I’ve been thinking all night about what I could possibly blog about.  Sometimes even I come across the dreaded “writer’s block”.  As much as I think and talk and do…. one would imagine my topics of discussion would be endless!  Well, they are.. but I still feel the need to “filter” my thoughts.  I’m not sure I want to expose all my raw, true, shock-value thoughts and feelings… I’m just not sure if everyone is ready for that yet.  I’m a huge fan of “shock value”.  I love to do and say things that I may not really believe in order to get a response out of a poor soul.  I owe that fun little personality trait to L. Michael Hanna.  That’s right… you taught me that  L.M.  And thank you!  It makes life a bit more interesting, even if it’s a little demented.  

Okay… ramble much?  Really what I wanted to write about is this song by Patty Griffin titled “Florida”.  

“Florida” (some of the lyrics)

A couple of young girls went
Sailing down A1A
Into the arms of Florida
Sailing down a highway
Singing their heads off
Protected by the holy ghosts
Flying in the ocean
Driving with their eyes close

And the summer comes marching in
With his heavy boots on
Kicking along the blacktop
Sidewalks of A1A
The young girls in their bare feet
Cigarettes smoking
Looking every which way
Wishing and hoping

I’m not sure what she was thinking of when writing it, but what it always took me back to was my first trip to Florida with my dear, sweet friend Melanie Provence. Spring break, 1996 with her, and our buddies Shane and Tommy.   It was my first time to see the ocean, my first LONG road trip with just friends, and eventually Florida ended up being my first out-of-state residence.    I can remember driving down A1A, the ocean on the horizon.  We had driven all the previous day, partied in New Orleans for a bit, and continued on until we reached that land of milk and honey… or beaches and clubs… whatever.  I could tell you stories about our venture, but I think someone would put me in jail to this very day for the shinanigans we pulled.  Mel… if you’re reading this.. you know what I’m talking about 🙂  We stayed with friends that lived there.   It was amazing.  I remember getting in the ocean for the first time.  The undercurrent and tide are so much stronger than they look.

Melanie and CohenI had some serious strawberries on my knees from fighting the ferocious waters!   OH… the times we had.. Melanie was the first “real” friend I made in the world outside my small hometown. I went to OSU after high school.  I was assigned to live on the third floor of the dorm.  Next to the elevators everyone’s name was posted as to who lived on the floor.  One of my great friends from high school  is named “Melanie Harrison”.. well that name was on the posting, but my Mel was two years younger than me!  I had to meet this same-name.  She ended up being my very best friend!  We experienced sooo much together.   She taught me so much about tolerance and being real.  She has always been the most generous of people, the most giving, unselfish, just truly a genuine sweetheart. 

She married a very good friend of mine who I grew up with, Ryan. They have a beautiful son, Cohen.  Such an incredible family.

There are so many stories I could tell you about Mel and Ryan and our times together.  But I won’t.  Those times were so unbelievably sacred.  Plus… our kids might read this one day.  No one wants that!  Cohen and Ryan

What I can tell you is my time with each of them is priceless.  I had more life experiences with Melanie than I could ever tell you about.  I love that girl.  She’s solid!


4 responses to “Florida

  1. Wow! That is beautiful. You are beautiful. Couldn’t have put it into words as eloquently as you…wow, that’s all I can say right baout now, wow. Tears are rolling down my face…wow. love you.

  2. Louis Michael Hanna

    I’m honored to be an influence, no matter the influence. Love the fact that those lyrics seem to so perfectly describe your experience.

  3. Send me your email address! Misti

  4. you just put a big smile on my face! a difficult task to do as i swim in deadlines. love you.

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