Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Travel Report

I tried last night to post via the iPad but I think I had included too many pictures in it and the wireless at the Motel 6 was weird and iffy so it never did publish so I'll just go ahead and try another one.

It was such a good trip and it was as long and as busy as it needed to be and that was not very long and not very busy.
We went to Weeki Wachee on Monday morning and the first thing we did was go to the animal show. Back in the olden days, the animal show included a whole lot of animals, as I recall, but nowadays it features two turtles, two snakes, and an alligator. I think that's all.

After the show, everyone is invited up to take a picture with the gator and to touch it if you want. Owen was not sure about that and he did not touch the alligator, named Armando.

The second Armando was packed away, though, he cried bitterly because he had not touched him. We had to promise him that we would return for the second show so that he could touch the alligator and we did and he did but I did not get a picture of that.

There was some cheesy posing going on at Weeki Wachee.

Here's one of my favorites.

Owen, right after he said, "This is the worst trip EVER!"

Gibson showed him how to do it.

Everywhere we went, that child charmed everyone. "Hey!" he said to the waitress, the old man waiting in line, the person taking the tickets. Everyone. "Hey!" And then he proceeded to tell them things. Not that they understood but they knew that whatever he was saying was charming.
Anyway, Owen finally got into the spirit of it.

Pretty soon it was time for the mermaid show. The theater is underwater and there are glass walls so that you can see the springs and that is where the mermaids perform. They come up out of the depths and great walls of bubbles are used for scene changes. It is dramatic. 
Here's Owen, waiting for the show to start. I love this picture. Love and adore it.

My boy. Waiting to see the mermaids. And then the curtain went up and the bubbles came forth and the mermaids came out to perform. 

I think he liked it. I'm pretty sure he did. Gibson did for sure. He laughed and clapped his hands and yelled and grinned the entire time. 
And me? 
I cried and cried. 
I don't know. There's just something about that show that is completely and utterly magic to me. Those beautiful young ladies (and one man) are such athletes and the water shimmers with light from above and they take sips of air from the hoses and they swim and they dance and they are gorgeous and the springs are gorgeous and it's a little piece of Florida which is irreplaceable and mermaids have been performing there since 1947. 
And I just could not stop crying. It was completely exhausting for me, that's how much I cried. 

I'm crazy. But we knew that.

After the mermaids and the successful touching-of-the-alligator, we went on the jungle boat ride which, if you're from North Florida and spend any time out on the water, is not too impressive but we had fun.

Lily took a picture of me and Gibson loving each other on the boat. There it is.

After all of that, we went back to the motel and tried to get the boys down for a nap but they were too excited at the prospect of swimming in the pool again. That is probably what they are going to remember for the rest of their lives. Swimming in the pool at the Motel 6 and you know what? That is fine with me.

Beside the big pool is a tiny, very shallow pool for children and it is perfect. I remember Hank and May playing in it when they were little. Gibson loved it but he was not satisfied to stay in it. He went back and forth between the two pools. Each was called "pool" and he asked to go back to the pool the entire ride back today. "Pool?"

He reminds me of Jessie in this picture. I used to call her my "project" baby because she always had a project going and Gibson does a lot of that too. Here he is, using the little ice chest for some purpose. Before that, he kept putting the small ring in the big ring and pushing them around the pool. The boys had emptied all of the ice out of the little ice chest in order to cool the pool down. We did not care because we'd already drunk the beer which had been keeping cool in it. Unfortunately, the ice trick did not work too well.

The sky at Weeki Wachee, from the motel, was amazing. I could not stop looking at it. Here's one picture I took.

