Saturday, January 1, 2011


Since the onset of winter here in Ottawa, Robert has nostalgically said from time to time that the snow and crisp temperatures remind him of his childhood in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Truly, he has taken to the cold and blustery days with gleeful abandon - as anyone residing past the 49th parallel does ...... when they own property in Florida.
With Christmas and New Years now behind us, Robert has booked his flight and by mid-January will be on his way to the warm and sun-drenched jewel of the Gulf Coast that is Sarasota, FLA. His exact destination is Sun-N-Fun Resort where he had purchased what he refers to as his “cottage”, initially so that he would have a place to stay when he visited his sister there. 
However, with his sister’s passing a few years back he is reconsidering his address. Not the Sarasota part, because he loves the city, but rather the “cottage” part, which is actually a trailer.  I have no idea why, as I love the place and apparently so does the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds which awarded Sun-N-Fun “Mega Park of the Year” in 2008 and 2010. I’m not sure what happened in 2009. That was my first year there. The place looked fine to me. I enjoyed myself so much that I even went to Lowes and bought a bicycle, which I proceeded to fully kit up with a bell, a halogen light with a seizure inducing strobe feature (should I want to pull someone over, I suppose) and a wire basket that can be conveniently unfastened to serve me on my hypothetical jaunts to the market. I love my bike! I want to get a flag.
Sun-N-Fun’s website design also won some sort of prize – and it should. It is wonderfully misleading, in a lies-of-omission way. Make no mistake that Sun-N-Fun is an upmarket trailer park, as Robert likes to refer to it, on the outskirts of Sarasota. With the setting being an adorable mix of house proud trailer sprawl and “Truman Show” suburbs, it is not sophisticated. The poolside menu includes such refined delicacies as the impressive ‘belly-buster’ Polish hot dog. And this is the charm that the website completely glosses over, if not indeed entirely ignores. Though the website does purport that Sun-N-Fun hosts corporate retreats, weddings and family reunions, and I’m sure they do, one would have to suspect that the event planner would have a name like Bubba. Who’s kidding whom?
In spite of its appeal, Robert is looking to leave and currently has his eye on a cute house that is less than fifteen minutes walk to the impressive Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, the world-class Sarasota Ballet and the Sarasota Opera House, which he loves. The proximity to downtown certainly holds appeal for him – but the actual impetus to move is based more on hubris.
Bluntly, he is very hesitant and even more nervous, to invite any of his friends from either the Opera Society or Ballet Society to visit the Mega Park of the Year. Our Sun-N-Fun neighbour, after all, uses a snow shovel affixed with decal letters as his address signpost. And sitting in a lawn chair in the front yard drink’n is not an uncommon pastime. Simply, Robert is not sure that his society friends are ‘belly-buster’ people. I say invite them and find out, one never knows...

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