As I mentioned in the last post we had a remarkable day with some of Jason’s (Carrie’s older son) friends from around Fort Myers during our recent visit. There’s a little more to the story that I’d like to tell.
First of all, the term “Florida Cracker” refers to those Floridians throughout the State’s history who rode on horseback cracking their whips to herd and move their cattle to market.
The group we met this day, all of whom enjoy things like Country Music, pickup trucks with large tires and engines to match, Conservative viewpoints and rural living, would probably welcome the label “Redneck” or “Cracker” with equal enthusiasm.
We joined the group and made introductions at the Alva Country Diner in the pre dawn light. We were part of a large crowd of like-minded folks who were patiently waiting for the doors to open for a real country breakfast on a Saturday morning.
Conversation through breakfast was lively and included, as you might expect, engines and airboats. While I enjoyed engaging them with lots of questions about these craft, our new friends also seemed highly curious about our kind of boats. They all listened intently as Carrie and I related some of our adventures on the water.
The other gratifying feature of the day’s conversations was how many of them sincerely addressed Carrie and I saying “Yes, Ma’am” or “No, Sir” (as appropriate). And they spoke the same way to one of the fellows’ Father known to all as “Pop” who was a bit older than us but came along driving his own airboat.
I hope this observation doesn’t come across as a negative. Far from it. Their warmth and sincerity was evident from the moment I shook hands with them, and I’m very thankful that Jason and Barbara can call them friends.
The remainder of the day didn’t reveal anything different. Our afternoon conversation with Pop heard him relate to us his many memories spending time with his children and grandchildren on days like we were having.
Something else that Carrie noted: These folks remind us in many ways of our cruiser and other good friends. Whenever one boat pulled over or fell behind for any reason, the other boats would circle to make sure everything was OK and wait to keep us all together.
Face it folks, as we age we look around at those who follow us hoping they will do good things and raise good families. I got a pretty good sense of that today from this group.
For anyone interested, I’d highly recommend reading “A Land Remembered”, a novel by Patrick D. Smith. It’s historical fiction about Florida’s pioneer days. It does include some brutal treatment to Native Americans, but unfortunately that’s also a part of our history.