Florida has always been breathing down my neck.

And its breath has been particularly pernicious in the last couple of weeks.

It all started two Mondays ago when my cousin Caroline posted pictures on Instagram of her and her sons, Dom and Ryan. 

In a plane.

In the air.

On their way to Fort Lauderdale.

(The one in Florida.)

“Vacation,” she wrote. “Woo-hoo!”

Yeah. Cool. Whatever.

Two days later, my sister-in-law Joyce texted me: “We’re going to dinner on Saturday for Talia’s 25th…” 

Talia, my niece, is turning 25 on March 15. So, why are we celebrating 10 days early?

“Because,” Joyce said, “she and her boyfriend are spending her birthday week at Disney.”

As in Disney World.

As in Orlando. 

(The one in Florida.)


I went to the Sunshine State last May (to Tampa) for my cousin’s wedding (in Bradenton) before driving south (to Miami) where so many of my dearest (but no longer nearest) friends have moved in the last 40 years or so.

Bill Ervolino

These are the same friends who, when I posted photos of my icy front steps on Facebook three weeks ago, gleefully posted photos of their backyard palm trees, swaying in the warm breeze and baking in the piping-hot sun, around the kidney-shaped pool filled with water that is so sultry you could simmer lobsters in it.

When I was growing up, my family vacationed at inexpensive Italian American resorts, including one in Highland, New York, called the Hotel Di Prima. It was about 90 miles from our house in Queens and allowed us to go far away from home — without going too far — and still enjoy Italian food, Italian music, Italian games and the reassuring sound of loud, crazy Italians screaming at each other.  

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