Before I retired my buddy Frank and I would spend lunches and breaks, few as they were, dreaming of life after teaching. Frank was, and still is, a nut for Disney World in Florida, so he would talk about the fun we would have when we got to Disney. We both never grew up, we just got older, and in time, both retired. This was our first winter in Florida. Frank spends as much time as he can in a place over 70 degrees during the winter, so Mickey and he are on a first make basis. Mickey, Goofy, Frank, Mickey. Everyone is happy. So when Frank found out that we were spending the month in Florida, he was in orbit someplace outside of Jupiter.
We are both 12 inside, but not all the time. Each of us had plans, so our schedules allowed a day in Orlando together. We planned on leaving Port Richie early, and then driving to the Bill Frederick Park in Orlando, having Frank meet us there, and off to the Mouse house. Well, we didn’t start early. We had to get fuel, and then about 25 minutes after leaving our friends in Port Richie, a guy passes us, whistles, and says ‘Your back is open and you’re dropping sh$# on the road!”. I had left the street side storage compartment unsecured and dropped stuff out. I travel with Murphy, of ‘if anything can go bad, it will, and at the worst possible moment, Murphy’. I checked the compartment and it looked like I dropped my ever handy metric and SAE socket set and my channelocks on the road. What to do? Look for the escapees? Drive on to see Frank? What would Frank do? I retraced my route, discovered that the channelocks were safe and sound, but the socket set was gone. As a consolation prize, I found one of those reflective triangle things that didn’t have all its steel filings drain out of the weight that keeps them upright when the semis blow by at 70. All in all, we blew over an hour. Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield. It was my turn to be the bug.
Well, we got to the Bill Frederick Park and found that we needed 72 hours to cancel in order to get any money back. We had planned to stay three days, but scaled back to two. The place was beautiful; the sites were nice and set just far enough apart. Frank and Betty showed up, checked out our home on wheels, and we were off to the Mouse’s house. Frank and I have been talking about this for years, and there was plenty on his internal agenda, so it was a circuitous route to Disney, which was fine with me. My friend was showing me around, I wasn’t driving, and everything I was looking at was cool. We toured some of the properties, oohed and awed, went to a late lunch/early dinner at the Rainforest Café, and was served by one of the best waitresses I’ve had the pleasure of having serve me, in years. Plus, it was Frank’s treat! Fourteen of years of talking and we made it. We were short on time and planning, but we were there together, finally. A victory!
A boat ride, animals, features, exploring venues and seeing what components of the places we’ve visited were represented thematically in the space were cool. Frank drove us back to the park, and when we were almost there, I realized that there was a gate that closed at five, and to get in you need the code. The piece of paper with the code was where I was told to put it; on the dashboard of the RV. Some quick internet searches, a telephone call or two, and we were in. Always travel with a retired librarian. Another great day and the fulfillment of a couple of years of wishing, Next time, longer and more fun, if that’s possible.