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March 26, 2008

A PLEA FROM SEATTLE

Dear Dave,

I am from Seattle, WA, and am getting married in November.  My fiancee is from St. Petersburg, FL, and we are getting hitched in Sarasota.  Yesterday, for Easter dinner, my dad's family came over.  I was talking with my Aunt Shelly, and asked her if she is coming to the wedding.  She said (and I am not joking) "I don't want to go to Florida because Dave Barry makes fun of it so much."  I asked her if she would make it if Dave Barry wrote a column or blog about how great Florida is.  She said she would.
 
So give me a hand.  I am a big fan, after all.  I love your books, columns, blogs, and my new Dave Barry joke-a-day square toilet paper.  I love my Aunt Shelly, and I want her at my wedding.  It is a good prompt, too.  A column on how good Florida is.  Should be easy. 
 
Sincerely,
Paul Graves

Dear Paul --

Tell Aunt Shelly she has absolutely nothing to worry about. Sarasota is in a very quiet, safe part of Florida, completely out of rifle range from Miami. It's a wealthy community with basically no crime, except for the occasional arrest for servant-flogging (a misdemeanor). So there should be no problem, as long as you are not so foolish as to hold your wedding during hurricane season (June through the following June).

Best,

Dave

p.s. I invite the blog commenters to add reasons why Aunt Shelly will enjoy Florida.

Comments

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Mosquitos big enough to carry your luggage! And they don't cost you a (whole) arm and a (whole) leg!

Anyone so completely exhausted from the political foot race the country is consumed by will love Florida. We have done everything in our power to evade our responsibilty in selecting the Leader Of The Free World to the point of attaining admiration from such philosphical giants as Jay Leno and John Stewart.

*zips in*™

The Marlins!!! Always giving people a laugh.
Signed,
Yankees fan

Well, just for the diagonal WA/FL route alone. Then you can travel from Maine to California and effectively make one big "X" over the whole U.S. of A. I like setting goals like that.

Ooh, mickle - it wasn't the mosquitoes for me. When I lived there, the no-see-ums made a FEAST off my arms and legs on a daily basis.

On the bright side, Aunt Shelly always has the possibility of going home in with a shiny new alligator bag! After they shoot the one that is chasing her across the back lawn, that is.

Come on down, Aunt Shelly!! You would LOVE our weather (210 degrees with 500% humidity), our wild life (crocodiles seem to attack if you're walking a small dog, so leave FiFi at home), our ethnic diversity (habla Español??) and our respect for our senior citizens (as can be seen when touring the lovely nursing homes senior communities all throughout Florida).

Mosts of all, Dave's here.

Florida has nice airports(?), wonderful hotels, and polite shuttle drivers. That sums up my last 2 visits. Aunt Shelly, you will have the added excitement of visiting a church and catering hall. Enjoy.

You always need a place to make fun of, so that home seems so much nicer when you return.
Aunt Shelly, if it helps at all, on the wedding day we could host a 'Don't Diss the Peninsula State' Day. Florida jokes could be taboo for 24 hours, kinda like we tried to do for the French surrendering. Hey, we tried.
And *snork* @ El for her Marlins slur.

Hey! My brother and sister-in-law are in the process of relocating from Williamsburg, VA to Sarasota!

Tell your Aunt Shelley that she will love Sarasota! Instead of swimming with Orcas, she can swim with sharks, many of whom enjoy being hand-fed!

At least it's not Georgia.

Well, my experience with Florida is limited but I can honestly say Florida is great if you don't want to be bothered by a bunch of fascist driving laws. Viva la revolucion!

*snork* @ 'hand-fed!'

Siouxie...that's just Miami! Really, Sarasota is one of the prettiest cities in Florida, and depending on Aunt Shelly's marital status, Sarasota is a great place to hook up -- lots of unmarried men (unlike Miami where the man/woman ratio is like 1 to 100).

However, as in all sections of Fla, watch out for the Palmetto bugs-actually recent immigrants from Cuba-they often fail to knock before entering.

*glares @ El*

Oh and Aunt Shelly?? When you get there, say "HI" to my daughter. If Sarasota's good/safe enough for her, you'll be fine.

Things in Sarasota have really calmed down ever since Pee Wee Herman got busted there. Things like this hardly ever happen anymore. Much. In public. Kinda.
Sigh.

daisy, I agree. I go there a lot since my daughter's at college there. I love it.

