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Saturday, November 30, 2013

“A Change is as good as a rest,” or so they say

"Arabesque" oil on canvas
Sometimes we don’t realize the traps we set for ourselves on a daily basis. We get caught up in minutiae, and use every excuse in the book to stay put; feet firmly planted in the ruts we’ve dug. Let’s face it; the chores at home never end. Soon they begin to grind and irritate us. Not a good prescription for progress or creativity!

Thanksgiving Day I left the confines of home with my husband heading north toward other family members in the area. As was our tradition, we made Thanksgiving reservations at a restaurant located mid-point between our two separate locations.

A morning chill turned temperate, and the warmth of the sun made our road trip bright and pleasant. Our once Northern blood has thinned from years of living in Southern climes, and we were wrapped in sweaters dressed for any outcome unable to tolerate even the slightest drop in temperature.

"Pelican at Rest" oil on canvas
I realized too late that I’d forgotten the camera. When we drove over our first bridge across the inland portion of the Caloosahatchee River I remembered. There’s nothing like an expanse of tropical blue water against brilliant green trees and variegated grasses to make you regret being unable to capture a photo memory.

When we got closer to our destination, I was even more dismayed. The Gulf waters were blue-green and crystal clear near the shoreline. We crossed two bridges to reach our destination of St. Armand’s Circle on the ocean side of Sarasota. Seagulls fluttered overhead and pelicans dive-bombed for fish. On the underside of the bridges where palm trees, sandy beaches and lounge chairs beckoned, fishermen cast their baited lines into the water.

"Seashells by the Seashore" acrylic on canvas
Our reservation was at the Columbia Restaurant, a famous old chain popular for Cuban food. Our traditional dinner had a distinctive Cuban flair, it was both exotic and delicious. The stuffing was the best I have ever eaten and the gravy was exceptional! Not only were the mashed potatoes fluffy and white, they were tasty. A sweet potato dish was topped with sugary, buttered pecans. I longed for more, but my aching stomach kept me from asking for seconds.

When dinner was over, I had a pumpkin flan instead of the traditional pumpkin pie. The rest of my family had a generous wedge of scrumptious key lime. Unlike its cousins, this key lime was made from scratch using fresh limes. It was heavy, tart, and succulent. “So this is how a key lime pie is supposed to taste?” I thought to myself.

"St. Armand's Beach" taken two years ago
As we moaned and groaned and loosened our belts, I couldn’t help but miss the faces that weren’t there; the ones of my own family members, especially my children who reside in the distant corners of the United States. I hoped they’d had a lovely time with their families. Time and distance has taken a toll on our closeness as has the divorce that first tore us apart. 

I know many of you are in the same boat. We can only make the best of what happens to us and move on. If nothing else, my excursion on the road with its breathtaking views, and photo-ready snapshots gave me a much needed journey out of myself and into this wondrous world we live in!
"Canals at St. Armand's" taken two years ago