We ordered Chinese Food and had a great picnic in the room, the boys had a bath, and we all went to bed early. This morning we got up, packed and loaded the car, had breakfast and went to Homosassa Springs which, like Weeki Wachee, was a very popular tourist attraction before Disney came to Florida and sucked up all the people. It is now a state park, as is Weeki Wachee, and they have one remnant of the old park there, an aged hippo named Lu whom no one would take off the state's hands. Former Governor Lawton Chiles declared Lu to be a citizen of Florida and thus, he was allowed to stay in the park. There are also deer, panthers, bears, alligators, and I don't even know what. Lots of manatee. They rehabilitate manatee there so we got to see some of those beautiful and strange creatures. I was not that interested in the Homosassa experience, mostly due to the fact that on the boat ride there, a damn yellow fly bit my foot and I thought the pain and itching would drive me insane. It is still swollen like a little pink loaf of bread. I hate those motherfuckers and take great pride in the fact that I managed to kill this particular one.
Anyway, we saw Lu and he was napping but he did wake up long enough to bellow. Owen said he was having a dream.
And it was hot. And the Florida gardens looked quite a bit like my yard and if you've seen one hippo, you've pretty much seen them all.
Okay, it's an awesome park. I was just pretty much done, as quite frankly, we all were.

A butterfly in the garden there.

And then we got in the car and we drove home and here I am and I'm so glad to be. Mr. Moon will be getting home from Orlando in a few hours and I have laundry going and I need to water plants. We're dry again after our long summer of delicious rain.

I don't have a damn bucket list. But I will say that one of the things I have wanted to do since my first grandchild was born was to take him to see the mermaids and now I have done that. We saw mermaids and we saw a hippopotamus and manatee and fishes and alligators and we got stuff in gift shops and had motel room picnics and swam and swam and swam. We saw amazing skies and had breakfast in a restaurant two mornings in a row. It was wonderful and it was exhausting. I swear, it took three adults to keep up with two little boys. But we did it. And maybe, just maybe, Owen will remember what I really wanted him to see which was the magic of the mermaids. I hope so.
I will remember, anyway, and I will remind him of it over and over again.

My little Owen, sitting in complete attention, watching the mermaids swim in the deep, cold Florida spring of Weeki Wachee.

There. That.

So glad we went. So glad we came home.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. God but wasn't that fun? And god, isn't it nice to be home? I keep thinking of all my favorite moments, and there are too many to list. My treasure box is so very full. Oh! I love you, Mama! Thank you so much for that beautiful trip.

  2. We had such a good time with you! And as soon as we got home, Owen said "I liked those mermaids!" we love you so much!

  3. Ms Moon, you are rich in the true treasures of life...the trip sounds so beyond wonderful. I am so happy for you and your girls and your boys.
    Smiling and waving from Melbourne.
    wv: syntit

  4. Oh, what a nice little vacation that's just enough to make you glad to get home. I've lived in Florida for 45 years and I've never seen those mermaids, but now I MUST see them, right?

  5. I've been impatiently checking for these pictures of your wonderful time with your girls and the boys. Looks like a lot of fun was had by all. x0 N2

  6. I haven't been there since I was a child, I loved it too. I might have to see about going back real soon. I know you had a wonderful time.

  7. Such an exotic land. Aligators and mermaids. Goodness, what fun! Such sweet pictures. Those boys are so full of life.

  8. The pictures say it all. I am so glad you had a good time and were able to share the mermaids with Owen. I can't be,I eve you already have laundry going and I want happiness lessons from Gibson. I was looking forward to this post. Sweet Jo

  9. Sweet, sweet photos and memories -- I have grown to love those boys and your girls, Ms. Moon.

  10. Sounds like a fantastic trip! I think I completely get why you cried. Weeki Wachee is a slice of old Florida, which is a place that's long gone now and that many of us knew and loved. There are hints of it here and there, still, and whenever I see one of them I get a pang in my chest too.

    I've never been to Homosassa Springs either. I gotta get up that way before Lu dies. I have been to Silver Springs, though, which is pretty much the same thing.

  11. So glad that you had a good trip and that the boys had fun. I would like to visit the places in old Florida because the new Florida doesn't attract me at all.
    It's good to be back home even after a great trip.

