Relax, you ain’t goin’ nowhere today, anyway, so you might as well settle back, get out a map of Florida and see if you can find some of the spots about which you’re fixin’ to read.
The reason for little quiz is that while many folks like comin’ down here and spendin’ a little time in our sunshine many of those folks just don’t think of our home as home. This is but a place to hang out for a few months in the winter after they will return home.
Even if they move here fulltime, many folks still think of home as “that place back up north.”
If you are in either of these categories let me explain to you; the very best way to make us Floridians completely ignore any piece of wisdom or advice you feel compelled to pass long is to begin every sentence with the phrase, “the way we did it up north was…”
This leads to what scientists at the University of Gators refer to as, “IFAS,” or “Immediate Floridian Aural Shutdown,” and is not to be confused with the university’s agricultural extension service of the same acronymity. It means, “we ain’t listenin,’ don’t give a ding-dang how you did it Up North.”
Anyway, back to the reason for this little quiz. Until folks who move here from some other place begin to think of our place as home they can never fully develop a sense of community that is essential to our community’s well-bein’.
Folks who don’t think of our place as home are more likely to throw trash out the car window or use way too much water or complain they pay too much in taxes.
Folks who don’t think of our place as home are less likely to participate in civic affairs (and explain how much better things were Up North) and are less likely to make a contribution of their talents and energy to the community.
So, in any effort to make you more familiar with your region here’s a little geography quiz you can take by yourself or share with a loved one.
We’ll start out easy:
On the map, find: Immokalee, Chokoloskee Island, Bonita Springs.
See? That was easy.
Now, find: Ochopee, Palm River, Lake Trafford.
No problem. Piece of cake.
You’re probably feelin’ pretty good about yourself by this time.
OK, try: Deep Lake, Miles City, Copeland.
Hey, impressive. Maybe you know more about this place than you think you do. Those last three communities, by the way, were built by Barron G. Collier when Naples had but a few homes and was only that swampy spot on the beach.
Back to the quiz.
You’re probably battin’ ‘round 1,000 so far.
Let’s get a little harder.
Find: Matlacha (and pronounce it correctly), St. James City, Bokeelia.
Did it? Think you’re pretty sporty, I’ll bet.
Try these: Big Hammock, Rice Straw Stand, Coconut.
Hah! Got you on those, unless you’re a real old-timer.
Find: Curry Island, Fish Trap Bay, Quakenassee Hollow. (Clue here: not all islands are surrounded by saltwater.)
For the intrepid, find: Rock Spring Island, Bear Island, Monkey Joe Key.
Still with me? Bonus points for finding: Catherine Island, Cowbone Island, Charlie Key.
If you can identify on a map all those spots, congratulations! You can now official qualify as a Provisional-Cracker, pending your willing acceptance to full Floridian and with it the responsibility to love and cherish this unique peninsula.