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Before the winds blow it all away...
Someday I would like to take my family
back to South Florida to see the places I knew when I was growing up.
Until I was an adult, and had been away for a long time, I never knew how much
those places were a part of me. Before the hurricanes blow it all away, I
would like them to see Flamingo.
Both salt and fresh waters were teeming with sea life, and the mangrove islands and the saw grass plains were home to bobcats and Florida panther, alligators and raccoons, and an amazing variety of birds. When they were newlyweds, my mother and father lived for awhile on a houseboat there.
During the war and just
after, my Aunt Clair had a part-time job collecting rents on some of the shacks
in Flamingo. I can picture her walking around in her high heels and city suit
among the hard-eyed characters, carrying her rent book. Flamingo was the
kind of end-of-the- road settlement where ex-convicts and fugitives from the law
went to lose themselves. It was not unusual for my father and uncle to check
their traps in the morning and find their jug buoys floating with the ropes cut
and the trap and its contents stolen.
and Florida Bay
We went away from Florida for
awhile, but then we came back and my father spent his last years as a charter
boat captain in Flamingo. My Uncle Billy lived there most of his life,
working for the park service. When he died, his friends from the park
scattered his ashes over the Florida Bay. My brother and I both
worked there when we were older. It is a place of primordial beauty, the
backwater of civilization. It calls to the drifter part of me.
The Sneaky Kitchen
Fuller Brush & Stanley Home Products
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