OK, it’s time for someone to remind me again how we are living in Paradise down here in Southwest Florida. Because I’m just not getting that vibe lately. Let’s see, in just the last few months the heat index has been over 100 daily. Toxic red tide has polluted the shoreline along the Gulf coast, killing dolphins, hundreds of sea turtles, manatees and millions, yes millions of pounds of fish. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a nasty green algae in the water released from Lake Okeechobee is choking the Caloosahatchee river and the countless canals it feeds. The local TV news is telling us that there may be long term health issues from it.
A couple weeks ago we were taking the dogs for a walk, and 2 feet from the front door was a fat poisonous water moccasin. The dogs saw it before we did. Judi took the dogs down the driveway and I ran back in the house to get a gun. Shot it twice but didn’t kill it. Now,I have heard they are aggressive vipers but this one was real bad. I closed the screen door as it chased me onto the porch, coiled up, hissing and striking at the door numerous times. Couldn’t shoot again because Judi and the dogs were in the line of fire. Finally, chopped in half with a shovel as it slithered away.
The fire ants attack me once or twice a week, and just yesterday morning I saw one of the biggest alligators I have ever seen in the river behind the house. Around 10 feet long. While I was watching it from the dock it saw me and I could imagine it saying,”what are you looking at?” Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Well, at least we haven’t had a hurricane yet this season. The last one came within inches of flooding us out. We were stranded for 3 days until the water receded, without power for 9. Passed the time shooting the poisonous Cane toads with my pellet gun. They are so toxic that they say that it can kill your dog if it just licks it. Still shoot one or two a week.
Then, just driving around the county all you see is the scraped and scorched earth of the massive apartment complexes and gated developments and strip malls popping up everywhere.
OK, there comes a price to pay for living in Paradise. This all sounds like I am complaining but in another month or so I’ll be watching Lester Holt telling us about the millions of people being affected by blizzards and icy conditions and freezing temps while sitting on the back porch, or we call it, the lanai, in my t-shirt and shorts. And I’ll be saying , “just another day in Paradise.
E. Michael Gillern lives in Fort Meyers, Florida where he apparently has to fight off potential predators every day.