April 24, 2006

I leave South Florida on Wednesday
I decided to push things up a bit for two reasons. First, the sooner I leave, the sooner I’ll be coming back. Second, I want to get the long drive over with. At my age these drives are terrible. Well, I guess a 1200-mile drive is not fun at any age. It’s just that my old bones begin to freeze if I sit in the car too long. So, I have to stop every two hours to do some gentle stretching and walking. That does help. Also, I hate doing the drive alone. When I was younger and made long trips - back in the day when I refused to act on being a gay man - I had Rebecca and the children with me. Rebecca always spelled me and did some of the driving. This being alone and single is for the birds.

Back to my trip – I’ll take the Florida turnpike up toward Orlando but switch to 95 down around Port St. Lucie. I hate 95 down here for reasons I’ve discussed previously in my journal. * From there it will drive 95 pretty much all the way up to Washington DC. then the beltways around DC, and Baltimore, and 83 up to York county, 30 across the Susquehanna to Lancaster County, and I’m home. Well, not home, but, having been being born there, and living most of my life in Pennsylvania Dutch country, it’s still home. We call Lancaster county “God’s Country” because Lancaster is so beautiful, the soil so rich, and the valley so blessed and protected from the vicissitudes of the outside world that it seems to have a prosperous life all its own. I just don’t like the cold winters anymore. My body hurts from head to toe from November through March. I don’t know why Ruth refuses to understand that.

Anyway, I’ll be gone from Palm Beach County for about two weeks, no computer available, so I won’t be writing until I return, dear journal. I’ll miss you.

*The April 8, 2006 entry of this journal discusses in detail a particular incident on 95 that cemented my dislike for the highway.

Blowing Rocks

Oh, one last picture before I go. This is another of the series I took on Jupiter Island. Aside from being the wealthiest chunk of real estate in Florida, Jupiter Island has Blowing Rocks park, a beautiful stretch of beach on which the ancient reef has been exposed. On this particular visit, Thunderstorms had passed to the South and North. The Atlantic was thoroughly roiled, and the waves made great “whumph” sounds as they crashed into hollowed out pockets in the reef rocks. Spray hissed out and surf splashed all over me.

High Tide at Blowing Rocks

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April 20, 2006

Adam Will Help Me Move
My plans are totally revised!

My grandson, Adam, the middle school teacher in New Jersey, has volunteered to help me move my furniture from THE BIG NEEDLE in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to my new condominium in South Florida. So, I won’t have to have it shipped as I thought. I had checked out the cost of such a venture, and it looks as though my grandson will save me four to five thousand dollars.

Adam told me on the telephone last night that he finishes his teaching and his In Service obligations on the fourteenth of June. On the fifteenth, he and a friend will drive to Baltimore. I’ll fly back to BWI where Adam will pick me up and drive me home to Lancaster. I can leave my car here in Florida. Adam and his friend – If I remember right, his name is Stephan - will rent a truck, load it for me and drive it to Florida. So, I must still go back to Lancaster next week, do the paper work at PINY PRICKLY MANOR, see my friends there, and visit Ruth to try to calm her down a bit.

I’m so pleased, and excited to have Adam’s help in June. He’s my favorite of all the grandchildren. Remember, Dear Journal, he’s grown-up to be such a wonderful young man. He’s won awards for his teaching, and has written and obtained several grants for his classroom. I’m so proud of him. And, two years ago, he came out to me. He’s gay! I’m hopeful that Stephan might finally be that special someone Adam so deserves.

Queer Rocks

Once again I'm including another photograph from South Florida. This picture is of Blowing Rocks on Jupiter Island during low tide. I especially liked the queer (pun intended) other worldly shapes of the ancient reef rocks.

Ancient Reef Rock Formations

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April 14, 2006

I Own Property in Florida!
I’m so happy I could run to the beach and back! Well, maybe walk there and stagger back.

My bed, box spring and mattress will be delivered to my new condo on Monday, next week, and I will move in to the condominium then. I will drive back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania the following week in order to visit Ruth, and other family members, sell my apartment back to THE BIG NEEDLE, and move all my things to South Florida.

