Trapped in a Tropical Paradise: Part Three

By Eleanor Motley Richardson | Jun 22, 2020

Our 890 SF condo in Florida is a perfect winter escape – no lawn care, one level and easy cleaning. You can empty the dishwasher without ever moving your feet. But when time comes to fly north, the snowbird longs to slip out of this little cage and fly to Maine.

All the years of our lives we have been unconsciously preparing for this and are experiencing a burst of creativity. Yarn had been brought to Florida, with a vain hope of knitting a pair of socks. Voila! They took shape during COVID news broadcasts. Leftover yarn was fashioned into a cellphone pocket. I had been thinking for four years that a large mural of Naples Beach would look great over the sofa. So I painted one on the wall with my acrylics.

We signed on to and explored our roots. My husband, Peter, mined the years of family research and photos in his computer, and created 70 one-page family history vignettes entitled, "Do You Know?" He emailed one each day to children and grandchildren, who we suspect were just bored enough to read them. Many led back to early families in Rockland.

My friend Susan paints a small watercolor every day and listens to Spanish tapes before getting out of bed in the morning. Such discipline! She mailed me some yeast from the Good Tern, so I could bake oatmeal bread. My other friend Peggy took up golf, which is good for social distancing. She always wanted to learn and age 73 wasn't too late.

When my parents retired to Florida in 1982, they decorated their condo with dark blue drapes covered in birds and tropical flowers. There was part of a bolt left over. Suddenly I realized our windows needed curtains to darken them at night. That's why I learned to sew at age 14, and why we saved that fabric for 38 years. Somehow it all made sense. I covered half a bra with the leftover fabric to create a face mask.

Perhaps we had gotten into a bit of a rut and needed this to shake us up, to throw us back on our own resources. Instead of our 33rd Anniversary restaurant dinner, we will Zoom with the kids, then take a picnic supper to the beach and watch the sunset.

When we wonder how much longer we can sustain this, we realize we simply have to. There's a little electric piano to practice on, and those thousands of pictures in the computer that need weeding…

We stayed in Florida to be safe, and now it's the hot spot of the nation. We continue to isolate ourselves...

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