Southland Sunday

Actually, we’re entirely in the wrong end of Florida for it to be the Southland any more. The most common accent you hear around here is New York, followed by Joisey and Bawston. In the Panhandle or around Lakeland, we sometimes need the bailiff to step out and fetch the New Hampshire Turkey Herder interpreter, because the noises the locals make are clearly an attempt at communication, but are unintelligible.

Conversely, in Palm Beach County, home of the hanging chad — fifteen years ago, now, the Sore Loserman election — you might as well be in Rego Park in 1965, because it’s all the same people. That’s OK by us. Like people everywhere, nine-tenths of them are OK and the other ten percent is gonna wind up on TV sooner or later.

Usually, doing the perp walk.

So what do we like about Florida?

Well, the weather, for one thing. When we think of New England weather at this time of year — even though we’ve been having an unusually mild autumn, more like an extended Indian summer — our overall impression is one of bleakness. In high school we were made to read a dreadful novel, “a classic of New England,” said the teacher, by somebody Forbes (Esther, maybe?). The book was called Ethan Frome and its climactic events took place during a wild, plunging sleigh ride. It radiated an overall sense of bleakness and depression, and we recall thinking, “If this is what every other poor bastard in high school is being made to read, the impression that New England is a horrible, austere, bleak place who deserve a violent sleigh crash at minimum will be universal in the nation.” New England winters are beastly, bleak, and about February, interminable — like Ethan Frome — and that must generally be endured to the end — again, like Ethan Frome. They are proof that mankind has extended his dominion far beyond the latitudes that humans thrive in.

Florida, conversely, is an environment that humans thrive in. Of course, there is nothing natural about it. Before vaccination, antibiotics, drainage, and mosquito control, it had a reputation for being “deadly for the White Man.” Which just goes to show how the ethnocentric chroniclers of old didn’t take the suffering of the Red Man seriously, because the Seminoles suffered under all those same problems, plus an invasion of illegal immigrants bent on replacing them. Maybe that’s why the Seminoles were our toughest Indian nut to crack; they went down, but they went down fighting, and they, and the bugs of Florida in millimeter, micro, and nano-scale, made the Seminole Wars America’s costliest Indian Wars.

So we also love the history of Florida, so different from that of our native New England, and so similar. The Floridian driving from condo to Wal-Mart to chain restaurant doesn’t know that he’s driving on ground fought over in the 19th Century, which is kind of funny, because back home hardly anyone knows that some of the prominent features in town were named for 17th Century Indian fights.

Nowadays, the Seminoles, in what has become Indian custom, have partnered with “gaming interests” (think, Don Vito) and run casinos, and are proud to have their tribal name associated with sports teams,especially when there’s a license payment involved. Twenty years ago, they had a chief who liked to fly and he got the tribe building airplanes. The venture failed but the airplanes they built were extremely good; their product was called the Micco SP26, and it’s just a fantastic airplane and the owners tend to hold tight to them. People out there keep track of which Micco owners are over eighty and have google alerts set in a ghoulish obituary watch. You think of American Indians, and you don’t immediately think, “building superior light aircraft,” but there you go.

The “Indians” in New England “resurfaced” from tribes wiped out in King Philip’s War, and end to have rather more Sicilian ancestry than Native American. So we like Florida for its Indians who are real by-god Indians, thank you very much. Stick to the coasts and you won’t meet that many, but they’re still here and they’re good people.

We love Florida also because it has sensible, which is to say few, gun laws. Our first ever visit to a well-stocked Class III dealer took place in St Augustine, and the guys there showed a couple of little kids (Your Humble Blogger may have been 13, and he’s the elder Rong Brother), outcrops of history and, to us, beauty: Maxims and BARs and OSS clandestine weapons and a Hi-Power with a shoulder stock. That was in the 1970s, when the hard part of buying some of these things was swinging the transfer tax ($200). The advent of NH->FL nonstops means that we don’t have to maintain two sets of carry guns.

But the primary reason we come to Florida is for family. In a perfect world, and if we were granted perfection, it would be the primary reason we did many things.

21 thoughts on “Southland Sunday

  1. Roger

    I fled the Peoples Republik of New Jersistan 15 years ago for no snow, no ice, (unless it is in a cooler full of beer) and sane firearm laws. God Bless the Gunshine state of Florida!

  2. JD

    Sounds like you’re in the part of the State we refer to as Yankee Occupied Florida. As a native panhandler relocated to the First Coast, enjoy your visit.

  3. Greg

    I used to lust after a SP26. Pity they quit making them. Not a fan of the Sunshine State though. Flat, humid, way too many bugs and old people. Too many crazy ones these day too but I understand about the WX. Was born and raised in Plymouth (ugh, is it time for that holiday again?) where the coast kept winters almost bearable but still not enough to keep me there.

  4. medic09

    Once again, you taught me something. I didn’t know anything about the Seminoles building aircraft.

    Enjoy your time with family there. My older sister just got a place there. She says its near a golf course for my BIL; but isn’t that like saying ‘near water’ in Florida? So maybe I’ll have to learn to like FL for visits.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Pretty much. Imagine AZ, complete with confused old people in Benzes driving for miles in the left lane at 53 mph with their left blinker on. Except wet. And yeah, I am typing this in one of three planned golf communities that are bing, bing, bing along Alt A1A (commercial/residential main drag) here. Every home has a small two-car garage and most of them have a third garagelet for the golf cart.

