Technically we’re at the very north edge of the Everglades, at Big Cypress National Preserve.
Our campground is just a paved loop around a pond, with alligator warning signs every few feet. Our camp host told us as we pulled in, “Now if y’all go outside at night, be sure to shine a flashlight under your rig to make sure no one’s under there.” Yes, m’am, we will.
So we’ve kept Banjo on a short leash, and we left her in the truck while we stopped on our swamp sight-seeing drive for Tracy to cast a line every once in a while.
Thanksgiving: 80 degrees, not too many ants, lots of sky and palm trees.
Banjo hasn’t had a special Thanksgiving treat, but so far three people have walked up to our campsite to say something cheerful (“I love your set-up!” or “Want a pie?” or “So the paint has all worn off that thing, right?” (ha ha) and Banjo got treats each time—because these people snuck up on us while we were face timing with Finn and Paul so we had to act fast to prevent a suspicious growl. We had a busy half-hour there of multitasking, kind of like an old-fashioned Thanksgiving!
You guys keep on staying safe, there.
PS, in case you’d like a silly backstory about the last time I was in Big Cypress.
I was at a huge weekend-long festival put on by the band, Phish, that took place over New Year’s Eve 1999—the biggest concert of that much-anticipated midnight. Paul and I were camping on the Seminole Tribe Reservation, along with 80,000 other hippies for three days and nights of Phish. It was my first vacation without baby Finn, and I went whole-hog.
Phish played on a stage down in a dell, and the outer lip of the dell was ringed with a knee-high wall of large blocks of ice, like an igloo wall. The day was hot, but the evening just warm enough to make the ice slippery enough to be the perfect dance spot, so I staked out my ice block and danced the whole six-hour set, starting at 12:01 a.m. with a cover of Clapton’s “After Midnight” and ending at sunrise with the Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun.”
I’d lost one contact lens during the night so wandered through the acres of tents chatting with other Phish plans at their campsites and laughing the whole time, with a hand over one eye, looking for my tent. Oddly, I’d also lost Paul even though he was wearing a pajama bottom leg as a hat. That was some party.
Almost twenty-one years ago! The world has changed a lot since then, and here I am again, making new kinds of memories.