Gavel Gamut

By Jim RedwineJim-Redwine-682x1024-199x300

(Week of 02 June 20144)



Juan Ponce de Leon (1460 – 1521) “discovered” what he called Florida (place of flowers)in 1513. This discovery was a surprise to the Calusa Indians already living there. The Calusasdrove him out once but he was a slow learner and returned to Florida only to receive an arrow inhis thigh from which he died.Ponce de Leon was looking for gold and the fabled Fountain of Youth. Had he stumbledinto Florida today he would have been met by a tribe consisting of slow moving, white hairedpeople wearing an assortment of checkered shorts and speaking in several dialects of Italian andYiddish. However, the arrows would still be flying at him from the car windows and honkinghorns.The only youth to be found in Florida comes from Hispaniola and other less exoticclimes. This portion of the Sunshine State culture amuses itself by darting in and out and inbetween the vehicles of old people whose rear bumpers are an irresistible attraction. With the old people driving in erratic jerks and young people being jerks, a mere trip tothe store can often result in impassioned (well, not too passionate by the old people) displays ofarms and middle fingers. Ponce de Leon only went to Florida because his boss, the King of Spain, fired him asGovernor of Puerto Rico and replaced him with Columbus’s son. Ponce de Leon had originallycome to America along with Columbus on his second voyage. This sense of being “dissed” bythe King burned a hole in de Leon’s psyche such that he kept looking for redemptive revenge. Ofcourse, he sought his redemption as all Europeans did, at the expense of the Native Americans.In this instance, the Indians won.Ponce de Leon may have been the first tourist to Florida but, as millions of pasty facedmigrants from New York, New Jersey and even Indiana would prove he was only the first.Florida has no natives. The Indians, Calusa, Seminole, etc., have been evicted. People born inFlorida flee the state to avoid the invasion from the snow birds. And, because The Fountain ofYouth is now sought only in the tender care of plastic surgeons, all the explorers are dead.There are activities for old people in Florida, mainly shuffleboard, bocce and golf.However, golf in Florida has its own rules. Everyone must play as fast as their pacemakers allow and crowd right up against the tottering foursome in front of them while the shot sprayers behind occasionally do hit the ball more than seventy-five yards right into the forward group. Of course,these conditions result in about the same kind of pleasantries as occur on the streets.Ah, well, Peg and I will soon return to JPeg Ranch where all I need to worry aboutdodging are Peg’s orders.


  1. Ralph Cramden Reply

    June 4, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Great story Jim very funny but I do not recognize the man in the photo attached.

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