By Jug Varner
For those of you who haven't been here, Sarasota is a beautiful little city located about 60 miles south of Tampa. It seems larger than its 60,000+ population, but it is centered in an area of other cities, towns and villages on the West Coast (the local Chamber of Commerce calls it the “Sun” Coast”) with a combined population of about 500,000.
The Sun Coast has the “Cloudy and Wet” Coast during our early days here, thanks to the outer edge effect of the Hurricanes spinning around the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, but nothing drastic so far. The sun pops through frequently, to keep its reputation alive and well.
The high-rise condo at the extreme right of the photo will be our location as of New Year's Day 2003. Right now we are “toughing it out” across the bay in an equally nice high-rise condo on the beach with a spectacular gulf view. Oh well, somebody has to do it.
Having visited our daughter and her family several times in nearby Longboat Key, we are not total strangers to the area. That has made the transition much easier and simpler than going to unfamiliar ground. Still, there is the usual standing-in-line for new driver's license, car title, license plates, post office box, ad infinitum, necessary in new settlement as well as getting acquainted with state laws, condo regulations, etc. Above all, there is the endless task of finding all the best places to trade, especially the same ones we used in Texas.
It has been fun and we have already met a lot of nice people. Folks are friendly and helpful here, just like in Texas. I have also made a new best friend or two, and will look forward to renewing some old Navy friendships with several buds living in the general area.
So, as you can tell, we like our new hometown very much and look forward to many happy experiences here. We learned long ago in the Navy that emphasizing the good qualities and ignoring or minimizing the less desirable things makes each change of duty station and living conditions a lot brighter and happier. It has never failed us.