Volusia Voice hal donna martin

Published on April 24th, 2013 | by NSB Observer

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Snowbird’s Eye View

By Hal Martin

Hi there, I’m Hal, the brother Donna wrote about a couple weeks back.  Well, technically she didn’t write about me, she mentioned my name.  She wrote about my wife Jill, the fabulous cook.

Yeah, I know, I’m lucky, although that luck is tempered by the fact that I am compelled by my work to live in Lansing, a six hour drive from our home in the Upper Peninsula.  And, Jill is an incredibly busy professional; as much as she likes to fool around in the kitchen doesn’t get to do it as much as she’d like.

My own approach to the acquisition of foodstuffs and preparation of meals is pretty similar to my sister’s.  I can do it – I actually have some decent kitchen chops – but I’m not generally enthusiastic.

Actually, I believe the kitchen output Donna described was a happy result of our vacation, so as I reminisce about our visit, I start where she left off. I think it was a sign of Jill’s relaxation and contentedness that she woke up every morning and searched for awesome recipes to cook later.  It was indeed a great week of eating.

In the week we were there, the temperature ventured above 70 exactly twice, and it didn’t venture very far.  And the wind was a pretty constant 15-20 mph out of the northwest.  Now, we’ve had a pretty intense winter in Michigan and the U.P., and honestly, we like that, to a point.  But it does get wearisome.  So, on the one hand, being able to go out just wearing long sleeves and maybe a sweater was pretty tolerable.  But it kind of wasn’t what we were hoping for, and it didn’t help much that everywhere we went people remarked about what an unusually warm winter you’ve had.

Donna took us on her favorite outings – she’s so taken with her/your community.  We did a dog walk at Dunes Park one day, birding on Merritt Island another and an arts & culture tour on another.

I think the greatest impression I took away about your area was the diversity of lifestyles and situations.  We northerners tend to think of Florida as a never-ending string of resorts stretching down the beach, high-rise condos and retirement communities.  NSB has its share but on a very livable, “townie” scale.  Lots of attractive older houses in actual neighborhoods, a nice little downtown, with some upscale culture.  And Flagler Avenue – I promised myself that I will return for another Heavenly lobster roll.

Oak Hill is very cool; it put me in mind of an “old” Florida, from before the snowbirds arrived.  I would have liked to spend a bit of time poking around there, particularly in a cemetery, one of my favorite things in an historical place.

And then, there’s Edgewater.  Totally unexpected – Donna’s is definitely a working class neighborhood; diverse styles all neatly arranged on long, straight streets (no fancy cul-de-sacs).  Kids and basketball hoops, gardens, some with vegetation and some with painted wooden tulips; regular people generally taking care of their own business, but keeping an eye on the neighborhood.  With all that and the trucks and Confederate flags, it kind of reminded me of the U.P.  Just more people and less snow, eh?

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