Lazy Routines

Slatherings of sunscreen. Moms pack up towels and books. Kids grab the swim toys. Morning is pool time! The pool is a sixty-second walk across the quiet driveway.

Lucy.

Alex. He’s impossible to photograph these days unless he doesn’t know you’re there.

Alex, 15, has recently become six feet tall. It is hard for any of us to imagine how five years ago we jammed Jon, 18, Alex, 10, and Lucy, 8, in the single back seat of Joanne’s car for our first drive down here. (Before that we bought air tickets; after that I traded in our hatchback for a second-hand minivan.)

Alex and Lucy have been friends since preschool. Here they are at eight and ten. Alex has been like an extra brother to my children.

These days Alex looms over Lucy and we have to be sure the pool is clear when he wants to cannonball, as he displaces so much water he would capsize the babies floating in their swing rings or swamp the retirees paddling in sunglasses.

After lunch Lucy and I go biking. A nice thing about Florida is that the entire state is almost perfectly flat, which makes pedaling easy — always a plus for me when it comes to exercise. Our favorite trail winds through orange groves and past cattle ranches. We enjoy reading the signs.

Yesterday Lucy cried, “Oh, the cows will be coming up soon. I remember them from last year — they were as cute as bugs!”

Not everyone appreciates the cuteness of cows. Obviously I have raised my girl right.

In the evening Joanne or I cook a simple supper (I grill chicken or burgers over at the pool), we watch a family movie purchased for 75 cents from Goodwill, and the “off” person does the dishes. It is very low-key, very easy, and we love it.

It is surreal in this peaceful setting to read in the Times about the horror and terror in Japan.

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