We fly home later today, so this morning, Romie and I got up early and drove to Holmes Beach. This is probably the first trip we've taken to Florida that we didn't go to the beach in the heat of the day. Romie isn't comfortable doing that anymore, due to his current situation with squamous cell carcinoma, and I no longer have the desire to get burned, sweaty and sandy. So we went early, and we enjoyed a stroll along the water's edge.
The pier was open, so we walked out to the end of it and mingled with the fishermen. Romie saw a stingray flutter by under the surface of the water and a little too close to shore. Several years ago, I almost picked one up. I had looked down and thought it was a sand dollar peeking out of the sand, so I bent over to pick it up and it swam away. I'm grateful for large favors.
We've found lots of shark's teeth on previous visits to this beach. The girls and I used to make a game of it and see who could find the most. Jenna had a good eye for them and so did I. But I didn't find any today. I did see lots of seaweed washing up as the tide was coming in, and I had the thought that God was doing some weeding and tidying up of the gulf floor.
We got a kick out of the cute little sandpipers moving their legs at hyperspeed to run away from the approaching tide as the waves crashed in. They were a little more skittish than the gulls, who were just looking for a handout. We stood and watched a couple of gulls who seemed to be engaged in some sort of mating ritual. One would throw his head back and caw and then the other one would do the same, in answer. This went on for several minutes and then...yes, it definitely was a mating ritual.
We were short on time, so we got back in the car and went to our favorite little shops on the island. A couple of them are tacky little souvenir joints, but you just never know when you might find something you can't live without. The other two are at the north end of the island in the little village of Anna Maria. There's a shop that carries tropical design clothing that has large cages outside the front door that have parrots, mynahs, and other talking birds. It's always fun to stand in front of them and carry on a conversation, even if the vocabulary is limited to 'hello' and sexy whistles.
The Sand Dollar is at the opposite end as the birds and it's a unique boutique that carries all kinds of unusual items of home and garden decor, as well as jewelry and clothing. Here, I bought a cast iron cat figure for Kara, as well as one for myself. Kara is taking care of our animals and plants. They gift wrap every purchase and in our case, the paper gave a hint as to the contents of the package. I love this store!
We got back to Two Rivers around 11:00, and we finished packing. I had purchased a lady-slipper orchid at Lowe's and a bougainvillea at Home Depot, so I made sure they were secured in my carry-on. I got a couple of packages of caladium bulbs and a blood lily bulb, too, but I packed those away in my suitcase with the amaryllis bulbs. You know, you just can't plop down a northern gardener in the tropics and expect them to look and not touch!
We should be home by 10:00 tonight. We had a wonderful time here, but there's no place like home.