Sunnin’ and funnin’ — doesn’t that sound great? It sure did to me. The end of December Jerry and I packed up a month’s worth of pills, shorts, tank tops and sun screen and headed south. We had three days of driving to anticipate putting our feet in the sand and walking the beaches in the Ft. Myers Beach, Fla., area.
Going for a month or more is a whole different ball game than going for a shorter time.
It was no easy feat convincing Jerry it was a good idea. For 30 years or more, I worked on him. Finally, last year we made the big jump, and from the time we could peel off our winter layers of clothing and sighted the first palm tree on the way down, we both were psyched for sunnin’ and funnin’.
Well wouldn’t you know, Florida broke its rain record. The average Florida rainfall for January is 1.5 inches. Last year we waded through 13 inches of the stuff. Now I’m not talking about a shower here and there. The entire area around us was plummeted with downpours, wind storms and tornadoes. Two hours after we had enjoyed visiting a sunshine filled outdoor art show in Coral Gables, a tornado went through that area. On another day, after leaving a friend’s condo in Naples, a hurricane-type storm went through where we had been, tearing down palm trees and leaving thousands without power.
Our friends, Jim and Sharon Read, have a winter home in Indian Creek Park, and Sharon had found us a rental. A good lot of the time we sat in our rented trailer while it was pouring rain outside. Staying near the Reads made for more fun. “Hey, I’m feeling like a Starbucks.” A text from her and she and I would take off. Possibly doing a bit of shopping along the way. Jerry got a lot of books read.
But, I really want to talk about this year ... It’s the last day of our travel down to Indian Creek, and Jerry said in a raspy voice, “I’m not feeling too good.” I drove the rest of the way to Indian Creek.
First day: Jerry is down for the count with that nasty cold that lasts forever – unless you are Jerry. Five days later he was better. Seven days and he was good to go. Second day: I left him and walked the beach with Sharon. I would like to tell you I just couldn’t stand to watch him suffer, but that would be a lie. I was ready for beachin’. Third day: Cough – cough – cough; sniffle – sniffle – sniffle.
“Jerry, I’ve got it,” I said in my raspy voice.
Dang!! I already had been down and out a week the first part of December and had not fully recovered. Fifth day: Jerry — way better. Me —full blown laryngitis! Now picture this – me trying to communicate with hard-of-hearing Jerry. After straining my already abused voice in a third attempt to get my message across, I realized this just wasn’t going to work. Light bulb!! I got out my trusty I-Pad and started writing. A smile from Jerry and we were in business.
Meanwhile, the rest of Ft. Myers Beach was basking in sunny 80-degree weather. Jerry was reading and watching football while I was convalescing. I left him and headed for the couch in the lanai (i.e., Florida sunroom or porch). Let’s see: Kleenex – check; cough lozenges – check; I-Phone – check; I-Pad – check; bed pillow – check; fleece coverlet – check; coffee – check. Exhausted and with all necessities handy, I’m snuggled in and ready to flick on the TV. Oh man, of course the remote is across the room!
Seventh day: I’m out of here one way or another … cough-cough. We took a drive, got 4 for $4 lunches at a fast-food, and ate while sitting in the parking lot, under a palm tree, with car windows down. Boy that felt good!
Eighth day: Cold worse. With time and sunshine wasting away, and no sign of good health in the near future, we headed for a prompt care.
Tenth day through thirty-first day: Sunnin’ and funnin’ at the beach – with Kleenex and lozenges in tow.
Earlene Campbell lives by the FROG motto — Fully Rely On God. She resides in Princeton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.