Hmmm...didn't know it was a place to "hook up". I may be going there more often now ;-)

Well, according to the Sarasota 911 call logs for the last two days, there were mostly car accidents and fires. If Aunt Shelly wears her seatbelt and avoids sitting next to the bunsen burners at the reception table everything should be ok.

Daisymae, don't scare her talking about Palmetto bugs. Aunt Shelly, the lizards on the walls take care of the bugs.

Don't break down in non-incorporated areas. Just a hint.

a. Thank goodness it's not Georgia.
b. Great thing about visiting Sarasota is that you don't have go through the Villages in Lady Lake to get there.
c. Bring your kayak! Florida is one big swamp that's great for paddling, if you don't mind alligators looking at you hungrily.

ellie, I wouldn't wanna burn my bunsens, either!

Sioux, could you hold off on your Sarasota cougar trip? We're tryin' to convince Aunt Shelly to visit, and well, you just might scare her off. Thanks.

Gotcha, Annie. Although judging from most of the Sarasotans I've seen around, I'd be more like a cub (iykwim - aityd). (Remember I'm going for rich/old/almost dead). Then I can be a cougar ;-P grrrrrrowwwwwwwwl

Annie, Paul mentioned Aunt Shelly, but not an uncle. If Aunt Shelly is single perhaps she and Sioux can hit the town together!

Reasons for Aunt Shelly to go to Florida:

1) Experience humidity in a different form than Seattle's

2) Maybe vote (that maybe counts)

3) Flipper used to live there

4) You just don't see that many huge American cars on the road anywhere else

5) The Tupperware Museum

6) See some Cubans before they all repartriate after Castro croaks

7) Is the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater still there? That's not a reason, necessarily, I just wondered

8) Take in the view from a completley flat landscape unobstructed by hills, mountains or other points of interest

9) Seashell-encrusted tchotchkes

10) A swamp the size of Rhode Island

sorry, i'm stumped.

Ok - ellie & Sioux have convinced me to rescind my Siouxie ban. Although with Siouxie as an escort, Aunt Shelly may never leave!

Word of mouth, since I've never been to Florida:

1. Getting a driver's license is so easy, even a caveman could do it

2. You don't need to worry about voting in the next election, since the precinct workers do it for you

3. Tours of Dave Barry's office are popular with the tourists, most of whom have learned to sprinkle bread crumbs behind them as they go so they can find their way back out

4. Fistfights between Disney World mascots and tourists bring in large crowds

5. If you can hide under your bed till the hurricane blows over, that's when you find the biggest and prettiest shells washed up on the beach

6. Some of the local lizards are authorized to save you a ton of money on your car insurance

7. The theme from the great TV series "Miami Vice" is piped into all the elevators

8. Many local doctors who read Dave's column now offer half off on colonoscopies

9. There's always a chance you'll bump into David Caruso on the street

10. Since there are plenty of other activities to keep Aunt Shelly occupied, you may be pleased to find that the Miami hookers don't charge anywhere near as much as they do in New York

When I lived in Florida, I got the worst sunburn of my life in Sarasota, so Aunt Shelly is guaranteed some sunshine! After always-rainy Washington *ducks* it should be a nice reminder that the sun does still exist.

Your money goes a very long way in Florida. Politicians are bargains compared to elsewhere.

And what other state is virtually owned by a frozen mouse cartoonist?

Does Aunt Shelley have roofing skills? 'Nuf said.

Aunt Shelly, don't listen to them. Sarasota is a lovely place to spend time. The weather is generally delightful, the people are friendly without being obnoxious and the crime stays much further south.

ellie, you may have a point there!

Hey Paul??? can I crash the wedding and take Aunt Shelly out on the prowl town???

Aunt Shelley, my mom has spent the winters in Naples, not far from Miami on the west coast, for over fifteen years. She has never had any problem with alligators, crocodiles, muggers, crazy people with hand guns or sharks. Naples, like Sarasota, is a very tame community. Her only complaint is that the foliage grows so fast that it's hard to keep up with pruning it, but I doubt you'll be doing any landscaping during your visit. It is nice and warm in Florida. I checked the weather channel and you have the same dreadful weather as we have in Massachusetts: 38 degrees, feels like 32, and cloudy. Also, when you go down there you do have to wear as many clothes, a very pleasant convenience. My #1 favorite thing about Florida is you do not have to wear pantyhose.

*hands Christine an extra "not"*

Neither Britney nor Paris live there. You're good to go, Aunt Shelley.

