Greetings from the Far South. If you are easily offended, please skip this post as I’m going to rant.

For the past few weeks, I have been away on vacation with my daughter traveling out west. She is a flight attendant who has been furloughed due to COVID. We visited CA, AZ, NV and UT. We went to many National Parks and did A LOT of hiking (I dropped 10 pounds!).

Visiting other States, paying over $3.50 for a gallon of fuel and $15 for a burger, made me realize how much I not only love my life in The Villages, but also how much I love living in Florida in general. I grew up in South Florida and have always heard people saying how much they enjoyed other States. “The pay in Florida is terrible”, “The pizza and bagels in NY are so much better”, “You can’t get good Chinese food in Florida”.

I always wondered, then…. why are you here? Is it the weather? Is it the low taxes? Is it the politics? When I was a kid there was one area code for the entire State, 305. There were about 4 million people in the whole State. Now we’re topping 23 million, with 1000 people a day moving here.

I belong to several different Facebook pages about The Villages. In several of those groups I hear many people complaining about The Villages, specifically the developer (Morse family). As a disclaimer, I don’t work for the Morse family, I don’t know the Morse family, nor have I ever met anyone from the Morse family. I do however, love what they have created here. I think that the majority of us do, which is why we’re here. Can some things be or get better? I guess so, nothing is perfect. This place will never be Utopia, but like Florida, The Villages is my/our home.

I really dislike anyone talking trash about my home. If you don’t like the developer, if you don’t like the food, if you don’t like the politics, if you don’t like the summer humidity…. Leave. This is a free country with nothing keeping any of us in any one place. Find someplace that you would enjoy more. I-75 and I-95 have north bound lanes also. I’m really tired of people moving here and trying to make it like where they came from. You moved here for a reason; assimilate to the Florida culture and lifestyle. Learn a little bit about Florida history (you’d be amazed at how much history there is here. I recommend a book called “A Land Remembered”).

My grandparents came to this country from Italy 100+ years ago. They changed their names to sound more American, they stopped speaking Italian, and they became US citizens. I’m not asking anyone to forget their roots or give up their heritage. But please, you’re in Florida now. Love it, or leave it.