Since I had no one scheduled for a #GuestDayTuesday post this morning, I decided to drop by for a chat, myself. It occurred to me the other day that probably 99% of my blogging and writing friends have only “known me” since I published my first book in 2013. I was 69 years old at the time, and well past my prime. (And I hereby confess that the following ‘almost 10 years’ have definitely taken me even farther down that particular road.)
After pondering this revelation for a while, I decided I’d share proof of the fact that I really was was young once. (And slim … ish.) And I truly did spend vast quantities of time canoeing, hiking, and camping in various forests. Plus, I was a volunteer with what was once the “Florida” Audubon Society, and a docent at the Central Florida Zoo. My love of wildlife and nature has been with me all my life, and here’s a bit of evidence for those of you who just can’t picture this crazy ol’ lady doing those kinda things.
Here I am at the Zoo, doing one of my favorite things: leading groups of school children through the exhibits, telling them about the animals, and showing them interesting goodies like, in this case, a monkey’s skull. (Photo circa 1980 or so, otherwise known as the Era of Big Hair! 😀 )
And here I am doing my VERY FAVORITE Zoo “chore”– strolling about with a 5-foot long ball python which enjoyed being draped over my shoulders so visitors could touch it and discover that snakes are NOT slimy. (Nor are they always aggressive or harmful.) I would also carry around an even longer indigo snake now and then, but he was not as calm about being handled, and would squirm like crazy, trying his best to get away. The python seemed to enjoy the attention, so he was my usual companion. You’ll have to take my word on the size of this big boy, since in this picture, you can only see his tail wrapped around my left hand. My right hand was holding his head down low enough for a little boy to pat. If I ever find the good photo showing the entire snake completely at ease, I’ll share it, too.
As for loving hiking and camping, here’s a snapshot I also came across taken by Mark somewhere around 1982 as we headed into Ocala National Forest for the weekend. Mark would pack my backpack SO full, I had visions of me falling over backwards and lying there helpless, kicking my legs in the air like an overturned turtle, as he hiked off into the distance, oblivious to my distress. 😀 That’s Juniper Creek behind me, btw, an area we always loved exploring. (And I’m not really standing in the water, as it might appear. I’m actually on a slightly raised trail, a few feet away.)
So there you have photographic evidence that I had a fun and entertaining life in those days, and would probably still be doing the same kinda stuff today–though a bit more slowly, of course–if I hadn’t decided to pursue the one thing I loved even more: Writing!