More Canadians than Canada

More New Yorkers than New York. (oops, was that out loud?)

november?! she could take a side trip to miami and see the book fair!

No Tancredo (unless someone doesn't curb their dog).

By the time the wedding rolls around in November, the mass migration from the north will have started, so you'll be able to hang out not only with the natives but with all the delightful folks from New York, Chicago, Cleveland...

judi, you're not just suggesting that because Dave's got a strump date, are you? (NTTAWWT)

Yes, judi! And see the RBR's. And maybe the Hunt!

Aunt Shelly can even stay at my place. We'll put her out back with CJ and the wildlife.

Sarasota midnight = 9PM. Even the criminals are fast asleep at 9

If Aunt Shelly doesn't come, a certain Pulitzer-winner may be forced to make fun of her hometown. Not that any of us would ever want that to happen.

remember the 'early bird' home invasions end at 8:30 p.m. ...

I hear they do great colonoscopies.

And it's not Illinois.

AWBH: By coinkidink, I'd just been checking Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need to see what he'd written about Washington and found a couple of compelling reason for Aunt Shelly or anyone else to leave Seattle -- giant slugs and active volcanoes! (which is better, I guess, than active slugs and giant volcanoes.) Although, granted, if the volcano goes off, that takes care of the slug problem.

Either way, slugs and lava both move fairly slowly, so that explains why people in Seattle all keep mountain bikes handy.

i heard if you sprinkle lava on slugs they dissolve!

Yes, Dave makes fun of Florida. He also lives there. There must be something good about it other than excellent column fodder.

You could be visiting the home state of the next President, Yes, of the United States.

Things should be perfectly safe where you're getting married.

Remember: Really, really old people live in Miami.

Their parents live in Sarasota.

I've only visited Florida once, but really enjoyed it and hope to return. The very same lizards which we pay good money for here in (PA) pet stores can be had, for free, anywhere in your lovely tropical environment!

Paul,
If half the family's from Seattle and half from Florida, meet everyone halfway. Omaha is a lovely place to get married.

Dear Aunt Shelley:

Here are four good reasons to visit Florida:
1) The population is less inbred than neighboring states.

2) Alligators keep the panther population down.

4) The hunting is good during Tourist Season.

I think I am now with Auntie Shelley.

David Caruso doesn't really live there.

Tell her to book an Amtrak journey. Once she's through that she'll be glad to be anywhere in Florida.

11 Coast Starlight

Seattle, WA
(SEA)
9:45 am
08-NOV-08 Sacramento, CA
(SAC)
6:15 am
09-NOV-08 20h 30m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage, Onboard wheelchair ramp 1 Reserved Coach Seat
6 California Zephyr

Sacramento, CA
(SAC)
10:09 am
09-NOV-08 Chicago, IL
- Union Station
(CHI)
3:50 pm
11-NOV-08 51h 41m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage, Onboard wheelchair ramp 1 Reserved Coach Seat
30 Capitol Limited

Chicago, IL
- Union Station
(CHI)
7:05 pm
11-NOV-08 Washington, DC
- Union Station
(WAS)
1:30 pm
12-NOV-08 17h 25m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage, Onboard wheelchair ramp 1 Reserved Coach Seat
97 Silver Meteor

Washington, DC
- Union Station
(WAS)
7:30 pm
12-NOV-08 Orlando, FL
(ORL)
12:55 pm
13-NOV-08 17h 25m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage 1 Reserved Coach Seat
6097 Bus

Orlando, FL
(ORL)
1:30 pm
13-NOV-08 Sarasota, FL
(SRA)
5:35 pm
13-NOV-08 4h 5m Checked baggage 1 Reserved Thruway Seat

Wench - then give her a hug from me.

I shall, Annie.

Ham, the alligators take care of the panthers but not the cougars. There's a difference.

She said it wasn't as good as the real thing.

Tell her to book an Amtrak journey. Once she's through that she'll be glad to be anywhere in Florida.

