Florida Love Hate



CrackerhouseI’m walking past artist booths on Venice Island Florida, five blocks from my current house, cell phone to my ear, when I see the photograph. I stop, hard. My eyes stay with the picture, like maybe it’s going to disappear from its white pegboard wall. I end my call. “What’s the story behind this photograph,”
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Belle Glade

  Belle Glade, Florida I’ve already passed LaBelle, then Clewiston. Final destination: West Palm Beach. The music is loud (U2’s Rattle and Hum) – way too loud, probably, since I know I should pay attention on two-lane roads in rural Florida. Especially at dusk. Still, there are canals or sugar cane fields on both sides
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One thing I hate: the dumping of dead souvenirs across tacky cash register counters. Big smiles! Wait til the cousins see this stuff! Not even coral is sacred. What should tourists take back to Michigan (or wherever)? Not a mother’s baby’s head. Nor an infant floating in formaldehyde. Not 25 rare shells from Sanibel. This
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If you travel from one side of Florida to the other, especially if you cross the center of the state, you will see cows. What kind of cows? Black and Red Angus, Brahman, Red Poll, Hereford or Simmental stock – or possibly hybrids of these. If you’re super-duper lucky, you might see some small, horned
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Road Kill Gator

I have a history with Florida. Apollo rockets flashing fire across our backyard night sky, stands of cypress in the distance, scrub palmetto scratching lines across my legs, horses, always horses, and murky water. Mine is not the touristy slice, although my dad did take my sister and I camping in Ft. Wilderness when Disney World opened. I was eight. I've been here my whole life. And I want to leave. God, I am desperate to leave. But I love Florida. And I despise it, too. Fear her, even. Because I don't just see palm trees and beaches. I don't stoop for shells anymore. My Florida is dark and dangerous.
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Copyright © 2019 Kerri Dieffenwierth