Friday, February 29, 2008

Springtime in Florida

One of the first pictures I took of my dad with my own camera, a Kodak Instamatic that someone gave me He's on the left with his brother Jerry sitting on his Vespa scooter - his introduction to the motorcycle.
. (1979).

I have tons a great memories of Florida in the springtime. I spent every available free time I could taking my kids down from North Carolina to see my dad and the beach. My dad lived in an apartment for awhile and then he bought a small one bedroom house with a nice yard filled with orange trees in the back yard.
We would usually leave early in the morning and get there around 5-6 in the evening and my dad would be waiting for us. A lot of the times, he would be out in the driveway with his motorcycle cleaning it or polishing the chrome or something. We'd pull up, he'd have hugs and kisses for us and he would always ask how the traffic was at different points on the route. He drove the same way up to us every chance he could as well. In some ways, it was like he was just up the road (about 700miles) but we still saw each other often - maybe even more than families who live in the same town.
I remember a particular trip on Memorial weekend when we came down to paint my dad's house. We only had five days so we just planned to paint, go to the beach and just hang out with my dad and brother. My dad had been sick and had a liver transplant the year before. He was recovering very well and it was so exciting to see him getting back to his old self.
The kids were about 8 & 9 and they were able to help with the trim and we had a great time. My brother Tony and Brad did all the high stuff and I helped with the detail and getting their buckets filled. I took pictures too.
We finished in 3 days and we went to a park in downtown St.Pete near the harbor. We watched Jim skateboard and the kids climbed trees and we had a nice time. The air was soft and breezy, the sky was clear and blue, and the air smelled of lilac and saltwater. It was a lazy long spring afternoon and it was as close to perfect as one can get on this earth.

My dad with the kids.

He didn't know I was shooting him.

We went to the beach the next day, got quick tans, ate out and slept in. What I remember the most about the trip was how easy it was to be there. My dad was doing so well and my brother had gotten a great job. My husband was home from an overseas deployment, the kids were happy and healthy, and I had finished school. We drove home that Tuesday and I remember driving away and feeling like all was right in the world. It was.

My family - Brad, Tony, my dad Jim, Rachel & Jimmy.

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