  12. I wish I was with you guys!!! My senior year in high school I was the coolest lifeguard at the water park. The next time I am in Florida, which will be in November because I am going to be a great auntie, I am coming to see you. I need to! I thought of you last night as I made a lovely dinner for Howie and Jim...and we sat around and visited eating the chocolate chip cookies I made for dessert. I thought, "Mary would be proud."
    Love you,

  13. May- I am just so glad that my grown kids are at all interested in this sort of time-travel. It was fun, wasn't it? Dang. I sort of wish we were having breakfast at the Breakfast Station. I wonder if Joann is on her 13th day in a row of work. I hope not. Jeez.
    I love you!

    Lily- "Mer, I lying to you. I really did like those mermaids." Haha! What precious boys you have. They were really good on the way home, weren't they? And thank god because I was exhausted. I'm so glad we went. I love you all so much.

    Ms. Yo- Melbourne? You're in Melbourne? Oh my goodness, you could go and visit Roseland! Although I'm not sure why you would. Melbourne is a pretty cool town but I'm sure you are so ready to get home. Yes, I am rich in family and there is no doubt about that.

    Lopo- Best thirteen bucks you'll spend all month. And a discount if you have AARP or AAA. Yes! Go see the mermaids!

    N2- It was a fine time. Sorry it took me so long to get a post up.

    Gail- The park is not nearly what it was but the mermaids are still sublime. You should go.

    Andrea- Oh yes, they certainly are! Full of life and full of bologna, too. Which is exactly how they should be. And love. That's what they're mostly full of.

    Sweet Jo- Gibson is about as happy a kid as you'll ever find. He's just a rip-roarin' happy soul.

    Elizabeth- As I have grown to love you and yours. Isn't it odd and lovely, too?

    Young At Heart- EVERYONE should see the mermaids!

    Steve Reed- I don't think we ever went to Silver Springs but I wish we had. Glass bottom boats. I mean- how cool?
    You have it exactly about the old Florida. It really was something amazing and beautiful and crazy.

    Syd- There's still plenty of the old to discover. I promise you.

    Terry Joy- I AM so proud of you. More than you'll ever know. I would LOVE it if you came to visit. Oh my god! That would be the best! When we were at Weeki Wachee I kept thinking about how we all met up there years ago. Wasn't it fun? Call me, baby. Let me know when you're coming.

  14. Whatever the equivalent to blogging is in 25 years, Owen will be using it to talk about taking his young-uns to Weeki Wachee like his Mer-mer took him. Watch and see.

    I'm glad you had a stellar time and that you got to spend time with the girls as well as the grands.

    I must confess, though. I must avoid late-night blog reading because I read the folling like this:

    The second Armando (meaning there were two gators named Armando) was packed away, though, he (second Armando) cried bitterly because he (Owen) had not touched him (first Armando).

    And the scary part was I was okay with this for at least another paragraph before I thought, wait a minute; let me go back and re-read that.

    Aye! It's how my brain works. It would rather believe the fantasy version.

  15. Nancy- It is not your reading, it was my writing. I think I was far more exhausted than I realized. Maybe Armando did cry, though, because the cute little boy had not touched his scaly tail. We can believe that. It can be true in our minds.

  16. I want to see the mermaids!

  17. I love your brand of crazy, it reminds me a little of someone I see in the mirror every day. Ahem. Anyway.

    I'm so glad you got to do this trip! Grandchildren are just the best balm for the soul.

  18. definitely a wonderful trip. I've never had much luck posting with my iPad. it just doesn't want to do it and how do you import pictures to post? maybe my new one will be more amenable. I haven't tried it yet.

  19. How wonderful. You know I adore your grandsons but there is something so tender and enduring about your relationship with your girls, it touches me so. And I know what you mean about project babies. My girl is one to this day.


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