It all began last October when my husband, my daughter, and I realized that within the next month, we would all be reaching the next new decade in our lives.   

We decided to throw a big party and invite family and friends to help us celebrate.  We soon realized that it would be difficult to pin anyone down for a birthday party when the holiday season was just weeks away.  Though a bit disappointed, we understood how hectic it is during November and December.

My daughter came up with the idea that we should take a vacation mid-winter to celebrate all our birthdays.
My husband and I and my daughter and her husband arrived in the Bahamas during the first week of February.  We had never been there and were immediately amazed at its beauty and the friendliness of its people.  

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During our first day at the pool, which was surrounded by lush palm trees and flowered bushes, I was talking to my daughter, when behind her I spotted several flamingos passing by.  Speechless, I began pointing, and  although my mouth was agape, nothing came out.  And, just like that, they were gone.  I was grateful that my daughter had caught sight of the back end of the last one in the group.  Later, while in the pool, I was telling some people about my sighting, and they said that each day at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. the flamingo-keepers have a parade and walk the baby flamingos around the grounds.  As they travel, people join in and walk among and behind the birds.  What fun!  I was also told that the adult flamingos live within a white picket fence a short walk from the pool.

After lazing at the pool for a few hours, my daughter and I decided to find the birds.  We didn’t have to go far before a white picket fence appeared and wading in a small pond were about two dozen of the most glorious looking creatures I had ever seen.
The babies we had seen in the parade were brown/tan in color, but these beauties were a stunning salmon/pink.  I was in love.  I stood there and watched as they moved their slender legs back and forth, allowing their webbed feet  to search for algae below the water.  Their s-shaped necks looked like velvet.  I was obsessed.  I began snapping pictures and taking videos.  Occasionally, one would stretch its wings, showing off a five foot wing span and black under-feathers.

I admit to chuckling whenever I see plastic flamingos on someone’s lawn.  It seems so silly to me; but now I was seriously considering searching the internet to see where I could purchase a few.

My husband, who has never said no to me in forty-two years of marriage, told me in no uncertain terms that he absolutely forbade me to put plastic flamingos on our lawn in Somers.  

“Ok, ok, then just let me stand here and watch them and don’t speak.  I want to concentrate fully on these amazing avifauna,” I said with a smirk.

I spotted the “keeper of the flamingos” standing nearby and struck up a conversation.  I asked where the birds were housed at night and was told that they remain in their pond within the picket fence and usually sleep standing up.

“Oh, that’s amazing.  I never heard anything like that,” I gushed.

I began realizing that I sounded like a six-year-old learning new and exciting things.  Was I embarrassing myself or did everyone act like this at the sight of these flamingos?  I’ve lived a pretty full life and nothing really surprises me anymore, but I was definitely taken by these gorgeous birds in their stunning environment.

I asked whether the flamingo-keeper was afraid someone may harm them during the night and received the simple answer of, “No.”  I guess I’ve lived in New York for too long.  This truly must be paradise.

I was told that when the adult flamingos stretch their necks, they can reach heights of four to six feet, and that they are the National bird of the Bahamas.  They can live to be up to sixty years old.

Each day between swimming, sunning and eating, I visited the flamingos and watched as they lived their beautiful, peaceful lives in paradise.

I realize that I may sound like a child who just entered their first candy store, but this was the first time I had visited the Bahamas and the first time I had seen a  real flamingo, and I hope it will not be my last.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to check the internet for plastic lawn flamingos!

Contact Jo Ann at joannfrancella@aol.com