Lake Parker Park

There is a park in Lakeland that is well maintained and picturesque as well as representing the lakes in Central Florida. You will see there (across from the Detroit Stadium practice field called Tiger Town) a little piece of Heaven. There are nicely paved walking trails with maps, restrooms (thank God for that but do take your own soap as they are clean but never seem to have restocked the soap), an enormous lake, a stream, some bridges, woods, a pretty great playground, obstacle course, volleyball courts, pavilions, benches, soccer courts, two tennis courts, a boat dock with pier, and a plethora of wildlife (human, vegetable and animal). There are some trusty alligators, of course. And about twelve million squirrels (a slight exaggeration) that may very well eat from your hand should you offer them peanuts. There are ibis (those white birds with the hooked beaks), heron, occasional swans, osprey (fish hawks), egrets, pipkins, moorhens (swamp chicken that make a call very much like the guy laughing in “Wipe Out”), and ducks. Other come by also that are common everywhere like blackbirds, grackles, bluejays, cardinals, morning doves, etc. You will find a standard variety of plants and trees and it is well shaded in many areas. You are welcome to fish there but please don’t disturb the serenity with an obnoxiously loud motor. 🙂 And if you find too many children present or too much bustle on the main entrance to the park (on Granada), there is a backside to the park (on Lakeland Hills Blvd.) with separate parking, swing set, skate park, shuffleboard and more pavilions and a quieter walk. The park is recommended for its variety and interest and for accurately representing our very best of natural Central Florida. It is a lovely place to take the family and enjoy tech free entertainment. And yes, there is still such a thing.

Things I’ve Noticed Across America 2

Glendale, California (just a tad northeast of Los Angeles and right next to Burbank) was very different. The people there are truly brilliant or even if they are not brilliant, they hope and aspire to be. The culture there is rich and diverse and full of art and singing and life, busy, busy, busy. There is a sense that people are only important if they can get you something or somewhere. Hope is very high as is faith and drama and never have I seen so many people hoping to be discovered. I jammed with some folks on Sunset strip and wondered why everyone makes a big deal about it- studios are much bigger and cleaner elsewhere. Great musicians! No parking. Very expensive place, though, in many ways. I found myself alone though surrounded by scenery and people. I guess I like open spaces and time alone to think. Unique experience. Onward to Lakeland, Florida (half way between Tampa and Orlando). Here is where I hang my hat now. It is a big city with small town feel only Southern. There is a mix of snowbird (retired folks who come down to avoid winter and fly back north when spring comes), transplants and natives (of which I have maybe met 20 or so). It has a blend of redneck and non-redneck and I have never seen so many people driving trucks and large SUVs in my life. Inland enough to avoid most tropical storms, it is lovely year round weather, all things considering. Mosquitoes will about kill you and many more kinds of bugs are here than I’ve ever seen in my life. However, the non-fragrant flowers and tropical plants are colorful and amazing year round. And I get a kick out of seeing alligators in every lake. For that reason, you only swim in pools here. Big Bible belt here and you can find a church about anywhere. The best friends I’ve met here were actually old friends from up north. Funny thing really, most folks have their little groups established and you just can’t seem to get in. Bustles of activity and many people would rather go broke than miss a year of Disney annual passes. Large (hundreds of families) home school here, so there is a lot of support for that here. I need to go back to a couple places I missed on my travel reminiscences. I spent two summers at Beechwood Lake Camp in Bloomfield, Indiana, which is in southern rural Indiana. It’s beauty and clever trickery of the imaginative road designs boggles the mind. It is a place you would love to relax in but always are compelled to work in. There is peace and calm there. You don’t go there for the intensive busyness or intellectual conversations (no offense) but for stimulating natural beauty, getting back to nature and Spiritual roots. What amazing people are there! So loving and welcoming! On to Johnson City, Tennessee on my next installment. Continue reading “Things I’ve Noticed Across America 2”