So, Florida. A few weeks ago I flew down to Florida, and heard a lot of great stories about my late father and his brother Lee, who I went to visit. At 98, Uncle Lee's a miracle. Still easy going, still cracking jokes. During WWII, he led an army battalion of all black soldiers across N. Africa and into Europe; came home to run a successful business with my father, was a whiz at numbers, a champion at bridge. Now he has no memory, sleeps upright in a barcalounger, but is as happy as a lark.
This is the first time in the Rat's Nest's short history that it's been without a rat. What will become of it now that the last rat has passed to the great beyond? One thought is a move to another website, one that won't be as frustrating as blogger (sorry, blogspot.com, you've been good to me, but the lack of control on your site sucks). Reader(s), look for a new link in the coming weeks.
Lee and Sid, Brothers
In Florida, I saw all the cousins, visited my parents' grave, observed the egrets and herons in the drainage ditches along the back roads. The grackles in the shopping center parking lot. The creole Haitian workers. But Florida's a strange place. It's where the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, came to lap dance and drink great quantities of alcohol without being detected; where the Iraqi invasion was broadcast on TVs in Walmart and no one bothered to watch; where young people live in gated communities and old people go to die. But it does have the Atlantic, shimmering and warm.
After visiting old friends in Palm Beach, I took a walk along the nearly empty shore. I remembered when I used to walk with my parents in Boca; they insisted on walking three miles of beach to the Holiday Inn and back, even in their 80s. It was the happiest time I ever spent with them. The rest of the time was a dark cloud, fraught with tension and antipathy. When I visit there these days, no parents, no tension. Still I don't like Florida!
On the home front: Maya left this a.m. for the frigid East Coast, after a month long winter break. Her vacation went by in a flash, with trips to OK and the desert, clandestine parties, lots of time spent horizontal. How will she adjust to the cold, from 70 to minus 10? Here's a picture taken of her in the warm CA sun, as she contemplates a shopping trip with her mother.