Home Away from Home

How is it possible that someone spending a winter in Florida could possibly miss northern Minnesota. The other night I attended my kindergarten granddaughter’s (Grace) Christmas program at her school. Saint Ann School is a large complex offering classes up to eighth grade. The crowd filled a rather large auditorium–I’d guess 300+ parents and relatives. Now i’ve been down here, and connected to the school in one way or another, for eight winters. Grandson Jack attended for three years. Anyhow, among all those in attendance I knew about five people, none of whom I know very well. I go to church, WalMart, the supermarkets, Walgreens, etc. without seeing a familiar face. Granted, here in Naples Land and Yacht Harbor where I reside, I have great neighbors–mostly from the Boston area. It’s already my fifth year in a park of 360 residences and, beyond my next door neighbors, I probably know eight or ten other people well enough to engage them in conversation. i will say that I’ve never met anybody here that is rude or unfriendly, but I guess I stay too close to home. There are activities of every imaginable kind . . . so many that I couldn’t begin to name them all. If you’re into woodcarving or chess or any sport (including bocce), bingo, Sunday brunch, dances, boating, poker, trivia contests . . . the list goes on. The only activity that I’ve participated in is trivia.
Now, the problem isn’t the people here in my little community . . . it’s me.
Upon self-analysis I realize that it’s much the same back home in Hibbing. I simply don’t get involved in much of anything. But, at the same time, I know hundreds of people and see them almost everywhere I go. When I go to Mass I know most of the people in the pews surrounding me. Yet, I wouldn’t say that I’m involved in church-related activities very often. If asked, I’m willing to help with whatever the project might be . . . but rarely do I actively volunteer.
Am I describing a classic introvert? Perhaps. Yet give me a microphone or a stage and I think I come across as an extrovert. Conclusion, as much we are the center of our own existence we often don’t really know who or what we are. Of course, as I used to teach in psychology at Hibbing High, we use others as we do mirrors to get impressions of who we are.
The other day someone asked me if I could live here in Naples year-around, despite the heat and humidity of summer, and I said “No.” The reason is probably that I’m just not home. Home is Hibbing where I’ve spent my adult life and as I write this blog I’ve got a slight case of ‘homesickness’.
In the past two weeks since arriving in Naples I’ve not walked the lovely beaches once. Nor have I biked more than a couple of times, and I didn’t even bring golf clubs along with me. So, my God McGauley, what in hell do you do all day? If I were to describe my daily routines you might think I’m looney. Morning Mass, three hours or so of writing, a decent walk, an afternoon Netflix movie, and reading a good book after dinner. Things I could be doing almost anywhere.
That’s about it for this afternoon . . . only got up to 68 today . . . what a relief from the low eighties.
Tell me I’m not looney.

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