Just as the cheetah doesn't know who she's going to meet down at the river where she goes to drink (a wildebeest? a hyena?), we never know who we're going to meet when we go down to the river to pray.
I mean...jump in and cool off.
Today we were greeted by a little boy holding a frog that took two hands.
"You wanna see our frogs?" he asked. He was so excited.
"Oh GAWD no," I said, doing my best Bette Davis impersonation.
Turns out that someone had given him and his crew a whole cooler full of frogs. Live frogs. Let me make that clear.
"What are you going to do with them?" I asked. I knew the answer and yes, here it came- "Eat 'em!"
Fuck me. Of course. I know that frog legs are a delicacy. I also know that I won't be eating any ever in my life unless the End Times happen and somehow, that's the only protein left on earth and someone else catches them and cooks them and offers them to me with some sort of delicious lemony sauce on the side.
Gibson advanced on the boy, his pudgy little finger out.
"Can I touch it?" he asked.
The boy graciously let him touch it and Lily graciously thanked him but we turned him down when it came to seeing ALL of the frogs. Which would pretty much be my idea of hell. A cooler full of live frogs? Thank goodness Hank wasn't there. He would have passed out.
You just never know what you're going to see. Who you're going to see.
There was an African American woman set up under an umbrella who would not have looked out of place on a fancy Caribbean resort beach. Her hair was perfect. Her jewelry was perfect. Her white cotton-gauze outfit was perfect. Her make-up was perfect. She was obviously a queen.
There were at least five children there who appeared to belong to her care with skin as dark as hers. One of them was a gorgeous budding young woman who was accompanied by a young, skinny, darling white kid who had to be the young woman's boyfriend. They all played together tossing a ball back and forth and when the Queen Mama issued a command, they all obeyed. They were the most well-behaved kids out there today. The yearning of that boy and that girl for each other was palpable and sent me back to my teenaged years. They watched themselves though, reserving touch to the most innocent of hugs.
A boy named Xander or Zander, perhaps, made friends with Owen and Gibson. A little guy named Richard who floated around in a tiny inner tube made friends with me. He was skinny as a match stick and his eyes, blue, and black-fringed, were the biggest things on him.
"You have beautiful eyes," I told him. He already knew that.
A group of guys of all ages and sizes played a game of toss the football on the grass. A skinny little girl climbed the cypress tree as high as she could and took the rope and swung way out over the river and dropped. A woman sat in a chair and read a book on her Kindle. Gibson chatted up a beautiful older woman who might have been Asian as she knelt in the cold water. And Lily and I dipped and played with Maggie in the river. Maggie loves the river. She kicks her feet and doesn't complain at all about the chill.
When it came time for us to eat our sandwiches and watermelon, she sucked all of the juice out of a piece of watermelon and cried for more when it was done.
It was a beautiful day at the river as they all are.
We finally packed it up to go home. Lily is working tonight and so had a time limit. Here's Maggie, getting changed out of her bathing suit, laughing at her mama.
The whole time we were at the river I kept thinking that if miracles were real, I'd get home and the AC would be working. We pulled into my driveway and I saw no sign of AC guys and I despaired but what are you going to do? And then, just as Lily pulled out of the yard, I got a text from Mr. Moon that the AC HAD been fixed and that he was on his way home.
I went into the house and realized that yes, yes, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!
it was on!
I rushed around the house, closing windows. I lit a candle to the Virgin (okay, no I didn't) and eventually, I took a little nap on my bed with Jack smushed right up against me and it was heaven and it is heaven and I can cook our supper without passing out and I am so grateful and so glad.
St. John Gorrie, I love you, I adore you, I honor you with ice cubes and a thermostat set at 77 degrees. If not for you, I'd have to live in Vermont.
And that's been my day. I'm about to go cook some stone-ground grits and those defrosted bream. My twenty-year old microwave finally warmed up its last leftover two days ago and I am rearranging the kitchen to fit in the new microwave I bought at Costco yesterday. It fits under the counter which the old one did not and so it's a whole new world in that kitchen.
I will sleep with my husband tonight in our own bed, both of us cool and happy.
I got nothing whatsoever to complain about. And so I won't.
I AM SO GLAD I DID NOT GO WITH YOU TODAY.ReplyDelete
I'm not gonna think about frogs piled in a plastic box of doom. Nup.ReplyDelete
That baby. Best baby ever.
Can I ask about something? Purely out of curiosity, no judgement intended - all your Florida Nature gives me the heebie jeebies sometimes, but since that awful Disneyland incident a few weeks ago, on top of Lily's alligator picture from the river shortly beforehand, I'm wondering how it's safe to go play and swim in such proximity to said nature. Is there a reason for being sure the kiddies are safe? Or are you just brave pioneering folk who shrug and swim with the sharks and gators? I'm a wimp who lives in a country with nothing more menacing than badgers and foxes (and I still keep an eye out for sharks when I'm in the sea!).
That Hank- It was meant to be that you were not with us. I will say nothing more. Except that please dear Lord, don't let me have nightmares.ReplyDelete
Jo- Well, you know- it's sort of like driving on the interstate. You know that wrecks happen all the time and you just have to pay attention and be aware. And not be stupid. I would SO love to go down to the Wacissa at night and skinny dip in the dark but hell- no. Can't see the gators at night. When there are lots of people splashing and making noise in the water, the gators (who are always nearby- let's not fool ourselves) stay away. They don't like humans for the most part. Even the Disney gators didn't eat that child. Once they figured out what they'd caught, they weren't that interested. The media highlights the horrible things that can happen but tens of thousands of people swim in Florida rivers and springs and lakes every day without incident.
Or maybe we're just all crazy. This, too, could be a possibility. But no one swims in the part of the river where the lily pads are. We aren't THAT crazy.
Yep, heebie-jeebies! I was afraid you were going to say that. No wonder you're anxious! :)ReplyDelete
A happy ending to the day :)ReplyDelete
I loved going to the river when I was growing up. No critters in our rivers, though, except tadpoles and teeny fish we called mudsuckers - about 2-3 inches long and they tickled our feet when they bumped into us. But the water - so refreshing. I don't care for the ocean or lakes, but I'd love to dip in a river again.
If you ever DO have to live in Vermont you can crash with us. :)ReplyDelete
Sounds like a perfect day by the river.ReplyDelete
jenny_o- Our little minnows here nibble on our feet. It's disconcerting but funny.ReplyDelete
sarah- Okay! Just not in winter. I promise.
Cro Magnon- It was as close to perfect as I could want.
People pay good money to have a tank full of little fish eat away our dead foot skin here. Let the minnows work away!ReplyDelete
Jo- I know! I always think of that but you'll just be standing there in the river, talking to someone and suddenly, something's bumping your feet! In a salon, you'd have time to prepare yourself mentally for the experience but in the river it's always surprising somehow.ReplyDelete
I would have bought one of those frogs from that kid for $1 and set it free.ReplyDelete