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Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Morning Musings-The wedding's just 76 hours away, and my mind is starting to get a bit numb with all the little details that have yet to be done, like set up the church (upstairs for the wedding proper and downstairs for the reception) and get Eileen and I packed up for the move down to Florida. I was out running errands yesterday, heading over to Saginaw and using some good county roads to get around a detour. There was a half-dozen trucks on the side of the road as workers were out in a particular field. A few of the trucks had Florida license plates, which didn't hit me for a moment, since I've grown accustomed to seeing them, being a new resident of Florida. After a couple of seconds, it dawned on me; these guys were likely migrant workers coming up here to work for the summer. That's one of the surprising demographics of central Florida, especially Polk County. There is a large Mexican community, drawn originally as migrant laborers working on the citrus groves in the area. When most of us think Florida and Hispanic, you think Cuban, not Mexican; not so in this part of the state. The local generic-food store has a big rack of masa (tortilla) flour, and the Super Wal-Mart in Lake Wales has a big Mexican section, complete with Spanish-language magazines on the aisle ends. Rifle Range Road on the south side of Winter Haven looks like it could be on the south side of San Antonio, with its big Mexican feel. On a lighter note-You know you've been in Florida too long when ...
You see shuffleboard pointers in the newspaper Palm trees don't look weird. Hurricane evacuation signs aren't weird. You can give the weather forecast without looking-High of 90±2, Low of 72±2, 40% Chance of afternoon thunderstorms. You can drive through Yeehaw Junction without affecting a down-home accent. You are no longer freaked out by Miami or Tampa signs on the freeway. You wish you were 55-it would improve your housing options. You catch yourself when you say "when I lived down in Ohio."
Let me get my tongue out of my cheek and add that it is a nice place to live, and will be even better when winter comes and Midland has a foot of snow on the ground. I hated it when my Grandpa Byron would snowbird near Fort Myers and call up to ask "How's the weather" as an excuse for bragging about going golfing that morning while we had negative wind-chill factors. Not its my turn to be tempted to fall into weather schadenfreude. .

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