When you're a Piazza, you know how to make work fun. Either that, or you can't have fun without taking a break and working. I'm not sure which is more accurate.
Either way, last week my family and I found ourselves on a plane to Florida, to stage my late grandmother's condo for selling--and also, to enjoy ourselves. We hadn't been to Florida in a while. I was expecting a huge climate change the moment I stepped off the plane, just like what happened the last time we flew to Florida. But last time, we flew from Illinois, and turns out the weather in Texas isn't too different from the weather in Tampa Bay.
Grandma's condo wasn't too different from her house in Illinois--full of nice furniture and duplicates of things. We found four irons and three coffee makers. Two of the bedrooms didn't have overhead lights--just two or three lamps per room. But the view was nice. We even saw dolphins one day.
Speaking of dolphins, I found a coupon for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which was only a 25-minute drive away from where we were staying. If the name sounds familiar, it's because you heard it in the movie Dolphin Tale. I got to see Winter herself (from a distance) and look at some of the movie sets. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and well worth the rather exorbitant entrance fee.
I learned a couple of things on this trip. First, that clams burrow themselves into the sand to hide from seagulls and sand pipers, and they're adorable doing so. They also tickle if you happen to be standing on top of one, or if you're holding them in your hand.
Second, watermelon sorbet is really good.
Lastly, I learned that all states are obsessed with something. If you come down here to Texas, for example, you'll learn that we love our state. You can't walk through Walmart without finding something silly with Texas on it. I've even seen a Texas-shaped sandwich cutter. We love firearms, Jesus, and sweet tea, and we're about the sweetest people you'll ever see. Unless we're driving. Then, we're maniacs.
See? I wasn't lying about the sandwich cutter.
But Florida is different. Driving out of Tampa International Airport, I saw a sign that said "Welcome home, veterans!" I saw VFW's and billboards thanking veterans for their service. And I couldn't agree more. I also saw more crosswalks and "watch for pedestrians" signage than I've seen in my life. And they have bicycle lanes.
(I still don't know what Illinois is obsessed with, despite living there for twelve years. I guess it's corn and soybeans, because even in my little residential neighborhood, I lived within walking distance of a cornfield.)
What's your state obsessed with? Have you ever been to Florida, or to Clearwater Marine Aquarium? Have you seen Dolphin Tale? Tell me in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.