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"The Longest Summer"
(With apologies to Mark Twain)

The longest summer I ever spent was a winter in Florida. 

People say negative things about Buffalo's weather: 
I dearly miss it. 

I canít remember any feeling better than a spring day in Buffalo. 

I loved the winters, too. 
I love to ice skate (outdoors only, please), 
and the snowy beauty of Delaware Park and Soldiers Place 
outdid any Christmas card I've ever seen. 

But, autumn was my favorite, 
with the mandatory rides to Chestnut Ridge and Letchworth Park, 
to gasp at the colors. 
The harvest moons. 

I'm sick of Florida and if I ever escape from here, 
I plan to arrange for it to sink. 

Hot, hot, hot, and humid. 
And when you get tired of that you have lightning. 
In a place that really needs shade we get palm trees. 

Every year we haul out our favorite sweaters and jackets, 
hoping for a change of seasons that never comes. 
It's like waiting for The Great Pumpkin. 
Every year we sadly return the clothes to storage, still on the hangers. 

Other parts of Florida may be better, 
but here in the Orlando area itĎs now one huge strip mall. 
In another year or so they should have the whole state paved over. 
Greed rules. 

Snowbirds retire here to pretend it isnít hot, 
and it takes a while to realize that: 
     People dress like they just ran from a burning bedroom; 
     People are all strangers and are under suspicion; 
     Everybody is rude but me; 
     Traffic is rusted to a stop on the main roads; 
     God meant all trees to be cut down; 
     Public transportation is second only to the stagecoach; 
     Air conditioners drown out nature's sounds all year; 
     The State Color is Mildew Green; 
     Seniors leave their turn signals on because they canít hear them click; 
     Young drivers are nuts and get away with it; 
     You canít get anything repaired without getting ripped off; 
     This is the lightning center of the world; 
     We donít have TV weather guysÖ 
     We have TV Severe Weather Warning Centers; 
     We have bugs that can stand flatfooted and molest a turkey; 
     The closest thing to a hometown is the imitation Main Street at Disney World; 
     The birds are smart enough to leave here in the summer. 

Of course, I mean all this in the the most complimentary sense. 

Copyright © April 6, 2002 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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