Growing up in a small town in Central Florida, Sissi Smith developed a love for writing at a young age, but like many people got bogged down with responsibilities and put down her pen. Join her on her journey as she rediscovers her passion!
If there's one thing you can count on in Florida during the warmer months of the year, it's storms. We are no stranger to perturbed tourists doling out abusive rants about our daily downpours ruining their vacations. God bless our theme park workers who get to stand there explaining to these people that the rides are closed for their safety while there is lightning popping all around, but I suppose that is a small price to pay to live in what many would describe as paradise.
The Last Photograph
In a society where social media reigns supreme, photos have become so common that they border on being mundane. Our camera rolls are filled with slight variations of the same shot in pursuit of the perfect pose and lighting to foster the desired amounts of likes and engagements. Gone are the days of winding film, taking a snap, and waiting a few weeks only to find out more than half of the images are complete crap. I sometimes wonder if the instant gratification of everyone having a camera always at their fingertips has led people to take these frozen moments completely for granted. This has never struck me quite so hard as a photo of my sisters and I at my nephew's graduation. You don't think of the evolutionary power an image can hold when a photo is snapped. Typically it isn't until you look back on the memories that it hits you... especially when the biggest unknown part of that moment is that it will become the last photograph.
The Good Ol' Days
As I come to the end of the fourth decade of my journey on this planet, I often find myself reflecting on everything that has led me to this point in life. I have much to be grateful for, but one thing that stands out to me is how fortunate I have been to have such an abundance of positive male figures in my life. Along with my father being a huge part of my upbringing, I also had the presence of my mom's father and step-dad and her grandfather, though he passed on early in my childhood. These were all wonderful men who brought a lot of attributes that shaped my values, but that man who most influenced my personal growth was my dad's step-father, Jodie... or "Grampa" as I would call him. I never got to know my dad's father, as he passed on and my grandmother remarried long before I was born. As nice as it would have been to know my biological grandfather, I do think that the powers that be somehow knew how much I needed someone like this man in my life.
Salty Sweet Summer Treat
Ah summer... There is so much about the season that tantalizes the senses. You have the smell of freshly cut grass on Saturday mornings, then there's the reverberating sounds of fireworks during mid-summer celebrations, and who can forget the feel of the warm glow of the sun on your skin or the dazzling visual that it paints as it sets during those long summer days. There is no doubt that summer is a season to behold for the senses, but what about taste? Every season has its food staples but summer seems to have a unique way of making food abundantly more satisfying. Perhaps it's the pool parties where you're completely waterlogged when you sit down to eat and it just hits the right spot, or maybe the refreshing watermelon eaten at a picnic on a hot day with your older siblings teasing you that one will grow in your belly if you swallow the seeds. Whatever the food, it is sure to evoke a vivid memory when certain flavors hit your taste buds.
There weren't always dragons in the valley. In fact, when we moved to the sleepy little town of Bonnydale there didn't seem to be a whole lot of anything. I was sixteen and accustomed to the fast pace of city life, so when we lost my dad and had to move in with my grandparents, it was quite the blow to my teenage existence. The hustle and bustle of my former life was suddenly diminished to a place where the most exciting thing to do was go pick up groceries at the general store. I was miserable. It was all so unfair and I made sure that everyone around me knew it. Little did I know that this quiet nothing town would become the setting for the greatest adventure of my life.
You don't have to dig very far through the headlines lately to find some form of media discussing the problems that the the USPS is having with getting the mail delivered in a timely manner. You are bound to see a wide array of opinions as to whether the problems are acceptable or not, whose fault it is, and whether it will get any better in the foreseeable future. With this piece, I'd like to take a few moments to explore those questions based on my own experience with the Postal Service in this wild year we call 2020. Let's start by being fair that the USPS is currently experiencing incredibly high volumes of mail that must be processed daily that everyone was completely unprepared for. I don't think that a year ago any of us could have guessed how much the months ahead would change our lives as a whole. We have become reliant on the USPS now more than ever for many reasons. Businesses have closed and jobs are disappearing due to downsizing in order to stay afloat, leading to creative income production. People who led busy lives filled with Little League games and PTO meetings are now stuck at home with Zoom schooling and grocery deliveries, so they're bored and shopping in their pajamas. Then there was the election... The election has been completely ludicrous no matter what side of the aisle you are watching from, with the Postal Service front and center of that whole circus. I could go on, but I believe we are all well versed in what difficulties the year has brought to many of us.