Notes from a Native: Know the Territory!

·        Some thoughts on the horrifically horrible week that just ended in Orlando. First the death of the young singer from “The Voice”. Next, the worst mass shooting in US History. Now, an alligator kills a two year old at Walt Disney Resorts.
It’s a sobering thought as we think of Orlando as a fun-filled resort town. Orlando’s governing body have just had to find spaces to bury up to forty plus young people in their cemeteries…

   One thing that people who live in Florida know is that Disney was built on top of a swamp. And if you have small dogs and children, you don’t let them go to the edge of a lake alone.    Dogs are constantly being pulled under by gators. My cousin fought one off in Immokalee, Florida and she won! The gator let go of Dixie, her Golden Retriever. Sara Lee is petite, and her Golden was fairly large, but she was able to fend off the gator.

Scores of people have told me of gator attacks on dogs. And when some old gators are killed, they have been known to find many collars from hunting dogs that disappeared in the bowels of the Florida lakes.

Someone should let the people who come to Florida know the truth. Florida was not just this white sandy beach that popped up with pristine and manicured lawns. The Disney World land was carved out of a swampy area in Central Florida.

Florida is known as the Land of Flowers and beaches. But there is more to it than that. There are orange groves and sugar cane fields, there’s marshes and lakes and swamps and gators. All of these things are native to Florida. It’s not exactly the dark side, but it’s the side known only to Florida natives, and Florida Crackers.

Know the territory, as they said in “The Music Man”. You have to educate people about the history of a region, even if you are going to bill it as “the happiest place on Earth”. You should know that there’s another side to the land of Disney. Welcome to Florida, the Sunshine State, complete with Gators and mosquitos, with oranges and semi-automatic weapons and over-crowded highways. Know the Territory and Welcome to Florida!
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