Thursday, July 8, 2010

Small Town Living

My parents live in a small Florida town. It's small, but they have all the necessities: Super Wal Mart, Lowe's, Dunkin Donuts and an Outback Steakhouse. Their town is even getting an Olive Garden. This is big news.

This is the town I lived in during my high school years; it's the town I lived in when I met Craig. It's the last place I called home before we began our foray into the transient military lifestyle.

Sometimes it's nice to visit; to check out the old stomping grounds; to make fun of the fact that despite the addition of new businesses and restaurants, this town still remains the same. Coming back brings back many memories. Some good and some that deserve to be buried forever in a box labeled "teenage angst and utter ridiculousness." Sure, the night life and entertainment scene are sorely lacking. But, who am I kidding? I can't remember the last time I was out and about after dark.

The other night I took Caroline on a drive. First I drove past Craig's old house and then I showed her the house we first lived in when we moved to Florida in 1991. It's the house my grandparents bought when they retired and moved to Florida. All good New Yorkers move to Florida, you know. It's an unwritten rule. It's the house my dad lovingly restored and made our own. The house whose lawn I refused to walk on in fear that I'd encounter a snake.

Sadly, the area we lived in is really run down right now. The economy has not been kind to my parent's town and it's starting to show. Landscaping hasn't been tended to in way too long. Property values have plummeted. It made me feel sad. Sad because the area was run down, but also because I hardly recognized parts of it. That's what 14 years and 6 moves to 6 different states will do to you.

After we took our melancholy tour of homes, I brought Caroline to the McDonald's I worked at for most of my teenage years.

The outside is still the same, but the inside is nicely updated. Even though I didn't recognize a soul and the equipment is state of the art now, I could still vividly remember my days taking order after order in the drive thru and I could still smell the odor of those little dehydrated onions on my finger tips. Some things you'll just never forget.

Just beyond the McDonald's sign is another small town treasure: the B&W Rexall.

The B&W Rexall is the home of the 88 cent breakfast.

I thought for sure, with the down turned economy and all, that the days of the 88 cent breakfast were long gone. Au contraire. Breakfast was 88 cents in 1991 and it's still 88 cents today.

Now that I've gone all sentimental on you, I should also say that there are many typical Florida things I could do without. Not surprisingly, most of these are wildlife related.

Frogs hiding near the front door

and loitering lizards

We won't talk about the two dead baby snakes I encountered on my run yesterday morning. I should have known; it's summertime in Florida. It was bound to happen.

Florida's over abundant reptilian wildlife might not be for me, but there is plenty of fun things to do inside.

Sock fights with grandpa are entertaining. Especially when this particular grandpa, with his cat like reflexes and dead on accuracy, has had plenty of practice throwing socks (clean AND dirty) at his granddaughter's mother way back in the day. He's been known to simultaneously pelt you with a dirty sock and steal your french fries.

Even when you have bad aim,

sock fights are fun.

Thank goodness for tall bar stools.

Another good thing about staying at my parent's house is the library of books my mom owns.

I can always find something interesting to read when I'm here.

Here I thought my posting would be sporadic, but it seems like I've had plenty of time to blog. I suppose having Caroline in camp all day has something to do with that. ;)

I was home alone all day yesterday, carless, but content. Caroline was at camp; my mom was at work and my dad spent the day doing whatever it is he does all day.

A nap may or may not have been had, some Nutella was eaten, and all is right with the world.


Carrie @ TV and Dinners said...

Is that McDonald's in front of the old movie theater? I'm trying to picture it. (Is that movie theater even still there? I haven't been back there in ages.)

Alison said...

No, this is the McDonalds on US 41 towards just past the courthouse in Inverness. The movie theater is still there (so is that McDonalds)....and the old Wal Mart is now a Bealls. It's a booming metropolis, I tell you!

Elizabeth said...

I do the same every time I'm in Marina, which is probably more often then you get to Florida. Marina has aquired quite a bit including a portion of Fort Ord where they now have their own little shopping mall, but since you still have to get on the freeway, it doesn't really feel like Marina. There are lots of new neighborhoods, but the local shopping is relatively the same. I love the small town atmosphere. It is definitely more my cup of tea then the sprawling LA area. Gary is secretly a redneck, so we both clearly live in the WRONG place.

Alison said...

Elizabeth, I totally agree. I like the small town feel. Since we live in a pretty busy area,away from the city, but still close enough, I'm really finding myself enjoying this small town feel. I went out today and took some pictures of the things I used to take for granted. When I was a teenager, I didn't take the time to appreciate the lakes and spanish moss on the trees. I was too busy complaining about not having a decent shopping mall!

I don't think I could live in LA. I'm sure you're used to it now, but it seems really overwhelming to me. At least you guys escape often enough to camp and do your "redneck things." Ha!

I can't believe Marina has a shopping mall. How times have changed. I'd really love to go back there, but Craig doesn't really have any real reason to be stationed there. Boo.

PS--I'm glad you commented!

Sissy said...

Thanks for the pictures...oh, and I loved the 88 cent breakfast!!! That place had great food and my dad and I loved it.

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