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Barbara A. Whittington

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Member Since: Apr, 2012

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Looking for the Good Life!
By Barbara A. Whittington
Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Sometimes the "good life" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Read on...

One winter, we took a trip to Florida to visit my sister who lives in a community built on a golf course.  At its core is a beautiful community center with something for everyone from painting to swimming to golf.

We fell in love with the good life.

The good life floated in our heads as we drove through an ice storm coming home. It took only a few weeks of cold slush for us to say, “Let’s move to Florida."

We’d go slow. Do nothing without thinking it through.

We called a realtor. A sign was up by dark. It would take months to sell, we thought. We’d have plenty of time to think about it.

The first couple to walk through the house bought it, giving us thirty days to vacate.

The next week we bought a house in the golf course community. Our Florida yard was enclosed with swaying palms and flowering hibiscus. We bought a golf cart and rode through the neighborhood congratulating ourselves on our new fabulous life.

Back in Ohio, we threw away. Gave away. Sold. Soon we had the “stuff” of 40 years down to a manageable lot that fit into a 50 foot truck which our son-in-law drove to the Gulf Coast.

The Ohio house had been meticulously kept, with everything new and updated. The five year old house down south was right down needy.  While my husband hired workers who replaced floors, stripped wallpaper, painted, put in new countertops and rebuilt our dream home, I had time to think -  about our children and grandchildren who were 900 miles away. It didn't console me to know the airport was nearby.

Though I've done my share of air travel, I'm beginning to adopt the attitude of my stepfather who said if God had meant us to fly he would have given us wings. His feet never left the ground. Therefore, I now save all my air travel for emergencies.

As the weeks passed I visited the dream house. There were men bearing jackhammers and whistling as they worked over the stone patio or hoisting ladders to blow insulation into the attic.  By then it was June and HOT as Hades.

I knew I'd be riding in a box soon and using up my air time quickly if I didn't  call a halt to the good life. I begged to go home. Forget the new furniture ordered and the boxes stored in the garage. I wanted to go for a break, a reprieve. A trip to see my grandbabies. Perhaps a quick trip to our doctor for some feel good meds. I was going to have to be drugged if I was to enjoy the good life.

After seeing the children and being able to breath again without anxiety attacks, I decided I couldn't live in the dream house, in the fantasy world I’d created in my head.

I wanted to be back in drought ridden dreary Ohio. Where often ice storms in the winter keep us housebound. Where tornadoes sometimes touch down too close for comfort, where on any given day I can see my children and grandchildren.

After a month we went back south. We packed the few things we'd unpacked, rented a truck, called our son in law to fly down and drive the truck home. Ah, home!

By then the house in Florida was truly a dream home. We sold it to a couple from Indiana who were in search of the good life. I hope they found what they were looking for. As for me, I'm content being in another house on a little piece of land back in Ohio.

All this was several years ago but I often think back on the experience and realize I gained more than I lost. We live near one daughter, another lives not far away and while the youngest is eight hrs away by car, I can still get to her in a day when I am longing to see her and her family.

Sometimes without even looking for it, the good life finds us.

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Reviewed by Carol Marlene Smith 5/26/2012
Enjoyed this story and it is oh so true. The good life is where your family is. As the old saying goes, it's not where you live but who you live with, or maybe that's not an old saying. I found that out in Arizona when all the beautiful weather and leisure time couldn't compare to knowing all my family was back home, where at the moment I would have rather been even in a snow storm.

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