Yep, I decided not to leave the best for last. And what makes Florida the best? It’s obvious, it’s because we all live here.
There are lots of reasons we chose Tanglewood and Florida for our new home. Some of us just wanted a place where we did not have to worry about falling flat on our butts on the ice four, or more, months of the year. Others came for the temperate climate (sorry about that, it is hardly temperate, as anyone whose A/C is on the fritz can tell you). Some came for the amusement parks in nearby Orlando – what better way to lure family members with children into a visit. A very few of you may have moved here in support of manatees. I am fairly certain no one came here for the love bugs.
So, those are reasons to move TO Florida, but here are some “educational” facts that may have changed your mind if you had known about them in advance:
• Florida has 18th of land under water in the United States. We are behind only Alaska and Michigan. I am sure global warming will eventually put use into first place (although that might be offset by arctic melt off in Alaska.
• No matter where you are in Florida, you are 60 miles, or less, from an ocean. While this is marvelous for tourism, it is not so great for tidal waves, and storm surge.
• Florida is the flattest State in the Union. This may help to account for the more than 1300 golf courses, also the most of any State.
• Florida used to be listed as the lightning strike capital of the world. We lost the crown to Rwanda after more precise measurements could be taken.
• Florida is the 29th obese state in the USA. There is no truth to the rumour that we were 34th before I moved here.
• The true reason for Florida’s obesity rate is probably the South Florida State Fair. In the course of 17 days, the Fair serves over 800 gallons of ice cream, 6,750 pieces of corn on the cob, 8,000 soft pretzels, and over 12,500 hamburgers.
• Florida has 9.5 million acres of farmlands. We are ranked number one in the production of many fruits and vegetables. This includes the orange – so give it up California. Florida also leads the nation in orange trucks.
• Florida also has many animal attractions. This is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist. We have manatees! We have 16,500 turtle nests in Palm Beach County alone. And, of course, we have love bugs. Way too many love bugs.
• In 1982 the Florida Keys once declared themselves an independent nation. That didn’t last long.
• Florida has more to attract visitors than theme parks, oceans, and manatees. Florida boasts some outstanding (and unique) museums, including, but not limited to, the only museum dedicated entirely to mollusks, the world’s largest collection of fossilized poop in The South Florida Museum, the Stephen Foster Folk Museum, and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
• The official State song is Suwannee river “Old Folks at Home” by Stephen Foster, who never was actually in Florida.
• The world’s small Post Office is in Ochobee. We also have the smallest Police Station. The Carrabelle P.D. is housed in an old phone booth.
• Florida also boasts the only Amish beach resort in the United States.
• Every spring Floridians gather on the Alabama border to engage in the annual “Mullet Toss”. This sacred ceremony consists of throwing mullets across the State line into Alabama. I have no idea if Alabama throws them back.
• Florida has a quaint Bed and Breakfast just outside of Tampa. For a mere $100 donation, we can then cuddle any of the following cubs: bobcat, lynx, ocelot, leopard, tiger, or lion. I think we should all petition Trips and Travel to organize a trip as soon as possible. I call dibs on the lion.
• Key West has the most bars per capita in the United States.
• If you are at Disney World and you hear a “HEPA alert” called, it means someone has to vacuum up human cremation remains. There goes my final remains plan.
• The very first meeting of the Homestead Crime Watch was interrupted by a 75 pound parcel of cocaine literally dropping in through the roof.
• In 2013 Linda Decharme renewed her wedding vows to a Ferris wheel named Bruce. I shudder to think what the wedding night entailed.
• Here’s a surprise, both sunscreen and mechanical refrigeration were invented in Florida.
• And Finally, Florida still has a few quirky laws on the books:
o State funded daycare and pre-schools must play classical music for the children;
o In Key West it is illegal to sing in public while sporting swimwear;
o In Miami Beach it is illegal to bring a pig to the beach;
o It is illegal to skateboard without a license. One probably must have proper identification to get one.
o Also in Miami Beach, you can be arrested for selling oranges on the sidewalk;
o It is illegal for single women to skydive on Sundays, and finally;
o Oral sex is illegal in the State of Florida.
Next month we dive into Georgia.