Our plan for today was to stop by the Everglades for a fan boat tour on our way back from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando. Beforehand, for lunch, we would finally fill the craving that Shannon and I look forward to every time we cross the Mason-Dixon Line, Chick-Fil-A. Aaron Googled the nearest franchise, and it turned out to be located in a mall. Not feeling up to the walk, Shannon and Aaron brought the food out to the car. In a very classy manner we broke out our folding chairs and had lunch in the parking lot. I couldn’t help but think of the episode of Married with Children where the Bundy family sets up camp in the grocery store to soak up their A/C. Eventually, security came by and made Dad move the car; the rest of us stayed. We got plenty of strange looks.
After lunch we headed to Everglades Holiday Park for a fan boat ride. Although I would have liked to have gone deeper into the swamp, the tour was excellent with alligators, birds, and amazing vegetation. After the boat ride, we watched the alligator wrestler’s show. The show seemed very rehearsed, similar to SeaWorld, but it was still pretty impressive. I noticed a picture of the wrestler with Manny from “Wild Boys.” When I asked about the photo, he said that they were good friends; he has my respect! Inspired by the show, Dad was looking for a similar challenge. That’s when he bought the “1st Degree Burn” flavored Doritos from the gift shop; an impressive feat!
On the drive back to Orlando we passed a goat farm. It immediately reminded me of our goats on Maple Leaf Farm (Peglow Rd) where we grew up. We decided to turn around and check it out; so glad we did. They had fresh Queso Blanco (cheese), which Aaron bought to make my favorite Peruvian food huancaina. They also allowed us to pick a sugar cane from the field next door. Aaron had been telling us how cool it is to eat the sugar directly off the stalk; can’t wait to try it in the morning. They also let me walk into the pasture with the goats.
For dinner, Dad finally got his Cuban food at a restaurant called the Florida Cafe. I don’t think it was quite what he was looking for, but the food was great for the price.
More about Maple Leaf Farm. We grew up in a rural farmhouse in Springwater, NY on Peglow Rd. We had two goats; Pachem and Tascha. I was really young so I don’t remember a lot about them, but I do remember that when they were killed by coyotes, my mother was really upset. We drank the goat’s milk, but they weren’t farm animals, they were pets.
The house, located on a dirt road, was so remote that cable wasn’t even an option. Me and my brothers, Aaron and Ryan, had to create our own entertainment; we were never bored. We spent our free time outdoors building elaborate forts and tunnels through the hay in the haybarn, building trails through the woods, fishing and swimming in the pond, or some other activity Ryan would drum up from his book “Free Stuff for Kids.” We fought a lot when we were young, but my brothers have always been my best friends. There is not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for them or their amazing families.