Florida

Man with a Chimpanzee

February 18, 2009

News of the chimpanzee nearly killing a woman in Connecticut delivered a memory. About fifteen years ago, during chitchat before a late-starting meeting, a colleague at a Florida newspaper mentioned that an elderly chimp lived with him. There was an uncomfortable silence. Then this man, friendly but blandly reserved, came to life as I questioned […]

{ 3 comments }

Read the rest...

Christmas Day Humiliation

December 24, 2008

A newspaper photo published this week shows a “Leave It to Beaver” family posing next to a Christmas tree in 1956. The family includes a boy holding his new shotgun. Except for his well-coiffed hair and fancy bathrobe, the boy reminds me of what I might have looked like six years later when I turned […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Swamps in My Blood

November 24, 2008

Until HBO’s True Blood, I can’t recall a television series with an opening sequence more riveting than the show itself. A foreboding mix of lust, religion, and evil, the montage casts a memorable spell. With each viewing, I’m drawn deeper into the stark settings. While I enjoyed the series’ first season, which wrapped up Sunday, […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Silent Barks, Fleeting Freedom

November 22, 2008

Think of Florida, and sprawling tourist venues like Walt Disney World spring to mind. But there was a time when Disney and its imitators didn’t exist, a time when quirky mom-and-pop tourist attractions dotted out-of-the-way places. One of them rose today from the recesses of my long-ago life. Maybe I thought of Dog Land because […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Better than dreaming

October 17, 2008

They say that after death people live on in others’ dreams. But I rarely dream about my mother, dead for five years. I much prefer how she materialized last month at my forty-year high school reunion in Winter Park, Florida. Several friends told me how much they liked my mother. Who could blame them? She […]

{ 3 comments }

Read the rest...

Time capsule of what?

October 8, 2008

I’ve made it halfway through a movie that uses my childhood home on a Central Florida lake as a main setting. One of my brother’s bought the DVD after I learned of the film and wrote about it. So far it’s like glancing around a museum I visited a long time ago, a familiar building […]

{ 2 comments }

Read the rest...

Blown Far on the Wind

October 3, 2008

I have a high school friend named Jim. I haven’t seen him in nearly four decades. In fact, none of our other friends have seen him in years. This protracted absence gives Jim a leg up on the rest of us: he’s frozen in our minds as he was back then, young and good-natured and […]

{ 3 comments }

Read the rest...

In late August I was three thousand miles from my Portland home, back in the Orlando area where I grew up, left, and returned to work for seventeen years. My wife and I were enjoying a notable meal at a new restaurant in Winter Park, The Ravenous Pig. I heard a familiar voice at a […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

The Road Home

September 21, 2008

Dawn has passed without sleep, and I’m headed back to Portland, crammed into a jetliner thigh-to-thigh with strangers. But I’m elsewhere, drifting through another world, a planet of the previous three days and nights in Central Florida. With me in this world are dearest friends, friends I’d lost for an unspeakable number of years. The […]

{ 3 comments }

Read the rest...

Dying for tanned hides

September 10, 2008

In the examining room, I waited for the dermatologist. Framed on the wall was an information sheet about melanoma. The doctor entered. Tall, thin, and past retirement age, he shook my hand as one would expect an ex-Marine to shake it.

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Decades Later, an Answer

September 6, 2008

It took more than a half-century, but I finally learned why we ended up living on a lake in Central Florida during my childhood. Not one house but three as we moved clockwise around Lake Sybelia in Maitland from the late 1950s to 1970.

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

High water, deep memories

September 2, 2008

Flying into Orlando last week, I see a familiar sight: Central Florida’s abundant lakes stretching to the horizon. But something is different. No sandy beaches. The lakes are brimming over from Tropical Storm Fay’s deluges. Later I feel the land between the lakes squish beneath my feet. The newspaper where I worked is filled with […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Juncture in the past

August 23, 2008

Four weeks from tonight, I’ll attend my forty-year high-school reunion in Winter Park, Florida. We were invited to write about a memory. I chose not the end-of-school campout of about twenty-five guys. It only lasted a few hours because a Seminole County sheriff’s deputy busted us just as the drunken revelry was cranking up. A […]

{ 2 comments }

Read the rest...