Niagara Gazette — Like so many of the good friends I have come to know and love, or not over my lifetime, Mary and Walter Karwasinski lived most of their lives in the little universe where I grew up in Niagara Falls, but we did not get to know each other until we met in Florida way back in 2006 when I originally penned this piece.
I have long since lost touch with them, but they are still on my mind, as are the more than 50,000 former Niagarans who, like me, left here over the past fifty years. I often wonder, what would it take for them to come back home.
They were up here visiting family as they escaped the heavy weather of South Florida where the temperature often matches the humidity during the long, hot summer months. Sometimes it gets so hot and muggy down South, people are confined to their air conditioned homes leaving only when necessary to drive in air conditioned cars to the air conditioned doctors offices and clinics, out to dinner, if not for groceries, all big business, South of the Mason-Dixon Line.
It’s just way too hot to be outdoors during the day for any reason; too hot to even think about a walk on the beach, or a stroll in the park. No way!
An evening walk along the ever present canals and waterways could turn the unsuspecting after-dinner walker into a main course for the near bird sized mosquitoes, or a midnight snack for a hungry gator.
No, Florida, and most of the Deep South may not be the best place to spend a summer unless you’re tropically depressed and obsessively curious about hurricane development, and hopelessly addicted to air conditioning.
During a recent trip to visit family, I was amazed by the obsessive “news” coverage of crime in the streets, dog snacking alligators, and beach erosion. I guess after living down there as long as I did, I became immune to the constant barrage of weather bulletins, insect, pest control and air conditioner repair advertisements on television and radio, in the newspapers and on the giant billboards that line the city streets and highways.