Actually, I won’t get much back on the apartment up there. You sell your life to these retirement places, and they get to keep most of it. Ah, well. It looks like I will realize less than $50 K on an initial investment of $225 K, and 7 years quarterly fees that began at $1500.00 and increased to $2400.00. Ah well, I’m doing what I want. I just won’t have much left to pass on to the family when I leave this mortal frame.

Once again, I’m posting another picture from South Florida, Dear Journal. It's one of the set I took at Blowing Rocks on Jupiter Island. See below.

Ancient Reef and Boat

Ancient Reef, Ocean and Boat

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April 11, 2006

Consignment Shops
I’ll ship my furniture to South Florida from my tiny apartment at THE GIANT PINY NEEDLE back in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and pay a small fortune to do it, I’m sure. At the same time, I’ll need much more here in South Florida because I’m going from one to two bedrooms, and I’ve got 1800 square feet here as opposed to only 1000 in that retirement home apartment. Meanwhile, I’m so excited about my new digs that I couldn’t stand the wait - so I’ve been on a mad shopping spree. I bought a beautiful and expensive dark mahogany masculine bed frame, and a new box spring and mattress, so I have a place to sleep other than a hotel. I’m really tired of hotel living, and though I’ve searched for the least expensive I could find, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on hotels since leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, those are the only new pieces of furniture I’ve bought.

I’ve discovered church second hand stores, and consignment shops. Seems that there are so many of us old codgers dieing down here, that stores are full of practically new stuff. I’m not a rich man, but many of these folks down here must be because much of what I’ve seen and all of what I’ve bought from consignment stores is up-scale, and so reasonable compared to buying it new. Seems people’s kids don’t want their stuff, even when the dearly departed leave behind antiques, objet d’art, and valuable paintings. For instance, I bought a glass top table and chairs for my porch at a shop in Tequesta Florida, and two days later saw the same table and chairs, brand new, in a furniture store in Juno Beach for three times as much! Okay, so my table and chairs have a couple of scratches and dings on them. They’re hardly noticeable. Always the pragmatic Dutchman here, using these stores only makes sense to me. Why spend three times more than I need to spend?

Once again I include another shot from my April 2nd trip to the beach below.

Juno Beach, April 1, 2006 - #2

Sea Grapes, Boards and Shades of Aqua Water, April 2nd, 2006.

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April 08, 2006

I settle on my condo next Tuesday. I’m so excited I could (BLEEP!). No more hotels! I’ve already bought a bed, box spring, and mattress, and they will be delivered next week on Wednesday, so I can move in immediately. I’ll get one frying pan, and one pot to cook vegetables, one dinner plate, salad plate, and soup bowl to hold me over until I can get my furniture from THE BIG NEEDLE. I plan to call several movers today and tomorrow to check out moving costs, but I know that won’t be cheap.

I’m celebrating on Monday next week by going to a local gay and lesbian organization meeting for older gentlemen. I found the group on line, It’s a group called “Paths,” and it meets under the auspices of Compass, the largest gay and lesbian center in Southeast Florida. I’m really curious and extremely excited about meeting some other men my age, or at least they will be older men.

Compass is in Lake Worth, and I do dread getting on 95 to drive 12 miles south. That highway is a madhouse. Last week some idiot in a “Pile-of-junk” ford pulled out into the fast lane from the middle of the highway with no signal, right in front of me. He was doing about 15 miles per hour, and I was doing 65 (10 over the speed limit, though nobody down here pays attention to speed limits). Fortunately my reflexes are still half decent, or I’d be splattered and splashed over about 200 feet of highway. I didn’t have time to check my rear view mirror. Instead, I just swerved into the middle lane of three as quickly as possible. The guy behind me in the 3rd lane did bump the (BLEEP)hole, but I missed completely. I hate to think what would have happened if someone had been occupying the space I pulled into in the middle lane. Well, I’d be dead, and so would they, and quite possibly a number of others would be dead or injured. The idiot who pulled out would probably be alive and unaware of having caused so much damage. There are so many illegal immigrant workers down here without licenses and insurance. I’m not one of those who thinks they are stealing American workers jobs (See Isaac's Political Journal). However, I wonder if I wasn’t almost eliminated by one.

Be that as it may, I’ll report on the meeting at Compass later, Dear Journal. Meanwhile, here’s another picture from the beach the other day.

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April 05, 2006

I Bought a 2 Bedroom Condominium in South Florida!
Ruth is really upset. Our telephone conversation last night sounded something like…


“Yes, daughter.”

