Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Every Floridians Duty
by James Glaser
December 12, 2008

There is no doubt about it, times are tough in Florida. In the last few months over 500,000 new people have signed up for Food Stamps in the Sunshine State, and things don't appear to be turning around.

So, what can the average guy do to help? Well, we all know Florida depends on tourism to keep things going, and right now the beaches are looking pretty empty. The snowbirds from up North are staying put because of the down-turn in the economy. We have to reverse that trend.

Here is my plan. Every time you read about or hear of a winter storm hitting some place up North, every Floridian should get on the phone and call any friend or relative that lives in that area. It doesn't matter if you haven't called them for years or even if they are a second cousin once removed who was a real brat last time you saw them. In fact, their being a brat years ago makes this phone call even better.

Talk about anything you want. "I still remember Aunt Mary's apple pie," is a good one. It doesn't matter what you talk about, the important thing is that sometime during the conversation you have to mention what the weather is like down here.

The other day I called my son who was driving in a snow storm, and while talking to him I just mentioned that I had to turn on the AC in the car as the sun was so hot coming in the window. Yesterday, I asked my sister up in Minneapolis if that snow storm brought back memories of when we were young. Later on in the conversation I told her that my tomato plants were starting to get blossoms on them.

You can't sound like you're bragging about living in paradise, you are just trying to plant a seed. You want them to think about Florida when winter becomes too much for them.

You have to be careful that they don't think you are inviting them down to your place. The whole reason you want them down here is to stimulate the economy. You can meet your old college buddy on the beach in Panama City or tell them about Wakulla Springs and the lodge there.

If everybody in Florida gets behind this idea, winter tourism will pick right up about the middle of January, and it will put a lot of people back to work down here.

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