Where Have I Been? Florida and wakes!

As Jim Anchower of The Onion says, “I know it’s been a while since I rapped at ya.” In November I went to Orlando to the fabulous O’Connor compound. I went with Troy and my mom. I often say when Troy gets a vacation it’s no vacation for me because he drags me all over creation. My favorite thing we did was go to Kennedy Space Center

Photos courtesy Troy Taylor

They had this really cool ride there which simulated a rocket launch. But even though they claim they’re wheelchair friendly, get yourself one of the power scooters ‘cos it’s a lot of walking through huge buildings and the ramps are steep. My main complaint was that they make you stand a watch a movie before you get to see anything, then they lift the screen and you walk through. But it is worth the drive ‘cos they have a lot of interesting stuff and it’s very hands on. They have cool stuff in the gift shops too. But if you miss getting gifts there, they have one in MCO Sanford airport too.

There’s a bus tour to the other site and if there’s a launch that day you can watch it from there. Bring bugspray. And watch out for alligators.

Oh, and they play this epic John Williams type movie music everywhere. You can pretend you’re in Interstellar

Another thing we did when my mom got there was to go to St. Augustine. St. Augustine is the oldest city in America, founded in 1532 I believe by Ponce de Leon. The Fountain of Youth is there. Our tour guide on the trolley though told us it tastes like sulfur. We didn’t go cos mom wanted to stay on the trolley. Instead I went and got ideas for fudge at the various sweet shops along the pedestrian mall.

Photo courtesy Troy Taylor

Speaking of fudge, that’s mainly what I did when I got back was make fudge. Idk how many batches I did this year but it was less than last year ‘cos I didn’t get the big order of 30 I got last year. Which was good, ‘cos my aunt Tee-Tee died. We found out in Florida that she had cancer. So my mom flew home a day early and when the doctors said she had metastatic cancer and there was nothing they could do for her, she came and went into hospice at my mom’s house.

This is my aunt Tee-Tee with my uncle Hughie (also deceased) in 1967. Sorry it’s a little blurry.

She died Christmas Eve, and we all gathered at my mom’s where she died to remember her. It wasn’t sad, but the day of the funeral no one looked like they had slept.

I loved Tee-Tee, she was hilarious, beautiful, kind and loving. She was my favorite aunt and only aunt. I trust my Higher Power though that she’s in heaven with Hughie and very happy. He died of a stroke about 10 years ago.

Then about a month later my other “auntie” Carol died. I don’t have a picture of her but she was my aunt by close friendship with my mom and also hilarious, beautiful, loving and kind. She had lymphoma and hung in there for quite a while. Which leads me to wonder (sorry I’ve been watching a lot of Sex and the City), is it better to go quickly or slowly? Everyone said Tee-Tee didn’t suffer long but Carol did and she enjoyed life through the suffering. My mom told me Tee-Tee said she needed about 4 more years to get her house in order.

Every time someone dies I think of the line in Our Town where Emily asks the Stage Manager if people on Earth realize how precious life is, every minute. His answer is, “Saints and poets maybe, they do some.” So I try as much as I can to hold true to the coda of a poetic life, and realize how beautiful life is as much as I can.

In Tee-Tee and Carol’s honor, I joined smoking cessation class and am trying to quit. It’s not easy. They told us at the first session it’s harder to quit than heroin. Which I had heard before but wasn’t sure was true. The proof is some people have quit heroin and still smoked.

So I apologize for not keeping up with the site. Splishin’! and death took all my time around Christmas and I’m just starting to distract myself from smoking now with the computer. I’ve also been looking for a new car, and I have my lease renewal coming up with my landlord. Plus, I had to let these ideas ruminate until I knew what to say. No excuse I know, so mea cupla, and requiescat en pacem.

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