It was blazing hot yesterday (100+ degrees) and before heading for Tampa, Florida, we took a delightful turn in Waterfront Park in Charleston. The gardens were perfectly sculpted, the ships majestic, the swings on the pier inviting, and the strange little crabs with the one large claw digging holes in the sand fascinating. Perhaps it was the heat, but I think it was the magic voice of the fountains that made the sparkling water irresistible to the visiting children.
All of us shared a large, refreshing mango ice and envied the youngest, uninhibited in his splashing and laughter. By the time we headed back to the van, he was soaked to the bone. He stepped out of his favorite red flip flops and into the van, fumbling into dry clothes as we tried to cover him with a towel. We soon sped off, and it wasn’t until we were passing peanut stands and giant billboards in Georgia that we realized those flip flops were still standing on that hot street in Charleston, waiting for their New Jersey feet to slip back into them to continue their adventures.
After driving around the campus of the University of South Florida this morning we stopped at a Target to purchase a new pair of flip flops. “I miss my favorite flip flops!” Toby grumbled, hovering before the mid-summer clearance sandals section with loud reluctance. I felt a wave of impatience akin to a menopausal hot flash engulf me. ”Please, just pick a pair from what’s here,” I answered in a careful monotone.
Our transaction finally complete, we took a quick driving tour of Ybor City. I would have liked to look around a bit longer, but we needed to return to our hotel to prepare for the next scheduled activity. Tomorrow we visit Legoland, a key point of our trip, along with another college visit. As I reminded Toby, “Some parts of the trip are making different people happy. You’re turn’s tomorrow.”
We all look forward to the big events, but it’s the small and the unexpected that end up being our favorites. For instance, after dining at a local BBQ joint in Charleston we had stayed to listen a bit to some Lowcountry blues by local musicians. It was the real deal.
This morning on the way out the door we stopped to watch the little lizards that run like chipmunks into the shrubbery or hang on building walls in Florida. Toby couldn’t get enough of them, or the wonders of our hotel suite that has a kitchen, or the Belgian waffles we made at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast.
As for me, I’ve never ever ever met a fountain I didn’t like. They chatter and that always reminds me of my favorite poem by Horace:
O fons Bandusiae splendidior vitro
dulci digne mero non sine floribus,
cras donaberis haedo,
cui frons turgida cornibus
primis et venerem et proelia destinat;
frustra: nam gelidos inficiet tibi
rubro sanguine rivos
lascivi suboles gregis.
Te flagrantis atrox hora Caniculae
nescit tangere, tu frigus amabile
fessis vomere tauris
praebes et pecori vago.
Fies nobilium tu quoque fontium,
me dicente cavis impositam ilicem
saxis, unde loquaces
lymphae desiliunt tuae.