April 18, 2015 -- The hoards are gone.  The traffic jams are almost nonexistent.  There’s still plenty of humanity around, but the ridiculous level of overcrowdedness has left southwest Florida and won’t return until the end of the year.

So I left the island for a while yesterday.  Without concern about traffic delays, I found it easier now to plan a trip to the mainland with a sense of vague accuracy about time.  While it is nice to patronize island businesses, in such a small town it is impossible to find everything we need. 

On the mainland, I visited my favorite shoe store, another specialty store, and an outlet store; then it was time to attend the open house at Lee County’s Planned Parenthood clinic.  I served on the advisory panel for this local Planned Parenthood years ago, and I knew that the clinic had undergone a major remodeling.  Yesterday, I was able to see the transformation.

I met a new friend who is in the process of reviving the local chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women).

And I saw old friends from those advisory panel days and from a Fort Myers women’s club.  Those friendly faces, and the sight of an efficient, well-run clinic put me in a good mood.   I then returned to the island just in time for happy hour with my Zonta Club friends at Traders.  Just like the bar in Cheers, Traders is a place where (almost) everybody knows my name.
Grandaughter Sarah paddleboarding off the causeway.

Just crossing the causeway gives me a great sense of “coming home,” but walking into Traders does almost the same.  I took my seat at the table and began a pleasant hour and a half with smart, friendly women.

I only stayed for a drink and left a bit early because I wanted to experience my own cuisine.  I’d made pulled pork, which had been slowly cooking all day.  The occasion was Tom hosting the neighborhood poker game last night.  I arrived at the house in time to have a pulled pork sandwich, wish the arriving poker players “bon appetit,” and retreat into the other half of the house.  The guys like my barbeque, and I appreciate their enthusiasm.

It was a day full of friends, and absent of crowds.  The peace and quiet of hurricane season approaches.


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