[Cont'd from yesterday.] When we arrived in Florida, Pat and I set about catching up with one another while Jim patiently worked to catch up with our energetic chatter. She greeted us at the condo with bags of groceries, then gave us a couple of hours to ourselves to absorb the dazzling new surroundings. (Time to take off my turtleneck sweater.)
We reconvened at the airy, compact house that her daughter Lesley designed. The party commenced -- pizza, fruit salad, and lots of Busch Lite and sparkling apple juice. Pat showed us her well-organized studio where she makes videos, researches family history, and creates genealogy scrapbooks. Her husband Joe's studio was filled with his gun collection and hunting paraphernalia (he was up in Georgia at his hunting cabin).
Then I showed the rough draft of my 2-minute animation project "Great Dames Take Naps." This resulted in an intense discussion over the meaning of "regret" as the years accummulate over a lifetime. Very philosophical. (And very helpful to future revision of my production.)
The next morning we told Pat to give us her favorite tour. She didn't take us to the T-shirt stores on Daytona Beach but to the "real Florida" inland. We had a picnic brunch at DeLeon Springs Park near Deland, then pushed on to Blue Springs (through Orange City, where I lived in 1971!).
Blue Spring Park is on the St John's River. The weather was amazingly perfect and more than a 100 manatees were playing there -- an incredible sight. Pat had a minor misadventure -- stepping in a pile of child poop left on the restroom floor by a distraught (and thoughtless!) mother. After the clean-up, we boarded a tour boat for an afternoon ecotour up the river. Lots of birds and feeding manatees. No alligators, but we did see a big one sunning himself on a log when we got back to the springs.
We arrived back at Pat's for happy hour and another evening of conversation.