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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Return to New York

First, I have to admit being a “snow bird.” Along with my wife, we spent four months at our condo on the West Coast of Florida right next to Punta Gorda. At first, I was nervous about being away so long. But, the anxiety soon disappeared as we got into all kinds of activities.

One thing making the transition quite simple is the modern day email. People in my office could send me questions and materials without a problem. In addition, the cell phone is really magical when you are out fishing, on a trip, or even shopping. The family joke is, “Remember, Dad is only a cell phone call away.” And that applied in China, as well as on a cruise ship or in Florida.

Another positive feature – and one of the most important – is the presence of family in Florida. I have two children, four grandchildren, a sister, and a sister-in-law all within a 45-minute or less drive. Beyond the Florida family connections, we have family guests who come to visit. In some ways, we are busier with family in Florida than on Long Island.

There are so many activities that it would be difficult to cover all of them in this piece. But, the one which has captivated my son completely is the 22-foot fishing boat. Since our condo is right on Charlotte Harbor, it was only natural that my son would talk me into getting a boat. Fishing has been a family event. Before returning to New York, my wife and I caught seven fish, and it gave me the chance to make my fish chowder, which we shared at a condo social event.

The fishing goes beyond our story in Florida. My son and two of his high school friends go down twice a year for tarpon fishing. In 2007, they actually caught a 200-lb. tarpon 25 minutes from the condo dock. That event encouraged their constant returns.

One interesting dimension of our story in Florida relates to this column. As you may not know, I write the column each week and send it to my assistant, a lady who has worked with me for some 24 years, and she types the column, emails it to me for editing. That is when I discovered “scanning.” Now, I scan the handwritten copy and just email the text to my assistant. With the computer, you are really never very far away.

There has been a lot to do while in Florida. Every Wednesday, I played golf with a group of men from the condo, and on the third Sunday of each month there was “best ball” golf with the spouses. Intellectually, I found myself having breakfast every Friday with a group of men interested in the community. Speakers ranged from county officials to the local school board and from Florida water resources to the County Administration.

By the way, prices in Florida could not be better if you are interested in becoming a “snow bird” one of these days.

Robert McMillan Website: www.bobmcmillan.net