#14 The Adventure To Great Soap & How to find it : Yeah, that's normal for Floridians
The Floridians I am talking about are the ones that grew up here, whose families date back for generations as Florida born.
Floridian's are a rare breed these days. Florida continues to become the destination for retirees & sun seekers alike. It's become very hard to maintain the "Florida" way of life in some ways.
This blog entry is an example of that.
Snook Haven is a small indoor/outdoor Restaurant located in Venice, Fla. It hasn't changed one bit in my lifetime. It boasts an outdoor stage made of plywood with a lean-to roof attached. The dining room is like sitting in an indoor porch, scattered are overly painted picnic style benches and tables with a few booths with no padding. The outdoor deck area looks over the Myakka River. The menu has many pub food choices, deep fried & down home as they come. Once and a while a small John Boat will pass on the water with a couple of kids enjoying a fishing trip or an old man who is out for a ride before sunset. The old man's shorts are camo pattern, he's got an old thread bare baseball cap on while one hand rests on the throttle, the other is holding a beer or beverage. His motor drones on softly through the water, the old man nods as you wave. The waitress looks tired, but she greets you with a cheery "How Ya'll this evening?" my
As you enjoy the small talk about the mosquitos buzzing, or the Eagret flying overhead you hear the laughs of children as a flurry of feet clop past you on the boardwalk. None of these kids are being chased by a parent, They are all wearing bathing suits & nothing else as they race to the waters edge on the dock. You can tell they have lived every day of their lives in the sun & the heat of the late afternoon doesnt faze them a bit. One by one, they throw themselves into the river, splashing around and diving with all their might.
Now, I know what your thinking "Aren't there Alligators in there?" Absolutely! Swimming in any body of water in Florida makes alligators, venomous snakes & snapping turtles a possibility.
My Dad always told me that I needed to be aware of my surroundings when I ran through the woods or swam. Looking back, what could I have really done if an alligator grabbed my foot? I think when you grow up with it, you're partly fearless of it. I always have been partly fearless mixed with a healthy dose of respect. If you want to get out and really enjoy Florida, you have to lose a bit of fear. That goes for anyone with any state really, but the Northernersare adamant about "everything" trying to eat you in Florida. Floridians know when to steer clear of the waters & woods during certain times of the year. Alligator and hog mating seasons aren't a joke. They both get overly mean & aggressive.
Other than the Gulf, the waters in Southern Florida are as dark as Sweet Tea that's been left in the sun too long. Beyond a couple feet deep, you can't see the bottom. The water gets it's beautiful dark color from the natural matter that falls into the water. Bodies of water like the Myakka are called "Brackish" that means its found dark colored, and is a mix of fresh water and salt water.
As far as the woods go, I've had my fair share of scary moments. While Camping, boating and running wild in the fast disappearing back country of Florida, You see many things and hear animals go "bump" in the night. A group of friends and I were chased by a pig once, I hope I never encounter that again. We got lucky because there was only one pig and five of us screaming our lungs out as we ran. I am not sure if we outran it, got out of its territory or if it hated our screaming but it gave up the chase. Wild pigs can be scary, especially when your a scrawny group of kids.
Lastly, My Dad had a friend who got bit by a Rattlesnake once. As the story was told to me, He cursed and swore at the snake telling it "You've bit your last!". He grabbed it up and threw it in a bag he had in his car. He and the group rushed him to the nearest hospital 10 minutes away. He went into the hospital carrying the now dead snake. when asked "what kind of snake bit you" This friend reached into the bag and produced the large venomous snake. "this one!" he exclaimed. He was treated & released. The Hospital offered to dispose of the snake. The friend smiled and said "No thanks, he's dinner". That snake was dinner that night. It was the 1st and only time I've ever eaten Rattlesnake. It was really good believe it or not. Super lean, flaky white meat. Very good. The location of where we are the snake is a story for another time....But yes, all of these things are normal for Floridians.