What a day. Started the morning by going to Preston Merrick's memorial service. It was one of the most painful things I've ever had to do. What made it bearable was his friends and family that attended. Preston had the best circle of friends. I mean good friends, reliable, honest, people cut from the best cloth. I almost made it thru the service dry-eyed until the color guard presented the flag and played "taps". I've always been easy on introductions, Its the good byes that cut deep and seem to never heal. I have no idea how folks can just get up and move away from place to place, true friends are hard to come by and life long friendships are to damn valuable. Preston will be missed. Please keep his family in your prayers.
Below is the Marks Street Goober gang minus Beckett.
Below is Sammy and our good friend Will. Gator was to busy brushing off fire ants and throwing rocks at the space shuttle.
So today I decided to take the kids to the beach to watch the space shuttle launch. The boys have seen launches, however, never up close. About an hour before leaving I got a phone call telling me traffic to the coast was stacked. I called Carelle and Brad and told them to grab their bikes and meet me at Orlando Wetlands Park. We drove out to the park and made our way on bikes to the Seminole forest (SWAMP!) and a great dry overlook of the St Johns river valley (BIG SWAMP!) on the dirt track out to my secret spot the grass was about three feet high. I was riding out front to kind of break trail and my friend Will peddled behind me toting the boys in a Bob trailer. Cruising a long a a good clip to keep the bugs off me I noticed something moving in the grass making its way to the trail. I sped up thinking it might be a good sized snake or river otter. About ten feet prior to hitting the moving grass, a six foot well feed alligator stood up and hissed at me. I about flipped over the handle bars squezzing the brakes so hard. When I stopped I was three feet away from a very large, wide open white, hissing gator mouth that began to make its way to me. I jumped off the back of my bike and walked (ran while whimpering) backwards and motioned for Will and the boys to stop so they didn't smack in to it. When I said "hey theres a gator" my son Gator unbuckled himself from the trailer and started walking towards me asking where? and let me get it daddy! We had to make a wide circle around the gator thru shallow water. Sammy said to me as we passed the gator, "daddy, will it be dark when we ride back to the car?" While laughing I snapped off the picture below. You can see how he's hunkered down below the grass. Like he was waiting to snap up what ever passed him on the trail.