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Monday, January 30, 2012

Stumping in the Sunshine State

Ahhhhh...the blissful, balmy, batty state of Florida. Land of perpetual sunshine, lazy sailboats, swaying palm trees, bronzed starlets, sun-crispy tourists, screwballs and waddling snowbirds (of which I am one), skyrocketing short sales and foreclosures, plummeting home values, insane drivers, pushy elderly people, all day happy hours, early-bird specials, tumultuous traffic and...lines---long, long, long lines...mostly for waiting to get into restaurants, movie theaters and walk-in clinics.

I'm down in quaint little Dunedin, Florida, an idyllic little village on the Gulf of Mexico, frittering away the winter months by devoting my time to such important issues as zumba classes, tennis, tai chi, restaurant hopping, playing with my grandboys, strolling along the bay and picture-perfect sunsets at the marina. All the while maintaining an enthusiastic vigilance toward discovering the consummate Margarita cocktail.

It's a lovely life down here and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have to enjoy it. I escape for three months in the Florida sunshine and then I go back to the real world. This week, our little community hosted a major event...Mitt Romney came to town. It was a gloriously sunny, brilliant blue sky kind of day. So I decided to amble downtown and check out the political scenery.

I snuck in through the Press Only entrance gate. Told them I wrote a popular American blog and they actually believed me. Yowza! Now that's great security.

Thousands of people showed up to see Mitt...young and old. It was a happy, carefree, non-combative crowd.

One young woman standing next to me in the crush of bodies asked me with utmost seriousness: "Is this where Newt Gingrich is supposed to speak?" I pointed to the million ROMNEY signs plastered everywhere and informed her it was a Mitt Romney appearance. She seemed confused but decided to stay anyway. She was an operating room nurse and told me I could get free antibiotics at the local Publix supermarket. Good to know. We became fast friends as only people can do for 45 minutes at a political gathering...and I actually think I persuaded her to consider Romney instead of that diabolical Newt character.

Lots of national network news cameras perched above the crowd waiting for the ultimate sound bite.

Romney came on stage and the crowd roared. He seemed very affable in person and much more personable than in does in those TV debates. He spoke very effectively and passionately. He's tallish, very lean, wore faded jeans and is quite a handsome guy. Very statesman-like.

I only saw four hecklers in the entire crowd. One was dressed in a fuzzy doggie suit. Don't know the significance of the dog costume but it must have been suffocatingly hot inside that outfit. They didn't start heckling until Romney was done speaking. We have very polite hecklers in Dunedin. Nobody could understand a word they said.

The "Street Dogs" heckle a couple glares behind them.

I did spy a couple of Occupy Wallstreet protesters. Two 60ish women with cheesy, hand-written signs appeared angry and menacing. But they didn't have tents so I guess they really weren't planning to take over the neighborhood. Although their fanny packs looked rather ominous. Security!
These old gals got grumpy because there were no free hot dogs.

These two birdbrains could care less about visiting politicos as they snooze on a sunny dock.

Now here's an interesting side note. See the lady above in the black blouse?
She is California Congresswoman, Mary Bono. Yes...the widow of Sonny Bono. Turns out she married Florida Congressman Connie Mack (the guy in the center of the photo). By the way, that's Mitt Romney on the left.

When it was all over, Romney and his troops hopped back on his big blue bus and it was chilled martinis and margaritas for all the gang. (I'm just conjecturing). Another fun day in the sunshine state.

Back at my condo after the Romney mania, I came upon five elderly neighbor ladies (most in their 80s) seated outside in the dappled afternoon sun. They were all laughing and knocking back jumbo glasses of chilled Khalua on the rocks. They cheerfully called to me:"Come join us". It's always 5 o'clock somewhere. God bless America!

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Susan Anderson said...

I think Romney gets a bad rap. He'd probably do a good job.

And Newt? Loose cannon.


J.P. Travis said...

Good to see your email in my inbox, and thank you for calling Newt "diabolical."

Hey, you aren't trying to horn in on my political commentary gig are you?

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Chilled Kahlua! What a great idea.

Lorraine said...

I always enjoy your sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Great photos -- you captured the color of the day and all the excitement. Will be interesting to see how Romney does!

Unknown said...

Where do you "stump" for the other 9 months of the year? Yes, I think Romney has the presidential look.

Carol............. said...

Pretty cool! This is the closest I ever got to a presidential candidate...thanks for the pictures!

Joyce Pitrone Hawkins--Wrinkles Don't Hurt said...

You captured the essence of Dunedin, FL. Wish I could spend 3 months a year there. Someday. Thanks for the blog.

Joyce Pitrone Hawkins--Wrinkles Don't Hurt said...

You captured the essence of Dunedin, FL. Wish I could spend 3 months a year there. Someday. Thanks for the blog.

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