Friday, February 16, 2018

My neighbours and other animals

Dunedin, FL – Last Saturday, John and Fawn’s neighbours threw a brunch party for everyone on the street, to which we were also invited. Lawn chairs and tables were set out on people’s front lawns and on the street, and everybody brought a little something to round out the French toast, bacon and sausages that were the main part of the meal. A gorgeous spread of fruit salads, homemade cinnamon buns, golden baked eggs and real maple syrup from Canada – John and Fawn’s contribution – tickled our taste buds as we lined up to load our plates.

When most of us had eaten, the fun began. At one end of the street, they’d set up a game of cornhole (we’d call it bean toss – aiming bean bags at a board with a hole in it), and at the other was a giant Jenga game, with stacked wooden blocks that stood about four feet high. People took turns trying to extract a block from lower parts of the structure and placing it on top without making the whole thing tumble down. Great rounds of applause greeted every successful placement. It was lots of fun!

The RV park is home to several hundred residents of all ages – but mostly retired folks like us – and a considerable number of dogs and cats who keep their owners in reasonable shape on daily walks. When Anna visited John and Fawn one evening, she brought her furry companion, who fell completely head-over-heels in love with Val. Who wouldn’t, when gentle hands were so willing to provide a tummy rub?

There are other creatures who call the park home as well. One is a lonely egret, with long legs, sleek white feathers and a long pointed beak, which has adopted a plastic bird of the same species as its best friend. The plastic egret bobs back and forth on its pedestal, planted next to its owner’s trailer, and the real bird stands nearby in rapt admiration. It’s quite a sight!

The other day we caught sight of a healthy-sized box turtle by the roadside. When I got closer to snap a picture, it waddled away and then stopped. Slowly, its feet and head retracted into its deep green shell and it waited until I left it in peace!

Now that the weather has finally warmed up a bit, the frogs have been giving us a nightly concert. When night falls, a trilling chorus begins, and hardly ever lets up! In the daytime, we often catch sight of tiny, nimble geckoes that dart out of sight the minute you get too close.

Of course, we know about the rattlesnakes that inhabit the area, so whenever we bike over to John and Fawn’s after dark, we make sure to light our way with a flashlight. One encounter was more than enough!

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