—-J. k. Simmons
Thanksgiving is sadly in the rear view mirror as everyone prepares for the December holidays. During most years the week of Thanksgiving is my favorite week of the year. Son Michael comes for an amazing ten days and we re-explore all of the fun that South Florida has to offer. If you are planning a trip to my neck of the woods this winter, you shouldn’t miss Morikami Japanese gardens and Lion Country Safari.
Morikami offers about a one mile walk through the most beautifully manicured landscape you will ever experience. The hike is punctuated with waterfalls, peaceful zen gardens, several museums and a much loved Japanese restaurant. Tourists and locals alike explore the area in a respectful manner. Rarely do you see a person on a cell phone or a person littering, and the children seem to realize that this is a place for their inside voices.
Lion Country Safari, on the other hand, is a child’s fantasy. The first part is a slow drive ( (approximately 45-70 minutes) through the various African habitats that house an amazing collection of freely roaming animals. From zebras and wildebeest to rhinos the animals graze and wander about with no fear. The antelopes frolic in large herds and the lions (the only truly gated animals) are given lots of room to roam but generally prefer sunning themselves as cars drive by.
When the drive is over their is a walking area with miniature golf, boat rides, a small water park, giraffe feeding and smaller animals on display. The gift shop and restaurant help keep the kids satisfied, and rarely do you see an unhappy child. Although Lion Country is definitely child oriented, adults love it too. Arthur and I get yearly passes and drive through every few months. It is so much better then a zoo...no cages and much larger groups of the animals that live there.
This was a bittersweet Thanksgiving for our family. My dad, 95 years old and quite ill, died on November 22. He was a very vibrant senior citizen for most of his later life, taking full advantage of the activities offered to him in his senior life care community, but the last few months have been rough. Although his death was not a surprise, it is never easy to lose a parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, or friend, and his empty seat at Thanksgiving made it a difficult day. It would be nice to believe that he spent the day with my mom after being apart for seven years, but he was missed here.
That is why J. K. Simmons’ quote had a great deal of meaning for me this week. I can’t tell you how many times over the last few weeks I went to call my dad to check on him before remembering he was gone . Even though we talked almost every day, I still think of the days I skipped calling and wish I had them back. Our lives are busy, and it is easy to put off those phone calls or visits to those we love, because we believe there will always be another day. Forget any grudges or annoyances and enjoy your loved ones while you can. The holiday season is a great time to connect or reconnect.
It is also a great time to read. Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page. I highly recommend it as a gift for a friend or for yourself.
As always, a complete review of this book follows my blog.