It has been about ten days since I returned to Florida from my trip to Pennsylvania. I am still overflowing with longing to be up in Pennsylvania instead of back in Orlando. Now granted I went there in summer which is one of their very best seasons and returned to Florida during our very worst season, when the humidity makes you feel like you are in a mug treading warm soup every time you leave the house. When the mosquitoes are particularly bloodthirsty and numerous, spiders manage to get in the house no matter what, and its freakin' close to 100 out most afternoons before the nasty thunderstorms roll in. Our summer is equivalent to their blizzard time. One thing you can say in Florida's favor though is that no matter how hot it gets, you can leave and go someplace. Not so easy in the north where you can actually get snowed in for a few days at a time.
My children and young grandchildren live here. I love the beach: which is only about an hour away no matter whether I go east or west. I enjoy the theme parks at Disney, Universal, and Sea World. I have a lot of friends here. A good life. You betcha. No complaints. But, having said that, if somebody was to knock on my door and offer to buy my house for a fairly decent price, I'd be out of here ASAP right now. Logical or illogical wouldn't matter. My roots are up north and having realized that so dramatically, I want to go home. Have a white Christmas. Enjoy the changing leaves in Fall and the tulips and daffodills in Spring. Breathe air that doesn't make me constantly sneeze. Live on a hill. Drive to the mountains instead of the beach. Not live in a tourist mecca.
If you haven't been there you wouldn't know, but Western Pennsylvania is breathtakingly beautiful. Pittsburgh, where I was born, is a clean progressive city full of very friendly folks with every cultural advantage (thanks to old Robber baron fortunes) a person could want. Full of stunning parks. Three rivers. Great public transportation, free to seniors. Lots of hospitals. Higher educations centers such as Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Chatham College, Washington and Jefferson University, and Robert Morris College. With great athletic teams (Go Steelers!). Housing is much cheaper than here and not cookie cutter boxy boring. Job market is better. Schools are better. (In my old township, 98% of all public school students go on to four year colleges) People stay in one place a long time there. For a reason. Its a "Family" place.
Before I went back, I'd forgotten just how unfriendly people are in Florida by comparison. I think maybe it is the transient mentality, or the divorce rate or something else altogether. I don't know. But, I have never been invited to a neighbors house (socially) more than two times the entire 14 years I have lived in my present neighborhood. People wave and smile but its not the place where everybody knows your name. My old neighborhood of 15 years, also here in the same town, was not much friendlier either. If you want friends you meet them through interest activities around these here parts, Pardner. Not on the street where you live. Course I live in Winter Park, which rightly enough has a uppity yuppie image and contentious folks who fight on every single community issue. Other parts of Orlando might be better.
In any case, sigh, according to this morning's newspaper, Florida is losing population. It is one of the worst real estate and job market places in the whole USA. Selling my house and leaving the state is probably only pipe dream. Maybe for the best since the first big blizzard might find me begging for the Sunshine state again. Yes, I'm stuck to my seat, not just because I've sweated to it, either. I can only dream of green hills, pine trees that are full and lush, woodland critters in the yard, lightning bugs and snow for Christmas. But wait, I have an RV that my unfriendly neighbors hate...I can at least travel to the mountains of Pennsylvania again. West Virginia and North Carolina too. As much as I want and Danny's job allows. Mountains will be there waiting. That will have to do.