Friday, February 24, 2012

Family Fun

February 23, 2012
Yippeee—my sister Patti put me in the driver’s seat of her Miata convertible today!  My first time driving a convertible was grand, after I got over feeling a little overexposed to the elements at high speed.  Some jerk in a little red sports car honked at us, and I scowled and said “What’d I do!?”  Patti just laughed and said, “Girls in a convertible.” I got the idea that guys honk at her all the time when she tools around town in her cute convertible.

Our husbands couldn’t fit in the Miata, so they followed in the Lexus, and we left them in the dust.  They eventually caught up with us for lunch at a great Punta Gorda restaurant overlooking Charlotte Harbor.

We had a wonderful time visiting with Patti and Al, rocking the afternoon away on their back porch, shaded by live oaks and palm trees, with lots of colorful tropical foliage all around.  It was so great to spend time with them, and it was so comfortable hanging out in their little corner of paradise that it took a real effort to get together the energy to get up and go back to Ruskin.  (Hope they weren’t wondering if we would ever leave.)

It took us less than an hour and a half to get to their house in Port Charlotte, but it took us far longer to get back to our condo, because we took the scenic route” and left ourselves open to distractions.

 Our first distraction was an amazing bird feeding frenzy on Siesta Key.  There were at least a couple hundred pelicans and mergansers, plus a few egrets and herons working together as a group to herd fish along a sand bar, grabbing and gobbling fish as they swam. Nearing the end of the bar, they would turn in unison and herd the fish in the opposite direction.  Gulls and terns swooped in from above to horn in on the bounty.  We have never seen multiple species of birds work together so effectively to accomplish a common objective.  Five minutes later, they dispersed.  How lucky we were to be in the right place at the right time.

Jammed in Sarasota rush hour traffic, we saw this 26 foot tall statue based on the famous LIFE magazine photograph of a soldier and nurse kissing in Times Square at the end of World War II.  Roadside attraction!  We had to turn around for a closer look.  Titled “Unconditional Surrender,” the statue is by artist J. Seward Johnson.  Like the Airstream Ranch we saw a few days ago, the art-worthiness of this installation is in dispute.  Panned by critics and loved by the public, it is photographed hundreds of times a day. 

We are sure that the people who own the marina restaurant near the statue love it.  The marina/restaurant overflow parking lot is next to the statue, and then, once you are parked, the restaurant is an enticing spot to stop for a bite afterward.  That’s what we did. 

Dinner on the dock with a steel drum player in the background—we couldn’t think of a better way to end the day.

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