The flannel sheets have just been put on the bed tonight. Our heater has been in use for the better part of a week. Yesterday I had to bring in my plants due to a surprise frost advisory. In a few minutes, I’ll be hanging out in the hot tub with my husband and a glass of wine. After that, our little family of three will pile under the covers together to watch Saturday Night Live. It’s become a ritual.
All of it has become a ritual. Although I’m only in my second year of experiencing autumn and preparing for another Great Plains winter, I know this is how it goes. This is Oklahoma. I’ve done it before. This whole thing is no longer a foreign concept to me.
I’ve come to realize that it’s okay to miss Florida. It’s okay to miss my family, the coast, the swamps, the alligators, the manatees, the dolphins, the brown pelicans, and the springs. And it’s okay to beg my mother to send me some tangerines from her tree, even though it’s not producing much this year. I’ll be happy with just a couple.
My family’s Florida roots don’t extend that far back. In fact, both of my grandfathers moved their wives and children from the Midwest to the Sunshine State in the 1950s and 1960s. My older brother is the only one of us to be born there. I was born in Texas where my father trudged through bootcamp and swore to give the next twenty years of his life to serve our country. During those two decades while we lived all over the world, my parents claimed Florida residency, renewed their driver’s licenses by mail, and ordered Florida plates for every car we’ve ever owned. We’ve just always been from Florida, even when we weren’t.
I miss living in Florida the way other people miss living in the country, or the mountains, or on an island. I’ve been reading a lot of books on the Arctic and Alaska. These regions have forged their own genre of literature, books have been referred to as Alaskana. After searching, I have found that Florida also has its own genre called Floridana. I like that word. I like that word a lot.
Some Floridana for you…