      The Blogfather has taken the cart to attend the private celebration of life of one of his golf buddies who was golfing this summer but passed away this month. He was an original member of the 10th Mountain Division, and was, I believe, 97. I think he stopped downhill skiing at 93! (The decedent, not the old man).

  5. BAP

    We seem to have had very different experiences with FL. These days when I see a customer with a FL code I let out a groan. Haha

  6. Wes

    Likewise enjoyed & learned from the SP26 mention, which led down a fun rabbit-hole. Whew, that thing looks nimble just parked; pretty much says “fun” all over it. I actually like that they included the option for more gar-bahj along (like strap-hangers), or just solo it up with a big fuel load and go for a long ways. Always the normal useful load tradeoffs but offering 96 gallons possible was a nice touch.

  7. Cap'n Mike

    I have at least a decade to go before I can retire out of the Peoples Republic of Masshole land, but maybe NH in the summer and FL in the winter should be my plan.

    Funny story about the Nuvo Natives here in Mass.
    I was at Plimouth Plantation with my sons cub scout troop, listening to a talk by a woman who had recently discovered her Wampanoag heritage. She explained that her tribes language had no word for “War” until white Europeans arrived.

    I asked her what they had called it when her tribe had a disagreement with another tribe and both tribes started killing each other.

    The silence was deafening and the angry look she gave me priceless.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Didn’t you get the memo, Mike? “Primitive neolithic tribesmen lived in perfect harmony with each other and nature, as depicted in the documentaries produced by the Walt Disney Corporation!” Original sin was the burning of coal and oil and creation of the world’s first carbon footprint. (The “burn” in “slash-and-burn agriculture” doesn’t count).

    2. Mike_C

      Haha!
      >her tribe’s language had no word for “War” until white Europeans arrived
      And the evil trend of European, and generally Western, civilization toward introducing new words and concepts to charmingly unspoiled cultures continues to this very day. Off the top of my head: germ theory of disease, antibiotics, anesthesia; Euclidian geometry, differential calculus, group theory; mechanics, thermodynamics, general and special relativity; transistor, microprocessor; radio, television, geosynchronous satellite, GPS. And I won’t even get into the political concepts.

      Aaagh! Stop oppressing me with a higher quality of life and greater individual liberty for the average person than the world has ever known.

  8. SemperFido

    Air conditioning. You forgot that one. I live down here and it is great. I do miss the winter blizzards from North Indiana but the wife is from Californyastan and isn’t fond of cold. Hey Hog! It is rifle season down here until Jan 7!!!!! Two months for deer and pig. That alone beats up North by a mile.

  9. drjim

    I haven’t been to Florida since about 1970 at spring break!

    The wife and I are planning on fkeeing The People’s Demokratic Republik of Kaliforniastan in about 18 months, when she retires.

    We’ll be heading to a slightly more free state, Colorado, in an attempt to help the locals push back the libtard invasion!

  10. Alan Ward

    Oh you poor babies, winter too long for you! Try living at 55*N for a while. We have only three seasons winter, runoff then pothole repair. On the positive side, the cold in November kills off all the bugs so that when the temperature hits a rousing 2C (35F for you imperial system heathens) we can put on our shorts with no fear of getting West Nile Virus.
    When my wife and I visited our daughter in New Zealand last summer, everybody kept apologizing for the terrible weather they were having ( 50-66F), as they huddled in their coats while we sauntered around in shorts and t-shirts.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I am reminded of what a Norwegian counterpart said, “Here in Harstad we have two seasons, nine months of winter and three months of lousy skiing.” (It’s one fjord south of Narvik of WWII notoriety).

      But just think of how forward-looking you’ll have turned out to be when Global Warming reroutes the Tropic of Cancer through your town center (centre to you Canuckistanis). Hey, our President says that that threat is real, and Islamic terrorism isn’t, so who am I to disagree?

      1. Alan Ward

        Well considering that the lower quarter of our province is considered a desert based on precipitation levels despite getting a foot of snow over four months most years, I’m not sure that global warming will do much for us. Our new NDP ( think Bernie Sanders democrats) just came out with an anti global warming plan that should F¥€K us completely.

  11. robroysimmons

    In Moosejaw Canada they only have two months of bad ice, or so I heard on a hockey night broadcast.

  12. Docduracoat

    The invention of air conditioning is what made it possible for the white man to live here in South Florida.
    Florida has a law that you can shoot on your own property and no government can stop you, even if it is in a city.
    Although we are indeed a gun friendly state, there are no areas in south Florida where it is legal to ” plink ” in the country.
    You have to drive quite a distance just to find an outdoor range.
    Markham Park and Trail Glades have extremely restrictive rules, that make it unpleasant to shoot there. Both only go out to 100 yards.
    The Palm Beach Sherriffs’ range is only open 1 or 2 weekends per month.
    At least it goes out to 200 yards one day a month.
    Other than that you have to drive all the way to Lake Okeechobee where Okeechobee Shooting Sports allows rapid fire, tannerite, and long range shooting to 500 yards.
    Other than those 4, you need to know someone with private property in order to shoot outdoors.
    Florida is a great state to live in.

  13. Tennessee Budd

    Different strokes, etc.
    I was stationed in Jax (Cecil Field) & didn’t much care for it. Not so much FL as South Georgia. I wrote the whole state off when I left. 10 years later, I met a gal from Lakeland. I really love Central Florida–not Lakeland itself, ’cause I hate cities, but the country is nice.

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