Florida Thoughts

It was 36 below zero this morning.. just another chilly day in the state of FROZEN. If you are dressed in layers, and resemble a polar bear..you will survive. Have you ever been so cold that your tears freeze on your face, so cold that you can’t feel your fingers anymore, and your feet feel like chunks of wood, heavy and cumbersome? You shiver, but shivering is good because because it generates heat. When you are so cold that you stop shivering..you have a big problem. If you look all glamorous in a skirt and some fancy boots with heels you are gonna be sorry if you car stalls today. Luckily anyone that lives in Minnesota will have a heart today..and stop for your sorry frozen butt.

Ah Florida..how I miss your oranges…and your warmth. Far Guy was stationed at MacDill AFB back in 1973, MacDill is in Tampa..we spent a fair amount of time at Clearwater Beach. Disney World had recently opened..we made trips over there to Orlando when we could afford it. I worked at the Base Day Care Center usually in the toddler room..children aged 2 to 5…sometimes I also worked in the Nursery..lotza babies. Trica was just little..she was one. It was cheaper for me to hire a nanny to take care of her..so I did. A young gal and her husband Frankie who was an Air Force Fire Fighter lived across the street from us, her name was Kathy and she was from Tennessee. She was a wonderful mentor..and taught this northern gal all about preparing for hurricanes. They had a little girl almost the same age as Trica ..her name was Tina..Trica called her Tee Wee. Kathy would tote the two little girls around..her husband worked 24 on and 24 off so on days when he was home sleeping she would camp out at our place..she also took care of our dog "Snuffer" and the four little pups that appreared after a secret rendevous with a neighbor dog..must have been a quickie.

Trica named those pups.. Flower who she called Flowie, Blackie, Brownie and Fatty. She was just little, I thought she did wonderful with the original names! Flowie and Fatty went to homes with children, they were raised under my gentle hand..but also with the hugs and kisses of a one year old..so they were not afraid of children. Blackie became "Baby Snuffer" and when she was old enough to be put on an airplane she made the trip to Louisville and became Far Guys Sisters dog. She was a marvelous little pup and looked exactly like Toto in the Wizard of Oz.. she lived a long and pampered life in Indiana. Far Guy gave away Brownie one day when I was at work. He just knew I was going to keep that pup for myself. Wouldn’t you know it..an elderly gentleman just happened to come by one afternoon and he was lonely after his old faithful dog died. Well..it was a good sob story..but it didn’t stop me from bawling, and I was pretty ticked off too.

I went to work in Florida because we bought a new car a 1973 Gremlin..white..but we couldn’t go very far..because there was a gas shortage that year. The rest of the country may have been fine..but I waited in line that year (winter of 1974) for gas..sometimes for hours. The car payment was sixty dollars a month. Not much by today’s standards..but back then it was quite a chunk of change.

This was taken in June of 1973, at my parents farm in front of the picture tree.  We were on leave inbetween Lowry AFB and MacDill AFB. 

Florida was better than Germany..that was where he was supposed to go..back then you could trade assignments…within your specialty..remember me telling you how brilliant the Armed Services are..and remember they would have issued my husband a wife, child and dog if they had wanted him to have them. Germany..and yes we could go..but we would have to pay for it ourselves..I would have to live someplace and save up for the trip..the dog would have had to go into quarantine for six months ..Far Guy traded with a friend who was single he wanted to go overseas but he got MacDill. ( The powers that be are all idiots! ) The next day we could have had Mountain Home, Idaho and 100 dollars.. life is just not fair sometimes. But Florida was better than Germany..but not as much fun as Mountain Home. We loved the mountains when we were stationed in Colorado.

Far Guy took part in a program called Palace Chase..it took active duty people and put them in The Air National Guard for a six year commitment.. so he joined up and picked Hector Field in Fargo, ND as his base. Thus began a career that spanned twenty six years (1972 to 1998) . In essence I was a single parent..never knowing where he was going or when he would be back. Every chance I got, the girls and I would go south to Florida or Mississippi where he was TDY( temporary duty).

When Far Guy was retired from The Air Guard in 1998, we began building here where we live now. We had to clear the land of trees and carve out a spot for the Greenhouse business..we bought a camper..let me tell you living in a camper in Minnesota really sucks in the winter..we escaped to Florida (Tyndall AFB, Panama City Florida with twelve miles of private beach) for the worst months.. Far Guy absolutely hated being in Florida..I absolutely loved it.. we made a deal..we would build a small tiny little house and we would live six months in Minnesota and six months in Florida..it was a great plan..except we built a much larger house than we needed in Minnesota..so we are stuck here.. actually Far Guy said that I could go to Florida anytime I want..but I wouldn’t leave him behind..or would I? Mornings like this make me wonder:)

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6 Responses to Florida Thoughts

  1. buffalogal says:

    Love the pictures from the early 70’s….I had those short skirts too (you have great legs) and I think I did have great legs back then also!!! What has happened? My mother’s legs have attached themselves to mine!
    I also remember the gas shortage and the stinking lines to get gas. Somehow we all made it through those times but it was not fun, was it?
    I love “the picture tree”….we use our row of blue spruces for our picture trees!!!!

  2. dumbo says:

    I remember the gas shortage. I don’t remember ever having to wait to put gas in the car, but the airplane was a different story. We could only by 15 gallons of gas a day (home base). So if you needed more than 15 gallons when you got home, you had them put 15 gallons into the plane. Then call them the next day and finish filling the tanks (it only held 36 gallons and I wasn’t tempted to get into the last 6 gallons).

  3. TechnoBabe says:

    I have known so many couples who have made a deal like that, and usually one of them eventually does not like the original agreement because they don’t like the other place. Your house looks great in the pictures but of course this time of year it is nothing like Florida. These are really great photos and you told more of your story here.

  4. PrairieWoman says:

    Great photos and memories. My niece was stationed in Mountain Home and she loved it there.

    I don’t remember Florida, but my Mom has always said she should’ve stayed there instead of coming back to North Dakota. Can’t really argue with that when it’s -30+ degrees outside.

  5. Ms. C says:

    Far Side ~ I love the insight into your life. What a cute couple you were! I guess I am dating myself by knowing about both the gas shortage and Gremlins – oh my! So glad you settled here – what would it be like without your wisdom on Area voices…I cannot imagine.


  6. abra la mente says:

    I loved hearing about some of your “service time.” I do believe ity is the whole family that serves. I am glad you are here, and even though you don’t like the cold, Florida is a nice place to visit, but can be as equally dismal in the heat of summer–yuk! Like madamgovnr, I too remember gas lines & Gremlins–loved those cars!

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