We all know that Florida is very friendly toward senior citizens. I believe that seniors make up the bulk of the population here, and many live in over-55 communities.
I am visiting a friend in such a place. Most of the residents hail from the Northeast and Canada. Youngsters are not permitted to visit for more than a few weeks a year. These settlements all have pools, clubhouses and governing bodies. They publish newsletters and have numerous activities including trips, dances and lectures.
Upon arriving at such a community, I must admit that I was overwhelmed with cynicism — feeling that I was on third base, the last stop before home. During a phone conversation with my son, he could sense my feelings and said, “Face it Dad, you fit right in. You’re 70.”
So I decided to make the most of my status and my visit, trying to do something different each day. One day I trekked through a portion of the Everglades estuary system, home to cougars, alligators, raccoons and otters. The birding opportunities were endless.
I went to a Sunday afternoon music and art festival in the Everglades. It was packed with my contemporaries all wearing multicolored shirts and shorts and rocking to the live band banging out a medley of requisite Jimmy Buffet songs. The partying went on from 1 to 5 p.m.
Most restaurants and bars have happy hours with live music. And the Jimmy Buffet songs are ever-present. It’ll be a long time before I want to listen to “Margaritaville” again.
I love the sun, and sunshine is what Florida is all about. Since my arrival in South Florida, temperatures have been in the 80s with only one day of rain. Beaches are beautiful with white sand and the water is clear.
The “early-bird specials,” made fun of in “Seinfeld” episodes, are always a very good deal.
Supermarkets cater to senior needs by having numerous motorized shopping carts and stocking small portions of food products. One supermarket I know even offers valet parking.
Healthcare providers are ubiquitous. You are never very far from specialists of all sorts.
I love cars and always notice what’s on the road and I must say that the Cadillac is still king in Florida. I see more than any other make. Why? Caddy caters to seniors. What other car reminds you to turn off your blinker?
As the guy in the ad on early 60s TV in New York used to say when pitching Florida land, “Come on down.”