Shortly after the New Year, I headed to Florida for two weeks to visit with Matt and Helen. Get this:  Kala and Trevor had come in from Oregon, and Matt, Jr. and his lovely, Anna, were down from New York.  The walls were going to burst with all of us under the same roof!

My flight from Westchester was delayed one hour—arrived in Fort Lauderdale after 11:00 pm.  Matt, Jr. was there and we started “catching up”on the way home.

“Wait until you see the new kittens, Grandmopps, they are all over the place and adorable.”   

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Just a reminder:  the animal population in this home of love and caring includes resident doggies, Doak and Bruce Wayne; Ed, senior feline king of the hill, and sweet kittens Missy and Nia.  Having guided Bonnie over the Rainbow Bridge the week before, these sweet and cuddly pets were just what I needed.  They seemed to sense my feeling of sadness. While sitting in the recliner, both Missy and Nia would curl up and sleep in my lap.  Doak and Bruce Wayne would be by my feet.  I worried that one of the kittens would stow away in my suitcase and come home with me! 

My favorite “family activity” was sitting on the front porch in the evening with a bright fire going in the fire pit and feeling the love and contentment of a family being together.  Matt had some pine branches cut from their tree and when added to the fire, the aroma made it Christmas all over again!

Brave ole me rented a car and drove 3 ? hours up Alligator Alley to Sarasota to visit my dear friend, Jane.  We had lots to catch up on while we feasted on wonderful goodies—Jane is a true gourmet cook and hostess extraordinaire.  We took a ride to Marina

Jack’s for a drink, to listen to some lively music and get a look at the over-the-top yachts that were berthed at the Marina.

Having never spotted a ‘gator in past trips, I asked Matt if they really existed near this Alley.

“Oh, yes, Mammy.  Just put your toes in one of those many ponds and you’ll see first hand—or foot.  Remember, you are traveling through the Everglades.”

So went my time in Florida.  The weather was warm and breezy with a rain shower here and there—just perfect.  However, as we sat at the gate waiting to move out and return home, the Captain informed us that there would be turbulence as we approached White Plains caused by heavy winds and that the temperature was hovering around 36 degrees.  He wasn’t kidding:  Ascending into White Plains, all I could think was that we were like a basketball bouncing up and down, sideways, and rocking back and forth, an honest-to-goodness white-knuckle flight.  When we landed—smooth, by the way—applause for the Captain and First Officer for a job well done!

Of course, two days later, the snow fell.  Oh, well!

My part-time experience as a Snow Bird was as I had hoped:  catching up on life with family and friends and spending one-on-one time with each; lots of hugs and laughter; great “eats;” an easing of the sadness over Bonnie’s passing, but most of all, the cherished meaning and blessings of family and friends.