Be Nice

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Meeting New People & Making Friends on Vacation

It wasn’t the best 24 hours of our vacation in Fort Lauderdale.

My wife had developed an earache and a sore throat.  We abandoned our tourist agenda and headed for nearby Broward Medical and Urgent Care.   My wife was seen promptly by Dr. Chau Nguyen and she walked out of the office clutching two prescriptions..  One prescription we were able to fill immediately at a nearby Walgreens.  The next would take overnight.

And then some.

When we went to pick up the prescription the next day it wasn’t ready for two reasons:

First, we hadn’t paid (or been asked to pay) in advance.  And,

Second, they didn’t have the ingredients.  Would “after 2 the NEXT day” be ok?  It wasn’t, so they transferred the prescription to another nearby pharmacy in their chain and told us it would be ready in two hours.

I suggested a little sun might be good idea so we headed for a fast food chicken place I remembered to pick up food for an impromptu picnic at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.  After a longer drive than I remembered it to be, we came to the chicken place.  It was closed for remodeling.  Nevertheless, a person was patiently waiting in the drive-thru lane for someone to take her order.

Next door was a Burger King.  Not our first choice, but it was convenient and didn’t appear to be busy.  Only one car ahead of us in the drive-thru.  Even so, it took awhile before it was our turn.  And then it took quite awhile longer before they took our order.

I ignored my better judgement and waited.Burger King

We placed our order and pulled around the corner to find two cars waiting for their food ahead of us.  By the time we got to the window, there was a pickup truck  and a car waiting behind us.

“Be right with you!” said the lady working the window cheerfully.

And we waited some more.

Then the honking began.

First, I thought it was the guy in the pickup behind us.  The honking continued.  If anyone has any suggestions about how to hurry when waiting for a very simple order at a drive-thru window I would be interested.  The honking continued until a woman two cars behind us had had enough.  She veered out of line, pulled alongside of us, and hollered “What the f*** is taking so long?”

This was a woman in a hurry for a whopper.

The window clerk politely hollered back “We are slammed and doing the best we can!” to which the impatient whopper-craver hollered another rude comment.  Use your imagination.

The drive-thru attendant then hollered “Have a blessed day!”  as the honking woman beside us accelerated out of the parking lot.

Whew!  That’s a big departure from the normal “Would you like fries with that?” drive-thru dialogue.

Thru the window came our bag of food.  I thanked the lady and off we headed to our picnic site.

On the way we encountered a work zone traffic jam.  As we slowed, an SUV suddenly swerved into our lane in front of us causing me to slow much more abruptly.  Prominently displayed on the back window of the SUV was a sticker that said “BE NICE”.

Nearing Birch State Park, my wife got an email.  Her prescription was ready.  Things were looking up.  We found a picnic table alongside the Intracoastal Waterway which borders the park on the west. and had our  hard-earned, not exactly hot by then, lunch.  Soaking up the sun, we watched boats pass, some of which cost more than many people would earn in a lifetime.

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A beautiful spot for a picnic at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale\

Feeling refreshed after a meal, some sunshine, and the absence of any high-volume arguments, we headed to the pharmacy to pick up my wife’s prescription.

“Be ready in 10 minutes!” the attendant said.

“But we got an email saying it was ready” I responded.

“It was wrong” said the attendant.  “Come back in 10 minutes.”

With the wisdom displayed on the back window of a crappy driver I nearly rear-ended running through my mind, I pulled around, parked in the warm sunshine, and cooled my jets.

“Be Nice!”

It sounds a lot easier than it is some times.

Be nice

 

 

Nature Walks Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

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Everglades Gator eyeing me from a few feet off the paved visitor trail

As vacations go, this has been a good one.  It’s chilly in south Florida today (upper 60’s) but the weather has been perfect since we arrived a week ago.  Back home in Missouri, it has been less than perfect thanks to Winter Storms Gia & Harper.

We have visited two beautiful parks this week trying to maximize our time outdoors.  First up was the Everglades National Park near Homestead, Florida.  It was teeming with wildlife.   We witnessed numerous species of birds, turtles and fish.  We also saw a couple of manatees frolicking in a river and a few dozen gators sunning themselves on land or cruising the river as kayakers paddled by unaware.  On our nature walk we encountered several gators relaxing in the sun only a few feet off the trail, seemingly oblivious to our presence other than an occasional sideways glance.

Despite their inert appearance, we never let down our guard when near any creature that thinks it is higher on the food chain than us and has the teeth to back it up.

Unlike Missouri boat ramps, Everglades boat ramps have gators monitoring the activity.

boat ramp gators

We were unmolested by the Everglades gators, though a pickup pulling a boat passed us and threw up a rock that cracked our rental car windshield.

I did experience a traumatic event at a different Florida park not far from our hotel in Fort Lauderdale.  The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is one of my favorites when we visit south Florida.  Bordered on one side by the intracoastal waterway and the other by Highway A1A and the Atlantic, it is a chunk of natural Florida mere steps from hotels and multimillion dollar mansions.  I was hiking among huge banyons and mangrove trees on a nature trail at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park while images of a large cottonmouth snake that someone had posted pics of on-line were on my brain. Each root crossing the trail looked like a snake and each vine suspended from a tree brought to mind the giant Burmese Pythons the State of Florida is currently paying professionals to eradicate.

As I came around a bend in the trail, I encountered not a snake, but an elderly lady leading two small dogs on leashes with a Chihuahua trailing behind leash-free.  As we passed on the trail, we paused momentarily to exchange small talk. That’s when it happened.  To quote FDR, “I was suddenly and deliberately attacked.”  While I was distracted, the unleashed chihuahua darted over and bit my shin.

“Did he just bite you?” the woman asked.

“Yes, he did.”  I responded, torn between remaining calm while also wanting to dropkick the sneaky chihuahua that had penetrated my defenses and my leg..

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Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Attack Chihuahua.  Don’t let that innocent look fool you.

“Has he had his shots?” I inquired.

“Oh, yes!” she responded, as a small spot of blood appeared on my left shin.  “I’m so embarrassed!  You bad dog!” she said to the miniature attack dog, who I hope is rabies-free.  I suspect that dog is probably more up-to-date on its shots than I am.

But now what Margo Kaufman once said makes perfect sense to me.  She said “I asked my Vet  what kind of dog he’d get.  He told me ‘I’d get a Chihuahua because when it died, I wouldn’t care’.”