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Downwind From Kramer

A cold snap roared into Florida just when I arrived for a vacation and wanted sun and heat. Rain accompanied the cold. I'm downwind from Tommy Wayne Kramer. That's not news. I’m always downwind from him, whether he’s in Ukiah or North Carolina where he happened to be for Christmas. I guess the AVA has reporters on the East Coast as well as the West Coast. I'm still in Florida, Vero Beach to be precise, on an island that's accessible by a bridge or two from the mainland that crosses over a body of water known as Indian River. It's no river at all but rather a lagoon. I’m the houseguest of a friend who divides her time between Vero and Norcal, winter in Vero and summer In Norcal.

The house has 11 bedrooms. I’m in the back of this sprawling house with palm trees all around and most of the houses in this neighborhood are not occupied, except for two weeks of the year I'm told. Actually they’re not houses, but mansions and not really mansions either, but monsters that look like hotels for the elite. This time of the year Vero is home to snowbirds from cold climes who come for the sun. I met some of them at the Saturday open-air farmer's market where I bought chard and garlic and beef, which I cooked and ate while watching the 49ers beat Seattle.

Florida is another country. At a meeting of nature lovers no one was under the age of 70 and no one but me wore a hat. The audience members were all white, as were the speakers. I saw one Black person at a grocery store yesterday. I'm told there is a Black neighborhood. Latinos do the yard work for the rich people. 

I’m here for today and tomorrow and then I fly to Mexico to visit more Norcal friends who fled from rain and cold two decades ago and who blend in with their Mexican neighbors. So I’ll be way downwind from Kramer and in yet another country and keeping an eye out for stories for readers of the AVA who are stuck at home.

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