Never Never in the Everglades Feb. 2017

We decided to escape our Chicago winter by flying to Miami FL to visit friends and see sites,  but how ironic that winter in Chicago turned into spring with temperatures close to 70. Nevertheless,  here we were in the land of sun, flowers and yes alligators. We took a gorgeous hike through Fairchild Botanical Gardens where streams gleamed and pink, red and purple flowers adorned the paths. But now Larry was ready for something meatier or should I say downright scary—-a hike in the FL Everglades. As we walked along the boardwalk, we were greeting by large, healthy alligators enjoying a sun bathe in the river below. I had never in my life been that close to them.

Everglades in FL Feb. 2017



Larry soon returned with our hiking information, and a large burly man handed each of us a long thick stick. I wondered why we would need one for the boardwalk hike. But he pointed across the street where our hike was to begin. Just like Ruth and Naomi in the Bible, I followed not Naomi but my man remembering the line—-“Wherever you go; I will go.” But wait— it’s not a boardwalk but the beginning of a narrow path on very soggy mud.  “Yeaks,”  I thought. How am going to keep my tennis shoes clean here? “Where are you taking me?” I shouted as the path got progressively muddier and the stick stuck deeper.  Yellow flowers lifted their ominous heads mocking me. “Come on,” said Larry who was quite a bit ahead of me.  “Quit your whining.” Now I have followed Larry through caves, up mountains and down steep ski hills. But soon the mud turned into a stream and my imagination went viral while slouching through yet deeper, muddier water.  Now those big, huge alligators were napping across the street. What could possibly keep their cousins from habituating here?—-and, how about their relatives the snakes and lizards.  A childhood song came to mind. I’ve been eaten by a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor! Oh no, it’s up to my toe; oh geez, it’s up to my knee; oh heck. I wasn’t going to let it get up to my neck. I yelled out. “Larry, I can’t do this. I’m going back.”  I headed toward the sound of the traffic but I  with my sense of direction I was afraid I’d get lost.  I called for Larry again—  now pleading. After sometime, he appeared wet up to his thighs. “If I had followed you, I’d be swimming in the muck with baby reptiles and who knows what else,” I said.  I happily returned my thick muddy stick to the ranger who was impressed that as first timers in the Glades we had even considered this arduous, insane hike. We gave ourselves and our shoes a hosing off and made our way back to civilized Miami. Now Ruth may have followed her Naomi. But I’ll think twice about following Larry and of course–Never, Never in the Everglades

A Witches’ Brew for a Tasty Fight


I am one of those people who loves mornings. I’m looking out the window as the morning wakes up. We have a dusting of snow and a pink horizon with a canopy of purple blue sky. The days are getting longer but the squirrels are not yet scampering up and down the trees in their game of hide and seek. My heart is full of love for my Lord and for my life as I greet another day of promise.

I am happy for so many things—-a warm house, a neighborhood of friendly people and a husband who loves and understands me. Over our long marriage, we have learned the secret of being patient and forgiving regardless of life’s road blocks.

That evening, we quit our jobs around the house to prepare for a volunteer dinner at Brave Heart in Popular Grove which is near Harvard. Larry began volunteering at this therapeutic horse farm to help Veterans suffering with PSD and people with special needs. Larry looked handsome in his cowboy hat and boots. I wiggled into my stylish boots straining to pull up the zipper over my ample calves. I felt good in my new green sweater, a Christmas gift from my daughter, and a new sparkling necklace from my South Korean friend. With excitement, we took off for our long journey through scenic farm land.

After over an hour trip, we arrived at our destination only to find the parking lot empty. Something was not right. We figured the dinner was at another site but Larry did not have his phone with him for contacts. From Popular Grove, we went back to Brave Heart’s other site in Harvard and found out the dinner was February 18th. So here we were in Harvard on a Saturday night in January having wasted our time and gas money. It could have been a witches’ brew for a tasty fight but instead of quoting Macbeth’s “Double, double toil and trouble” we vowed to do better.

In the past, I would have said,” Why didn’t you put the date in your cell phone, and why do you insist on never having it with you when you need it? Why do you even have a cell phone? We could have had a really nice Saturday night. But here we are in the middle of nowhere land.” He would retaliate with,” Stop ragging on me, Miss Perfect.” When was the last time you made a mistake? His voice would get louder while pointing his finger. I would begin crying and say, “Just take me home,” and we would drive home in silence.

But after a marriage of more than 40 years, we have finally learned grace. Instead of ragging on one another, we talked about what we should do next.  The night was still relatively young.

The Bensons had called us earlier inviting us for dinner but we declined because of the volunteer dinner. I called Carol and she had a hearty laugh about our dilemma. We’ve all been there at one time or another. We decided to pick up pizzas and get together at their home in Palatine, another 25 minutes East from us.  We went all around the world but ended up having a delightful evening together. I slept well that evening until I woke up to the sound of racoons racing over our roof—–so glad they weren’t in our attic—but that’s another story.

Lessons learned

  1. Check your calendar thoroughly for events
  2. Bring your cell phone.
  3. Forgive one another. We all make mistakes
  4. Salvage your day in some way.
  5. Turn lemons into lemonade.


Now, what’s your story?