This picture is of Grace on her 92nd birthday. She is still as vibrant and sparkly-eyed as she was then.
I went down to see her because my Aunt Marie was concerned about her well being. You see, she is under the care of a Kitty, a nurse and old friend of Gracie's and her late husband, Norm. Kitty is fiercely protective of Gracie and that can unnerve some people who are suspicious of those non-family members who take an active interest in the elderly. Kitty is a little quirky but then so are most of my own family so I have less of a concern about it. My main concern is that Gracie is well taken care of, that she is healthy, happy, and comfortable. And all that is as it should be.
To get to Naples, I must travel over a variety of US highways and state highways in the back country of Florida. I get to drive through little towns like Venus and past Fish Eating Creek, through LaBelle, and then over to near the west coast of Florida where I find the other main Interstate (I-75). The back country of Florida is not the image most people have of this state. Most think of Florida and envision tropical beaches, neon lit nightclubs, and towering hotels. But most of Florida is citrus groves, farms, and cattle and horse ranches. It is mostly rural, dotted with beautiful lakes, tall pines, and oak trees. My next trip down that way, I will take my time and some pictures to show you. It is the Florida I love, though I admit to a strong infatuation with the glitter of the Southeast coastal region.
Gracie was a pioneer of sorts in Naples. When she and Norm moved there at the end of WWII (in which he served as a P-38 fighter pilot), it was a tiny little place, not really a city. Norm as the only veterinarian. They had planned to live in Ft. Myers, just up the coast a ways, but there was already a vet there and Norm did not want to interfere with his practice. They watched the town grow into a city. It is unrecognizable to me compared to what I saw of it in the mid to late 50's when it was a city but a tiny one and everyone seemed to know my aunt and uncle.
I hope everyone had as pleasant a day as I.