Have you ever heard of Myakka City, Florida? Neither had we, and we did not plan to go there, until we went on a long drive to see a ballgame and mistakenly took a road that led us to Miller’s General Store.
I took the boy to see the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field and saw a great game- 500 home runs for Big Papi- 2 in the same game- Go Sox! We drove from Palm Beach and stayed over in St. Petersburg, FL near the stadium. It was a good idea to stay close by as they had a shuttle ready.
Anyway, it was very exciting to see the game, but one of the best parts for me was the drive over and back. Which brings me to Myakka- on the way over we drove up the turnpike and fought the rabble of tourists falling over each other to run you over. On the way back though we took the “back” route, and enjoyed the sense of adventure it provided.
A light rain had just begun to fall, and we sat outside for a minute watching the clouds come over the horizon. We ended up staying for a half and hour or so and just watched the world go by. The picture above is Miller’s General Store, and it was about as crusty in a positive was as that phrase can be. (See toilet picture below). But for a dad and son bonding experience it was great. Farmers and Harley Davidson lovers came past as we sat on an old picnic bench and said things like “it’s fixing to rain.” The son of the clerk yelled out in perfect English that a customer had arrived and needed help “right away!” To that his dad responded in very broken English, before coming back to give the man a single beer. Other highlights were older men with weather-beaten arms and full red and white beers, pickup trucks, and people buying the morning paper with coins, in the only machine for miles.
It all had a meditative quality to it, sitting and watching the weather as cars sped past on a one lane each way highway.
Eventually we left and got to a stretch of Martin Highway that is covered in trees for about 17 miles. We also saw tons of cows, horses, and even deer. It was cool.
I liked the experience for me and the boy. It felt different than times with his mother- not sure exactly why. Perhaps that he wasn’t overtly “learning” anything, we just kind of sat there like bumps on a log, watching things play out slowly. I felt myself breathing, and he seemed to look at me saying- “this is an odd pace, why aren’t you taking out the wipes?” But I didn’t, we just sat there, until we got back in the car and drove- and when people sped past me, I didn’t even bother to curse.
So that was Myakka, Florida- up the turnpike, busy rest stops, long drive over through Tampa’s traffic. Then a circular route back through St. Pete, south then across the state to Lake Okeechobee, Martin Highway, then I95 back down. I cannot wait to get on the road with the boy again.