Alligators Take Over

A face only a mother could love.

It was that time of year in Florida, spring migration. No sooner had the snowbirds began departing, then in moved the reptiles on their scaly, little, tippy toes.

Snowbirds start flapping their wings in March, preparing for their long trek north. Some fly, some drive, while others ride the auto train, but no matter how they go by May, ‘The Season’ is over. With every departing car carrier, the streets become less congested and spaces abound in Publix’s parking lots. Florida slips into summer mode. Son-in-law, Dave, cheers every northbound transporter, as part time residents leave the southernmost state for northern climes. You might even spot him driving on Northlake, a boulevard he avoids half the year.

Most snowbirds leave in the spring and return in the fall but not Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill shrugs at the usual split of the shoulder seasons and prefers spending springtime down south and fall up north. He lingers until June, resisting his native’s state’s siren call, opting for the warmth of a Floridian spring, to Connecticut’s offering of damp, chilly weather. Does he miss the early blooming crocus, daffodils and tulips? Does he miss the flowering of lilac, forsythia and rhododendron? Apparently not. And what of the furry little creatures that emerge from their winter homes to say hello? Their absence does not make Mr. Bill’s heart grow fonder, for he has found new friends aplenty. He’s captivated by Great Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, lizards and alligators. Well, perhaps not all alligators. There was that one rude gator who ignored golf etiquette, while Mr. Bill was playing a round and with jaws opened wide, launched himself from the water hazard, snapping at Mr. Bill. Now perhaps he was only popping up to wish Mr. Bill, Bon Voyage and wasn’t annoyed by the errant golf ball, disturbing the off season peace. However, it’s more likely that he wished to tell this over stayer to leave! Thankfully, Mr. Bill is fast on his feet and there wasn’t an, “Oh no, Mr. Bill!” moment.

With seasonal change comes a shift in the natural order. Keeping one’s eyes open is a must, lest you miss something odd; unless you are fortunate to have an advance scout pointing out the sights, as does Mr. Bill. When biking Mr. Bill, ever the gentleman, invariably lets me lead, thereby allowing me to set the pace (See Iron Lady March 4, 2020). It was a lovely day in May of ’22, when we set off for a leisurely ride around the neighborhood. The sidewalks were empty of the usual foot traffic and we were cruising. I was in the lead scanning the route ahead, when I spied with my little eye, two eyes looking back at me. As I drew closer, the eyes grew bigger. There on the verge behind a pile of fallen palm fronds, was a pair of unblinking peepers, staring back at me. I was excited and slowed down, hoping to catch a glimpse of an iguana, before it scurried away. It didn’t. Instead, it raised its horny head. I was thrilled. First the splotchy, greenish, brown forehead that was so cleverly camouflaged by the brush emerged, then the eyes and horrors a long snout! Not a lizard! Alligator!

I braked and yelled, “Stop”! Mr. Bill called out what’s wrong but all I could manage was, “stop, stop, STOP”!, which seemed to annoy him. I came to a hard stop and Mr. Bill had to swerve to avoid crashing into me. “What’s wrong, why did you stop”? an irritated Mr. Bill demanded but I had lost my words and could only point. Mr. Bill looked. He easily found his words, of which, alligator, is the only one fit to print. Now fully revealed the alligator began approaching us, as if to the claim the sidewalk. We gave it a wide berth. After all, sharing the sidewalks is the common etiquette in PGA. Besides he was just a wee fellow and would not have yet learned, that sharing is caring. And more importantly, we did not know if he was traveling solo. He inched toward the Avenue of The Masters. Too busy. He corrected course and continued on the now vacated sidewalk. Mr. Bill had my back. He searched for laggers while I recorded. Always assessing a situation, Mr. Bill determined that the alligator was too small to drag us but those sharp teeth would do some damage and we’d likely get a nasty infection. We wondered where had he come from? We were some distance from the closest water, for a creature to wander on such small feet. I worried, would he make it safely to the next pond? Should we help? My tenderhearted friend, Kitty, always stops, to rescue turtles who are in harm’s way. What would kind Kitty do? I had a basket on my bike. Should we give this alligator a lift?

Mr. Bill pondered and prescribed a dose of Tough Love. We let the reptile be.

This entry was posted in Florida, Uncategorized, USA Travel, Animal stories, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Alligators Take Over

  1. Andrea says:

    Maureen, I am so glad to see a new post! Reading all the back posts and laughing out loud. Give my best to Mr. Bill. See you in the Nutmeg State soon. Andrea


  2. Atlanta says:

    Always a chuckle reading your stories 😄


  3. Jill says:

    Another winner! Love your sense of humor.


  4. Kc Armour says:

    Don’t you just love the alligators here in Florida!
    I love reading your escapades 🐊


  5. Pauline Bellamy says:

    This is a great story! Always enjoy your sense of humor! Glad you had Mr. Bill to keep you safe while you recorded!


  6. Janis says:

    David says he remembers that Bill look of horror outside New World! Great to hear your news Maureen…always interesting! We’re here in Ohope…missing your laughter! 😂


  7. Muriel Wagner says:

    I’ve missed your wonderful articles.
    This was such a fun read.


  8. Debbie Mendelson says:

    In the color of a gator, I am commenting on this delightful Mr. Bill tale. I have had 3 sets of company in the last few weeks so that I just saw Alligators Take Over. I too am looking forward to snowbirds leaving even though I am one of them. I will be having my last visitors March 25-April 4 but I can’t wait to see them – my son, d-i-l and 2 grands ages 4 & 2 /12. Then Paul and I fly back April 4 -11 to be with all the family for Passover. From April 12 until we leave mid May I plan to relish the emptier streets and stores. I look forward to not filling the refrigerator and planning more meals only to have to trash the overage I always end up buying for company. Sitting by the pool or on the beach with a good book and a cool drink will be so welcome.

    Maybe even golfing a few rounds of 9 holes. Are you still golfing? Are you around? I see you sometimes take classes but I haven’t.

    Anyway, I am so glad to have read this latest post and thoroughly enjoyed the story and style with which you compose your stories. I hope to see you around before we leave in May.

    Take care and continue pursuing your Travels with Mr. Bill writings. I love reading them. XOXO Debbie



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