Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cardinal Red

If you're going to do something stupid and suffer the consequences - blame your sister. It sometimes worked during my childhood, so I'll try it again.

I had a day off so Ma-Le and I wasted some precious dinosaur juice and drove across the Everglades to Jupiter to see my World Champion St.Louis Cardinals play the New York Mets in spring training (Cards 5-Mets 4).

We stopped along the way at Lake Okeechobee and in the Everglades Agricultural area, a vast "reclaimed" wetland of several million acres that is the source of most U.S. sugar and the greatest consumer of water from Lake Okeechobee. Water that once flowed through our greatest wetland is now stored and poured onto these agricultural areas when and where they need the water. I won't bore you with more stories of drought. So here's a picture of the lake from today. Normally the lake would spread out across the marsh you see beyond the boat. It's quite a bit lower than normal. I don't blame my sister for this. Later at the game, I realized I forgot the sunscreen again and ended up with a fantastic burn on my knees and the right side of my face. It's truly a nice shade of Cardinal Red. Can't wait for work tomorrow. You'd think I'd learn. I don't blame my sister for this either. After the game we stopped at my Grandmother's and took her out to dinner and then headed across Alligator Alley at around 9 pm. The Alley stretches 70 miles across the Everglades and with the exception of the Micasukee Indian Reservation gas station that closes early on Sundays, there are no gas stations for the entire stretch. Just before we got onto the interstate, my sister Tiffany called and we talked for a good 25 minutes. When I hung up the phone, we were somewhere in the middle of North America's largest wetland and my "low gas" light came on. We were at mile marker 72 - the nearest gas station was at marker 101. Could my truck make it 29 miles with the gauge on "E". Keep in mind, this is what the night sky looks like in the Everglades. You get a great view of the stars, far from the Megalopolis of Miami/FortLauderdale/Hollywood/PamBeach/Jupiter/DelRay/Dayton. Of course I'm just planning my spin for when the car coughs to a stop and I've stranded us in the middle of my favorite nowhere. Ma-Le suggested the truck shaking was probably a sign that it was running out. I didn't wish to tell her it was probably me shaking. We made it to exit 101 and filled the tank with a record amount of fuel for my truck. I guess I can't blame my sister for this either since it was something that was entirely my fault. And no need to call AAA and tell them I ran out of gas at "the office". One more trip safely through the Everglades, and the darkness hid my embarrassment from Ma-Le who couldn't see in the darkness for those last 29 miles that the rest of my face was also Cardinal Red.
(edit - the little cartoon JunglePete, which gets more comments than anything, which is a bad sign...should be wearing a Cardinals Jersey which actually provides at a certain cost, which I'm unwilling to pay! So he's road blues....not mets or cubs blue.....)


  1. Interesting to read that the Lake Okeechobee area is the world's largest source of sugar and the lake is low.

    Please refer back to blog "Coffee:Cream, no Salt" I believe you actually take EXTRA sugar in your coffee.

    Does this make you a hypocrit?

    Lion of Fire

  2. The US government has promoted sugar cane farms in the Everglades. Farmers are heavily subsidized and make billions every year. We can't get sugar from Cuba anymore, so we get it from the swamp. I'd say I'm not a hypocrite, because I have not criticized people for using sugar. I'm criticizing the use of a floodplain for subsidized sugar farming, which subsequently has virtually destroyed the Everglades.

    I have attempted to use "Spelenda" which touts "it tastes like sugar, because it comes from sugar." which turns out to be a lie. It's a chemical creation that may be carcinogenic. So I've switched back to sugar, which I use less of. Maybe I'll switch to salt. It's an acquired taste.

    If we discontinue our failed embargo with Cuba, the Cubans can manage sugar cane fields there which are less environmentally damaging than what we have here and we can import it. Now who wants to call me a communist?

  3. I must note that while stating that I was to be blamed, I was, in fact, not actually responsible for the lack of water in Florida or any of Pete's acts of poor judgement. However, as a mom, I shall do my best in the future to nag more often regarding the sunscreen issue - buy a few bottles & keep one in your car - it comes in hand.