Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'm just back to Chicago after 6 days in Florida for my cousin's wedding. She's gorgeous and apple-cheeked, and she and her sweetie live in Ft. Lauderdale, a stone's throw from the neighborhood where both her older sister and brother are raising their respective families. The reception was held at the groom's family's yacht club, which is literally a docking site for the members' giant boats--all starboard and swabbing, the whole nine yards. Photos of local ship captains hang behind the bar, so your eyes just trail from one to another as you're waiting for your gin & tonic. Except for the occasional mustache, I dare you to tell them apart.

Different worlds, but so be it. Live and let live. I certainly had the pleasure of getting all dressed up and dancing with people I haven't seen in 10 years. And I got to escape an especially frigid Chicago winter for almost a week.

On day one I was feeling pretty smug. An arctic chill had settled over most of the rest of the country, but there I was in my swimsuit, catching a little sun and watching boats go by along the Intracoastal.

But by day three I was aching to see my breath again. There's just something not quite right about walking around bare-legged in January.

This got me thinking: vacations are great, but even sweeter is an appreciation for where you've put down roots. Sometimes it borders on breathlessness for me. This hasn't always been the case. Those flights back to Kansas during grad school always carried with them a healthy dose of dread. Where I'd traveled was always slightly better, for me, than what I was about to return to. Not so these days, and that makes me feel like one incredibly lucky duck.

So to Florida I say, bring on the seasons . . .

Trade in your palm trees for pines and barren maples.
Give up your freeways for bike lanes or subways.
Banish those year-round outdoor pools for water that's ice-capped
all winter long.

Holy bejeezus, it's good to be home.

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