Although I was born in South Carolina, we moved to Florida when I was nine. I grew up in pre-Disney Orlando and in Daytona, went to the University of Florida and, after seminary, served Central Florida congregations for sixteen years before being elected Bishop of Iowa.
So I consider myself a Floridian if not really a Native, since my formative years were spent here. We are at a vacation cottage on South Daytona beach we have rented before and this blog is being written on the back patio pictured above.
Saying my morning prayers in the soft light and air of early dawn, walking a little later on the beach with Susanne, and anticipating fresh grouper for lunch at the best seafood joint on the beach, I know that I will always have “sand in my shoes as the Natives say.
I fell in love with Iowa — with the church there, the people, the changing seasons and colors of Iowa farmland, so rich and so fertile. I like the rough and tumble grassroots politics, the unpretentious and honest people, and the Mississippi River culture. I don’t anticipate ever leaving my adopted state.
But, now that I’m retired, you can bet there will some increasing snowbird time in the sunshine state, hopefully in “old Florida” far from the overdeveloped condo culture so pervasive these days. Because…
I still have sand in my shoes!