Three stories

Last night, our family had dinner with a Florida family who went through the Chinese adoption process around the same time as we did, and went to China to get their little girl Zee just a week or so after we went to get the Ladybug.   The Queen B had met them online early on in the adoption wait through one of the many adoption sites she frequented, and they have since become good  family friends.

It was a charming evening.   The little girls played in the pool, and Zee’s mommy showed me the magic of water wings, which so befuddled the Ladybug’s many attempts to drown herself that she quit trying and  actually started to  swim on her own; and when their fingers had pruned up sufficiently, they headed to Zee’s room to have make-believe tea parties with dolls and animals.   The adults, meanwhile, ate a fine feast of chicken and pork and drank Sangrea from little vacuum-sealed cubes, which were like juice boxes for degenerates.   We  watched the  Olympics in China and swapped adoption stories,  and eventually watched their China movie, chronicling their experiences in adopting Zee.

Soon — too soon, it seemed — it was time to go, and so I politely excused myself from the living room to go upstairs in search of my daughter.   As I did so, I passed a small wooden carving on the wall: a cross, into which had been carved the name Jesus, like so,

which I found to be a particularly noteworthy design, for two main reasons.

First, it’s a clever combination of both the name of the Christian savior with the iconic image to which He is most associated.

Second, it is precisely how I imagine the word “Jesus” spelled whenever I hear a televangelist say it.


After we said our goodbyes, we piled back into the Nana B’s little SUV and headed back to her home, which was a half hour’s drive away.

One portion near the end of the drive took us on a straight, two-laned road cut through the primordial swampland of which Florida seems mostly comprised.   It was a dark stretch of road without street lights, illuminated only by the moon and the occasional neon signs of small business that sporadically punctuated the sides of the road: tacorias, dry cleaners, bargain stores, and so on.

Then, on the north side of the street was a small, lonely  office building with a tiny parking lot, almost completely obscured by  the pitch black of night except for a bright red neon sign that proclaimed

ARIAN EMERGENCY MEDICAL

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.   Was there a sizable white-power population in southern Florida I did not know about?   Was this a building that only helped neo-Nazis with medical conditions; or did they only admit patients with medical emergencies brought on by neo-Nazis?

I was confused as hell, and I didn’t figure it out until the following morning when, as we drove along the same stretch of road to fetch water wings for the Ladybug, I saw the same lonely  office building with its small parking lot full of cars, and its  bright red neon sign that read

VETERANARIAN EMERGENCY MEDICAL

with some of the letters burnt out.


That story reminds me of a time several years back, long before the Ladybug,  when the Queen B and I were again in Florida visiting her family: her folks, together with her sister’s family.   We had all arranged to spend several days at a bed and breakfast in Key West, and so we assembled into a number of cars and drove down the long, bridged expanse of Highway 1 that connects the tip of Florida to the slivers of floating beaches called the Keys.

As we drove along Plantation Key, we passed a high school.   In its the parking lot was a small retaining  wall on which was inscribed, in large blue letters,

CORAL
SHORES
HIGH
SCHOOL

which appeared just above the phrase Home of the Hurricanes! and just left of a picture of an anthropomorphized hurricane vortex. The letters themselves where made of plastic and attached to the wall by a series of short rods, so they they appeared to hover inches in front of it, casting iridescent blue shadows obliquely behind them. …well, all of the letters except for the first C and first S, which instead of being formed with the raised plastic letters, were simply painted on the wall with a matching blue paint in a matching font.

I found this a tad bizarre, and asked my brother-in-law — a life long southern Floridian — if he knew what that was about.

“Yeah,” he answered.   “Kids from the rival high school kept smashing those ones off.”

I was about to ask Why? before it hit me, and then I laughed all the way to Key West.

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