December 12, 2011–Hometown, Monday Listicles
First an aside. I am realizing while pursuing this discipline of writing a list of 10 every Monday how
weird unique I am. Way too often, I have to write an introduction that explains why I can’t exactly do what I am supposed to. It’s eye-opening, and marginally disconcerting.
I’ve told you that to tell you this. I don’t really have a Hometown. The place where I live currently, Palm Bay, FL is a “bedroom community.” Essentially, a super-sized subdivision with nothing but houses and a little bit of commercial. The joke among we Palm Bayans is that Wal-mart is our downtown.
To turn to my actual hometown, Lima, OH–the place of my birth–won’t work either as I have been there only twice in my adult life, both times to go to a burger joint called Kewpie which apparently was the favorite of my father and his sisters when they were younguns.
So, I think that the only way to solve the issue is to adopt the state of Florida as my hometown. I’ll just consider it a really big town. I’ve lived in Florida longer than anywhere else, although not necessarily in Palm Bay. I’ve had 8 Florida addresses, in fact. But, it is in Florida where I have found my home, and so I suppose that it is my Hometown. So here goes–this is what I love about my Hometown:
10. Breaking dawn on calm water in a bay or river–the moment centers my soul.
9. The juxtaposition of wind whispering through pines and rattling through palms that make for a symphony that is purely Florida and that makes me sleepy–I could lie down in the needles beneath those pines and sleep a sleep that I haven’t known since I was a boy.
8. My children’s squeals and screams crashing through the screen door as they play in the back yard.
7. The perturbed glares of deer as my headlights ruin their late night snack along the side of the road. The haughty turkeys and disgruntled bears are pretty awesome too, though usually during daylight and much more rarely.
6. The overpowering embrace of heat and humidity and sunshine as I exit an air-conditioned space during the summer, and the comfort I take in that, knowing that I live in a place unlike any other.
5. Thunderstorms, swirling, violent–threatening destruction as they bring life in such abundance that it becomes commonplace or even a nuisance.
4. Yelling at my sweaty little children in an effort to overcome their unstoppable need to open the valve to the garden hose and to roll and stomp and dig like little piggies in the cool mud that it makes.
3. Being able to go from the metropolis that is Miami and, after having driven only an hour, arriving in some of the most wild lands on Earth.
2. Waking up every morning knowing that I chose, and choose, to be here.
1. Knowing that this is where I met my wife, and married her, and made a home with her, and created two little people, and where we grow those two together, and run a business, and where we will some day die, together. Everything that is good happens to me in Florida because everything that is good starts with Gloria, an she is here, with me.
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