By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
Like when we moved down to Corsicana from Denver in 2001, we are already experiencing changes and making comparisons to life here compared to the life we enjoyed in Corsicana. Sarasota has an estimated population (based on the 2010 census) of about 52,000 folks, while Sarasota County has about 379,500 souls. Obviously, these figures put our new digs at over twice the size of Corsicana and Navarro County.
Sarasota’s official motto is “Where Urban Amenities Meet Small-Town Living.” I wonder if they ran a contest here to come up with that gem like we did in Corsicana? Actually, it pretty well describes this town and its activities and attractions.
The “urban amenities” would include the opera, ballet, film festival, marine laboratory, botanical gardens, colleges and universities, annual orchid show, and many musical, dance, artistic and theatrical venues. What I don’t like about most of these activities and attractions is they entail dressing up (as in coat and tie) which I only do for weddings and funerals.
The “small-town living” part is more my speed. We’re talking the Gulf, the Keys, the beaches, beer fests, chili cookoffs, the Florida Wine Fest and Auction, beer fests, the Pumpkin Festival, sport boating and fishing, beer fests, high school and college sports, the Ringling museums, and beer fests. These are my favorites because they fit my wardrobe of shorts and T-shirts.
Corsicana’s motto is “Live, Work, Play.” I remember when they ran a contest to come up with that and I was sorely disappointed when my suggestion was summarily rejected. I know you are curious so here it is. “Corsicana, where folks actually grow and eat okra.” I thought it was a shoo-in but, alas, good taste won out over cuteness.
As it is in Corsicana, newspaper sports reporting is very heavy with high school and college sports. For pro sports, Sarasota is attached at the hip to Tampa just as Corsicana is to Dallas. However, Sarasota is the home of the Baltimore Orioles for the Grapefruit League season. In fact, this area is loaded with big-league teams this time of year. Just in the relatively short distance between Tampa and Fort Myers you’ll find the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers, Phillies, Pirates, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Twins.
When it comes to diversity of population, Sarasota has it way over Corsicana. Corsicana is made up of mostly of “Lakers” and “Townies” who all enjoy fish fries, chili cook-offs, Derrick Days, and all things barbecued. Since we’ve been here, we’ve seen Native American, Jewish, Scottish, Greek, and German festivals run into Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s events. There is also a very large influx of “Snowbirds” from the north this time of year who add even more diversity to the landscape.
It is interesting to note that the Pinecraft neighborhood of Sarasota is a popular winter vacation destination for about 3,000 Amish and Mennonite folks from states like Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Now, I know what you are thinking — it must be a real hardship to drive all those buggies down from the north. Not to worry. They actually come down and go back by tour busses. These folks are very industrious and, while I have not tried their bakery goods yet, they tell me their breads and pastries are so good they would make the Collin Street Bakery folks weep with envy.
All this being said, The Little Woman (the name still annoys her) and I hope that we will be as happy here as we were there and accrue as many friends here as we did in our 12 years in Corsicana. Pulling up stakes out on Golden Pond and schlepping down here was very hard for us and we do miss our life there a lot. Of course, the fact that the rest of our little family is here makes our new home all the more attractive.
Since I talked about diversity quite a bit, let me close this rant with this very serious adage on tolerance and the live-and-let-live philosophy that I picked up somewhere. During these serious, trying, and very troubling times, people of all faiths should remember these four great religious truths: (1) Muslims do not recognize Jews as God’s Chosen People. (2) Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. (3) Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world. (4) Baptists do not recognize each other at the liquor store.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org