by Suzanne Eovaldi, staff writer
Tentatively I accepted the call to enter the senior dating game, and at age 78, I accepted the invitation of a very nice, clean cut, 80s something gentleman to be his passenger on a trip to a goat farm.
He, in ranking order, was from the Midwest, as opposed to “the East;” was single by death of his beloved wife of 60 years, rather than being a traveler of a divorced nature; and we both liked the activities of the Slow Food movement here in Florida.
We met at the first stop on the farm-to-fork tour of sustainable organic farms and small, well tended vegetable gardens, one of which also housed the local nudist camp. Of course, entering for the tours, guests were led specifically along lanes where campers were clothed during the tour. Our next stop was a goat farm whose goat population rose significantly during a Florida energy blackout. We stood up close by the fence as the all natural goats grazed; colorful chickens ranged freely, and they laid their eggs at will. “We’re engaged,” loudly said the male member of a couple next to me. A sweet hen had laid her egg right in between his pointed boots. He was beyond thrilled by this nature up close and personal event. We saw the goats being milked, and even got to watch a male turkey display his gorgeous colors. “He’s presenting,” said the owner of the farm, as she explained he was entering his “time.” Well, time to move on. The road out in front was packed with waiting farm viewers.
We drove back to the nudist camp in order for me to pick up my car. My friends in the camp had given me free amaryllis bulbs for planting in hopes of blooms next Christmas. All in all, very nice. My Midwestern friend instructed me in how to exit the place, and as I drove out, I didn’t know whether to keep my eyes on the road, my car, straight ahead or what. But sidelong glances did expose nudists lounging about the pool, adult campers of all ages, but very comfortable in their chosen lifestyles. The sun was out. I started to think this may be a little too big of a stretch for this Midwestern grandmother. “How do you feel about the nudist colony,” my friend asked? “I’m not taking my clothes off,” I said. “What others do, that’s up to them.”
Well, another dating experience involved a St. Patty’s somewhat great day, and then a 3 hour cruise to nowhere out beyond Florida’s waters into the international free zone of gamble at will. All in all, everything went pretty well. A new reporter friend with whom I’d been emailing about her Smart Meter stories met up with us, but she was literally incapacitated by the pitching waves and gave in to a full-blown case of seasickness from hell, making her coverage of the new gambling boat somewhat difficult.
So as we returned to the handicapped parking space after the boat docked, my male friend helped me around the back of his SUV, and there it was. I just couldn’t get past that dating stopper. No way. I feel I have to go in front of my conservative Liberty Caucus, stand up in front, and say to all gathered: “Hi, I’m Suzanne, and I got in a car with a blue Co-exist bumper sticker on it!” I just haven’t worked up the courage yet to admit to my conservative friends that not only did I get into a Co-exist bumper-stickered vehicle, I dated a man from Wisconsin, worst of all, a man from Madison. He said the lab bomber even, take a breath here readers, BABY-SAT his children eons ago. Well, that’s it. No more dating.
Now, I’m content to sit around my pool, gaze out on the blue, chlorine thickened water, watch a returning Cardinal bird flit back and forth between non nectar bearing red bottle brush trees, and be thankful that my no longer riskier self needs to conquer any more new experiences. Only problem is, here in Florida, the pollen season is out in full bloom, and I’ve been up two nights in a row with the mother of all allergy attacks.