Day dreams of Florida’s sands and palms

October snow terrorized New England. Geese by the thousands are honking as they fly south, past my windows that face Lake Erie, which is turning a steely gray (see picture).

Early November may be a little early for human flight, but this snow bird from Ohio, having turned the heat up to “comfort zone” on the baseboard thermostat last night, is uncomfortable enough to visualize the benefits of the sands and palms of Florida.

My day dream takes me to winters past — in northern Ohio, that’s November deep into March — when I drove my trusty Toyota convertible south, waiting impatiently for the moment when the temperature rose to a point that I could tolerate an open roof.

The top would go down, the windows up, and the heater would blast on high. I would be rolling through the hills of West Virginia, Virginia or North Carolina, my jacket buttoned up, a muffler twisted around my neck. I would sing with the blasts from my radio, and other motorists probably thought I was nuts. Ok, a little. But I was starving for the wind and willing to risk the numbness that set in around my cheek bones. Sometimes the top went back up.

Red Door takes the kinks out

One trip, I drove two hard days to a hotel northwest of Miami, the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure in Westin, and gave myself up the next morning for a few hours at the Red Door Lifestyle Spa. It was a pleasurable way to begin a Florida stay, especially after two days of cramped muscles in the driver’s seat.

Two talented ladies took charge. Olga led me to an outdoor massage area, and a large wicker chair, which was draped with a white canopy. Olga placed a brass bowl at my feet. The bowl held about half a dozen round stones. Orange slices bobbed at the surface. She poured salt into the bowl, telling me that these were ingredients for relaxing.

As Olga did my feet, ankles and lower legs, massaging and smoothing skin with a lotion and gel, Rowena targeted my upper and lower back pressure points that she said were painful because of my long drive. Her massage, with citrus oils, was soothing, yet strong and forceful to relieve my Ohio knots.

Massaged and patted dry by mid-morning, I remember that I was smiling and ready for whatever Miami had to offer.

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