Middle-aged people should frequent middle-aged vacation spots and middle-aged lodgings.
We batted 1000. Meeting our Florida friends in Florida wasn’t even on our radar a few weeks ago. But unused vacation points beckoned the Gordons who beckoned us. We couldn’t turn down a free stay in Ormond Beach, Florida. Since becoming farmers, we’d hardly taken a day off, much less six.
We packed up, tucked Mom in with competent caregivers and hit the road. I’d never traveled to that part of the state so I googled it.
“Tom, it says the city is a great quiet place for middle-aged couples.”
“What?” Tom asked.
Arriving at the beachfront hotel, our friends hovered over the balcony. A smile spread across my worn face.
“We’re in luck, they have shuffleboard!” Michael grinned.
I felt as if I’d been in a dessert and reached an oasis. An oasis of friends and memories and fellowship. We walked the beach and talked. We ate “Sticky Burgers” that combined a hamburger, peanut butter, bacon and cheese on a bun at a local hangout and watched college football.
The next day, our other friends, the Brinkers, made the three-hour trek to visit for a few hours. We crowded into the apartment and laughed, snacked, and reveled in just being together. Priceless.
Tom and I haven’t made much money over the last 18 months, but I feel rich. Those friendships didn’t bloom overnight. They took years of cultivation and feeding and pruning. Now we have a beautiful strong friendship that’s endured storms and even neglect–because like a magnificent tree, it’s rooted and established.
On Monday the four of us traveled to St. Augustine.
“Oldest city in the country. How appropriate.” Tom said.
Overwhelmed with touristy venues and parking, we stopped a mailman to get a quick restaurant review.
Without hesitation he said, “To be honest, all the places around here are overpriced and the food is (expletive).”
“Gee, tell us how you really feel,” Diane added.
We ended up at a pizza place he recommended. It was near the chocolate factory we toured earlier in the day. Lots of “early birders” there, too.
The Gordons left yesterday and Tom and I spent the evening alone last night. That part is a secret.
Today we see our son and his wife at their apartment. We also meet the Grand dog, Kratos. Tomorrow we head home.
I don’t miss Florida. I miss walks on the beach, sure. Mostly, I miss my friends. I’m making new friends in North Carolina, but friendships take time.
For now, I’ll remember great times with good friends.
If I can remember.