TRAVELLIN' RICK GOES SOUTH
written by Debbie Williamson
Hi! I hope that you are having a nice winter. This winter, I am spending it where it is nice and warm. I am in the state of Florida, right between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida is a very beautiful state. Orange groves can be seen along the highways. Palm trees can be seen along the many coastal beaches and some very rare birds, like the crane and the flamingo can also be seen.
I arrived in Miami one evening. Miami is a busy city along the Atlantic coast. From my hotel window, I could see the Atlantic Ocean pounding its waves along the shore. I had never seen such a vast amount of water before. The biggest source of water that I had ever seen was Lake Ontario.
I was wound up after my long flight, so I decided that I would take a refreshing walk along the beach. It didn't take me long to catch up to the change in weather in Miami. Even though it was around nine o'clock, it was very warm. I slipped off my shoes and stepped lightly into the salty ocean water. I wanted so badly to just jump right in. I was a little intimidated by the size of the ocean. I guess I was a bit scared that the ocean would gobble me up. That's what it looked like it would do.
I got back to my hotel room about an hour later, feeling very refreshed. I went downstairs to the lobby and found a very nice restaurant. I had a wonderful feast of fish and chips! It was delicious!
"Hey, aren't you Travellin' Rick?" somebody asked me as I was finishing my meal.
"Yes," I said. "I am Travellin' Rick."
"Well," said the stranger. "It sure is nice to see you. I'm Crocodile Jim."
As I shook hands with this stranger, I noticed that he had tattoos all over his arms. You'd never guess what kind of tattoos they were. Yes, you were right! They were crocodiles!
"It's nice to meet you," I said, trying to be friendly.
"You don't recognize me, do you?" asked Crocodile Jim.
"No," I said honestly. "I don't know you."
"Why Travellin' Rick, we used to sit beside each other in kindergarten!" he exclaimed.
"Kindergarten," I said. "Wait a minute, you aren't Little Jimmy, are you?"
"You bet I am," said Crocodile Jim.
"Well, don't that beat all," I said. "Gosh, it's been years since I've seen you."
"Yes," said Crocodile Jim. "It sure has been. Look, what the devil are you doing here in Florida? I thought you lived way up in Canada, still."
"I do, but I'm on vacation," I explained.
"Vacation," said Crocodile Jim. "Hey, how would you like to come out to my place for dinner tomorrow night?"
"Sure," I said. "That sounds like fun. Where abouts do you live?"
"I live way on down in the Everglades," Crocodile Jim said.
"The Everglades," I said. "That sounds like a beautiful place to live."
The next evening, I hopped into my rental car and drove to Crocodile Jim's place. I was expecting tall everglade trees to jump out at me at any moment. However, I wasn't expecting Hermie to do the jumping. It just so happens that my good friend, Crocodile Jim forgot to fill me in on what exactly the Everglades were and what kind of pets people have in the Everglades.
You see, the Everglades are a vast swamp land located at the southern tip of the state and Hermie, was Crocodile Jim's pet crocodile.
I had an excellent time at Crocodile Jim's, if you don't count the time that Hermie bit my leg and if you don't count the time that Hermie wanted to have my dinner. Actually, I'm still not sure whether Hermie wanted my dinner, or me. Crocodile Jim assured me that he probably wanted a little of both!
Once back at my hotel room, I decided that I really liked Florida, but I wasn't too sure about the Everglades and Hermie.