Flamingo is a chameleon! I first got her in Miami at the “Pink Palm” gift shop. She was a shining beauty, but not cheap. I promised myself I would buy her as a reward after my next real estate sale when I worked for Majestic Properties in South Beach. All the closings were brutal, so I had to entice myself to keep going. Usually, I bought a dress or a piece of jewelry. This time I had my eye on the Flamingo.
When I moved to Florida from San Francisco, I expected to see live flamingos strolling in the streets. I never saw one. I saw the same plastic flamingos that live in trailer parks all over America. The day I took Francisca home, I had a happy heart. She was a cut above the other flamingos! No plastic flamingo here – she is pure ummmm, composite press-board?
She endeared herself to me so much, I simply could not leave her behind when it came time to move back to California. I was so happy to reunite with old friends, and Francisca was looking for a fresh start in her new community. She didn’t want people to think she was that Francisca, who had a reputation for carousing on Lincoln Road at all hours. She had been known to hang out in the Cuban Club guzzling mojitos and dancing Santeria with the locals.
She became Florence of Capitola and stood sentinel on the porch of our home on Jewell Street. The strollers got to know and love Florence, the Flamingo. I would often come home to find a beautiful flower lei around her neck, or a bunch of stargazer lilies laid at her feet – pink, of course!
When things went sour with the man in Santa Cruz, and it was, once again, time to move on, Florence, was all for the move. She whispered to me that she missed the warm, tropical climate of her youth, a light-bulb went off. Yes! Let’s so South. Let’s go where it’s warm. Let’s go to Costa Rica!
As luck would have it, I met a new man who also wanted to move to Costa Rica. It turned out we had known each other twenty years prior when my daughter and I took dressage lessons. He was the instructor I had a crush on! When we re-met and realized we had common interests, common goals, and similar values. Or so I thought and chose to believe.
Off we went to the land of “Pura Vida” to live happily ever after. We agreed to build a new life together starting from scratch and a clean slate. We each dissolved our personal possessions, packed our allotted two suitcases per person, and were ready to go.
What about Florence?
“I know, I know!” I cried. Tyler (my son) is coming down to see Nonnie soon – and he’s bringing friends. Yes! They pack light and can each carry an extra suitcase (they didn’t charge extra back then).
“Oh, that’s my mom. She lives in Guanacaste in a palace overlooking the ocean. The whole family likes to go there. It’s a mini-resort with the best pool in the world and the Howler monkeys lurking in the trees. It’s a magical place! http://www.vrbo.com/199490
We stuffed Florence into a hard-sided suitcase, drove it to San Francisco, and handed it off to Tyler’s friend, Eli.
“Hey, thanks, Eli. This is an important piece of cargo. Just so you know, in case they x-ray the bag and question you, there are no drugs inside the Flamingo. The iron bars are her legs. I had to separate them ’cause they wouldn’t fit. If they question you, they can look up her leg-holes. Do not let them crack her open, OK?
“Why did I have to get the Flamingo? Why couldn’t I get the bag with the sheets and towels?” He sighed. “OK, fine. See you in Nosara.”
When we were reunited, and once again living in a Latin culture, Florence became Feliciana, and life was good.
It was good for a year and a half. It was good until the new man became miserable. Feliciana and I were lucky to have Toby, the extra-large Chocolate Lab to protect us. The new man was gone a lot due to work-related travel. He came home less and less until he stopped coming all together.
“Feliciana, I think we’ve been abandoned!”
And so, this chapter closes and another one begins. Flamingo is fixin’ to fly. California, here I come!
I heard-tell she wants to be known as Josephine – the “F” names just aren’t working for her.
She’s a little beat up, but still smiling. She’s sitting in a box waiting. I hope the movers don’t lose her legs which don’t fit in the box. If that happens, I’ll just set her in a porch swing until I can get new legs made.
Oh, and my stilettos are ready to strut right along with her.
See ya later, Costa Rica. I’ll be back real soon!