11 Coast Starlight

Seattle, WA
(SEA)
9:45 am
08-NOV-08 Sacramento, CA
(SAC)
6:15 am
09-NOV-08 20h 30m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage, Onboard wheelchair ramp 1 Reserved Coach Seat
6 California Zephyr

Sacramento, CA
(SAC)
10:09 am
09-NOV-08 Chicago, IL
- Union Station
(CHI)
3:50 pm
11-NOV-08 51h 41m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage, Onboard wheelchair ramp 1 Reserved Coach Seat
30 Capitol Limited

Chicago, IL
- Union Station
(CHI)
7:05 pm
11-NOV-08 Washington, DC
- Union Station
(WAS)
1:30 pm
12-NOV-08 17h 25m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage, Onboard wheelchair ramp 1 Reserved Coach Seat
97 Silver Meteor

Washington, DC
- Union Station
(WAS)
7:30 pm
12-NOV-08 Orlando, FL
(ORL)
12:55 pm
13-NOV-08 17h 25m Dining car, Lounge, Checked baggage 1 Reserved Coach Seat
6097 Bus

Orlando, FL
(ORL)
1:30 pm
13-NOV-08 Sarasota, FL
(SRA)
5:35 pm
13-NOV-08 4h 5m Checked baggage 1 Reserved Thruway Seat

The airport's a lot prettier than Newark's Liberty International. Of course, so is Baghdad's.

Florida - It's where old people go to die!

We'd all be fine with that, Keilwerth, if they wouldn't take so long to do it.

Palmetto bugs can be used to move furniture, they can even be used AS moving furniture

Palmetto bugs can be used to move furniture, they can even be used AS moving furniture

Kevin - don't forget flying. Those suckers fly!

psssssst Aunt Shelly? who listens to Dave Barry anyways??

Dear Aunt Shelley,

You will have a great time in Florida because it is one of the "F" states. All "F" states are belong to us.

and the number one reason to visit Florida is:
Most of us bloggers won't be there

Are we having fun yet?

Diva - Palmetto bugs only fly when they drop off the ceiling as they start to die.

Is that a spammer I see?


*winks at Jazzzz*

Dang... Florida is a lot more exciting than I thought. Of course ,when I visit, I'm not near Miami (except for the airport) or Sarasota. Tell Aunt Shelley to take a chance. Who knows?

Aunt Shelly:
I've lived in Seattle and I live in St. Pete now, next big town north of Sarasota. Seattle and Sarasota are essentially the same place, except more sun and no annoying crick in your neck from looking up at tall buildings.

Now, flying into Tampa then driving down to Sarasota? Bwahahahaha! See you on Sio's back porch.

Tell Aunt Shelly that another attraction is that OJ lives there ... oh ... wait ... nevermind ...

1) Floridians cannot be blamed for whomever is the Democratic nominee.

2) It's shaped like a huge pen!s.

4) The only ice is in the drinks.

Aunt Shelly:

Read any Carl Hiaasen book to get in the mood for your Florida visit.

Cheese - got that right. I'd recommend "Tourist Season" (currently reading "Stormy Weather")

LOL Layzee - I forgot about the pen!s shape thing!

Also, if you croak here, you can still vote.

daisy - that is so not true! I lived there. I LOATHED those flying cockroaches. IIIIIIIIIIIIIICK.

I've only been carjacked twice, and I've lived here for 47 years. So, Aunt Shelly, your chances are really small! You're just visiting!

"Hey Europe, eat my Florida"......

All of these posts and no one mentioned "the hanging chads"; one of the seven wonders of modern day Florida

Florida: God's waiting room

My in-laws live in Sarasota, and I believe I can safely say: you will never be out of sight of a CVS Pharmacy unless you are physically inside a Wal-Greens. The reverse is also true.

Also, Aunt Shelly, your visit could lower the median age of the city. No, it makes no difference how old you are; odds are still with you.

Christopher, that is so true. Everytime I try to navigate around any city in Florida, I try to remember to turn at the corner where the Walgreens and CVS are. Uh, doesn't work to well down there. Circle K's usually there too.

Hi Aunt Shelly,

You will love gorgeous Sarasota, I am not kidding you. The Ringling residence on the water is so beautiful at sunset that I still remember loving it at 14 and I'm a grammaw now! Don't miss that place if you skip everything else.

I wish you a wonderful trip to Florida!

Hey Aunt Shelly,
I must confess that I am NOT a Florida lover by any s-t-r-e-t-c-h of the imagination, (sorry Siouxie and Suzyq and the rest of the Florida contingent)but if I MUST go there, Sarasota and Key West are 2 of my favs. That being said, you would also like to know that Gold Bond powder and Avon Skin So Soft will help you enjoy the state a whole lot more. If that's even English I am speakin'.

Yes - Avon SSS is an excellent tick & flea deterrent.
And we simply MUST know how all this turns out. Will Aunt Shelly attend? Will she have a good time? Will she really want to go back to Seattle?

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