“Why did you buy it?”

“Because it’s warmer here than there.”


“But me no buts.”

“It’s so expensive.”

“It’s my money. Why not spend it.”

“You’re not being financially responsible. You need enough money to earn interest in order to live.”

“I still do. I have my social security too. It’s just barely enough, but it will work, and I can’t take it with me when I go.”

“But, you’re twelve hundred miles from family and friends.”

“Ruth, family and friends can come visit me here. I’ll have an extra bedroom, and a hide-a-bed couch in the living room.”

“Daddy, it’s crazy. Spending all that money so you can live there in that heat and humidity with all those bugs.”

“So far the weather has been delightful, and I’ve not seen many bugs.”

“It’s Winter!”

“No, it’s Spring.”

“Damn, Daddy! Stop it.”


“I could probably have you declared incompetent.”

“Not an easy thing to do.”

“What doctor wouldn’t say you were crazy at age 86 running off to Florida and buying a condominium.”

“That’s an ageist statement, and your doctor would be ageist also.”

“This is ridiculous. I’m going to call Adam. He’s the only one of us you listen to. Perhaps he can talk some sense into you.” (Adam’s my grandson.)

“He’ll be on my side.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Adam understands that I’m still capable of being a fully functioning person.”

“For how long, Daddy?”

“For however long I’ve got.”

“What happens if, God forbid, you become really ill?”

“I’ll worry about that if and when I must.”

“No, Daddy. You’ll be too sick. I’ll end up with it. I’ll have to bring you back here. Put you on waiting lists. Keep you…”

I cut her off. “Ruth, I’ll not have you spoil this.

There was a click at the other end as Ruth hung-up. I was shaking with frustration. I don’t like to argue with my daughter, but we often end up doing just that.

I should have been happy with my new condo unit, instead I was upset and worried.

I will look for a retirement community down here. I’ll check out waiting lists, sometimes you must wait years, and perhaps there will be something I can afford. But, I don’t want to give up my new place. I'm just a crazed old foil man!

Am I actually crazy as Ruth implied, Dear Journal?

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April 02, 2006

Beautiful Day in Paradise - Check out Flicker Photos

I went to the beach immediately behind Juno’s Town Center the other day. I parked my car in a little coconut palm lined parking lot between two rows of small condominium units, probably rentals. I got my beach towel from the back of my trusty Saturn Vue, Ms. Saturna Alia, walked down a brick sidewalk listening to the palm fronds click together in the lambent breeze and watched puffy white cumulous clouds scud across the sky. They seemed low enough to reach up and touch. There is a long sidewalk that climbs a sandy slope with a small roofed wooden copula at the top. As I slowly made my way up the walk, the aqua colored water of the Atlantic came into view. It was lit from within by reflections from the sandy bottom below and glowing beneath a brilliant blue sky, not at all like the brown-green water of the mid-Atlantic States that I’m use to. I stood at the top of the rise, panting a bit and marveled at the curve of the beach and waves gently breaking at its edge. It was like a huge glowing calm lake.

Then I continued slowly down the sloping sand to waters edge, sat there and removed my sandals. At my age it isn’t easy to stand from a sitting position in which your butt is level with your feet, but I tuned over onto my knees. I put one leg out so that it was bent ninety degrees at the knee and pushed slowly with it and my hands to a bent-over standing position, and righted myself. It made my knee and my back hurt, but I survived. I walked leisurely toward the South through the gentle wash of the waves for about a half-mile until I came upon the rocks in the picture I’ve posted with this entry, Dear Journal. It was such a magnificent spot that I spread my towel there and sat for about an hour watching the waves glitter and splash in the crystalline sunlight. All of the difficulties and pain of this world were shoved aside. I sat beside them and I was filled with peace as I looked toward the blue horizon.

I thanked God for my continued health. At 86 years I am fortunate to be able to see such wondrous things. Most of my contemporaries are gone or they are too weak and / or ill to do what I am doing. I prayed that the creator would someday allow science to help all people everywhere to live long and well enough to know themselves so thoroughly that they might be able to look out lovingly at the world, through the eyes of God, as I had been privileged to do that day.

P.S. Don't forget to check my political blog.

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April 01, 2006

See New Post in Political Journal