It is a cold morning (by Florida standards). I arose before dawn and watched the sky transform from black to gray. That’s not as much of a sacrifice as it sounds. Dawn arrived at 7:07 am. Rain pelts the windows in front of me and the ships moored off the Atlantic coast are barely visible. The weather lady on tv just said “the temperature will struggle to reach 70 today.”
Can you feel my pain? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
It is a good day to reflect on the week’s high points and low points of trading some January days of ice & snow in Missouri for balmy days in the sun in Florida.
First, the good.
I manned up, looked fear right in the eye, and let flamingos eat directly from my hand this week. While flamingos are unquestionably beautiful and have never personally threatened me, their beaks are long and pointed and look like they could sever a finger with little difficulty.
Maybe they could if provoked, but the flamingos at Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida were gentle and patient.
Inspired by an intrepid 10-year-old girl ahead of me, I placed a quarter in a vending machine and received a fistful of pellets in exchange. A row of flamingos lined up patiently waiting in front of me. Placing a pellet in my hand, I extended it to a large flamingo. It very gently nibbled the palm of my hand until it secured the pellet. No pinching, no biting, and no aggressive jostling among the flamingos to compete for the pellet. I methodically went down the row until each flamingo had politely & gently nibbled a pellet from my hand. I then repeated the process until my pellet supply was depleted.
Flamingos – I am impressed! You are surely the most polite birds I have ever encountered. Not at all like the duck who spewed a 12-inch circle of semi-liquid poop near my shoe later in the day. NO PELLETS FOR YOU, Mr. Duck!!
A less pleasant memory occurred on a visit to the food court at Sawgrass Mills Mall yesterday. First, let me say that my wife and I have been eating at Chinese restaurants ever since David Leong began his successful quest to make Springfield, Mo. the “Cashew Chicken Capital of the World”. I am confident with a Chinese menu.
Stepping up to the food line at Asian Chao, a Food Court eatery at the Mall, I proceeded to order what I thought was a two-entree meal for $8.99 which my wife and I planned to share. As the server pointed to a rib, I nodded ok. Same for a shrimp dish. Though we normally go for orange chicken and bourbon chicken, what the heck! We are on vacation. Why not experiment?
Well, I can give you one reason.
When the checker totalled up my plate and added two drinks, the bill came to $26.38. And that fortune didn’t even include a fortune cookie! My single rib was $11.99. I now understand why God borrowed one from Adam. Shrimp was $3.99 extra as were the two egg rolls. I’m guessing even the well-mannered flamingo’s might have gotten a mite peckish when presented with that bill.
On the bright side, I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t hesitate to utilize the words “IS THAT INCLUDED FOR $8.99?” when ordering a meal from Asian Chao. And, after reluctantly paying the tab, I also decided what my given name should be had I been born Chinese:
Me So Dum