I skipped Day 5 because we didn't do anything special other than drive to Tampa to have the stitches removed from my mouth. Oh, does it feel better now. The stitches were anchored to the teeth on either side of the extraction and were starting to rub parts of the inside top of my mouth raw. Today has been wonderful. No pain, no ibuprofen or Tylenol, just a bit of tightness.
So after a very deep sleep last night, I showered and hurried out the door. Dad and I headed to DeSoto National Memorial. It was really neat. The park was set up to depict what life was like among the Indians at the time Hernando DeSoto and his crew landed in Florida. There was also an area that showed how the European/Spanish soldiers would have lived. We hiked a 2-mile interpretive trail which offered glimpses of the Manatee river, Tampa Bay, mangrove forests, and middens. At the end of the trail - before we retraced our steps - was the monument to DeSoto. There was a tall cross, a tablet depicting communion and a large pillar. I'm not sure why they wanted to memorialize DeSoto. He didn't seem like a very decent person. He was power-hungry, annihilated the native Indian population and did it all in the name of Spain and the Holy Catholic church. At one point, the Indians saw that they were outnumbered and rather than die by the Spaniards' sword, they threw themselves into a burning house - body upon body - dying by fire (over 2,500) or suffocation. And yet, there stands a cross and a memorial to DeSoto. Strange. Dad and I both thought so.
We made a short stop at Robinson's Preserve and hiked a different part of the wetlands. We were treated to the sight of "elusive" white pelicans. They were huddled together, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Only a few were in the water swimming. I also saw a mangrove crab.
We drove to Anna Maria Island, had our picnic and walked the beach for a couple of hours, looking for shells and wading in the ocean. It is so peaceful and therapeutic to hear the waves. Dad decided we should go to Cracker Barrel for dinner and he heard no argument from me. I ordered chicken fried chicken with sawmill gravy, green beans, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Sooo yummy. Tomorrow we are headed to Orlando to pick up JP and Monday begins our week of theme-parking. Not sure yet if I'll be taking my phone to the theme parks, so the pictures might be few and far between. We'll see.
European scouting boats
Native American canoe
Walking deep into a mangrove forest
Priest offering communion to DeSoto, soldiers and Indians