. And pretty soon we have the country covered from the Eastern seaboard out west to Kansas and Texas. People come to Florida from all over -- but mostly from the East and Midwest. Not too many from the West Coast.
Douglas, from Boomer Musings, was kind enough to have me join him for a game of golf. He is always the contrarian -- he came to Florida from San Diego. His friend (the guy who won the money!) grew up in Connecticut, but spent 25 years in the Virgin Islands before landing in Florida.
I read recently that Florida just surpassed New York to become the third most populous state in the Union. First is California, then Texas. And now Florida ranks third with 19,893,297 people. New York has a population of 19,746,227. That seems to me to underscore one trend going on in America today -- more people are retiring than ever before.
|Picturesque seaside inn|
The other observation I made came when I visited Disney World. I went to Epcot, and the place was mobbed. If all these people have $100 a head to blow on a day at Disney, then the American middle class can't being doing half as bad as many of our pundits tell us.
|Would you wait 1 hour 50 minutes for a ride?|
Because of the crowds, I didn't get into all the rides I wanted, but there was a very impressive acrobat show put on at the Chinese pavilion:
|The Chinese put on a show|
Anyway, I hope they didn't count me as a Floridian. I love to spend some time visiting here in the winter. But I don't think I would ever actually live in Florida. I'm headed back to New York.
|Says it all!|