When I was a little girl, my grandparents, like so many of their generation who had spent their entire lives in the Northeastern US, decided to pack up the house that my grandfather had built, the one with the pool and the really big rock in the backyard, and move to Florida.
They built a new house, a rancher, with a screened-in pool and wall-to-wall brown pile carpeting- even in the bathroom. And this new house they built on the Gulf Coast of Florida was butted right smack up against a town with a really funny name: Weeki Wachee.
This new house that they built seemed to be a million miles away from here- we had to either take a plane or drive for days to get there. But when we did, it was magical.
Because this far-off town with the funny name, the town butted right smack up against my grandparents' new home, had a pretty big claim to fame: it had a live spring full of just as live mermaids.
Real, honest-to-God mermaids.
And to a six year old girl in the early 1980's, there wasn't much more wonderful than a mermaid (unless you could produce a unicorn).
The mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs has been running since the middle of the last century.
And I went to see it every single chance I got.
I almost think that I was more excited about seeing the mermaids than about seeing any of the various family members who had followed my grandparents' migration south.
For these mermaids were no mere mermaids.
They were also ballerinas, who danced their dance deep under the spring.
They ate bananas.
They drank bottles of Coca-Cola.
They were about as perfect as things could get when you were a six year old girl.
Or even a slightly older girl,
who still believes anything is possible.