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Updated: 10/18/2013 02:37:51PM

From the porch

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Cindy and I spent a big chunk of Sunday on the road, driving to and from the Fort Lauderdale area to help pick out a pumpkin. Not just any pumpkin, of course. We were invited to help 29-month-old granddaughter Lily choose just the right pumpkin from an assortment of thousands.

I admit to being apprehensive. I thought the sights and sounds of the busy pumpkin patch would send Lily running to mama, pouting or, worse yet, crying. My concerns were for naught. Turns out that Lily is determined and knows what she wants. We walked right by lots of big pumpkins but Lily lost interest when she couldn’t lift them. Tiny pumpkins were just too tiny for her liking.

Then she saw her prize. One pumpkin stood out from the rest ... at least as far as Lily was concerned. Mid-sized and still too big for her to carry, Lily lifted that pumpkin slightly off the ground. With a mighty huff, she put the pumpkin back down and pointed, saying, “That’s my pumpkin. We can go home now.”

The pumpkin patch was located in a huge lawn and garden center. Both grandmothers were on hand and both are gardeners. Lily and I braved the heat and the crowds while the grandmas found new additions to their gardens. Then, finally, we were headed back to the air conditioned car with the day’s treasures in tow.

Cindy and I got a little later start for home than planned, but traffic was fairly light as we left Fort Lauderdale and it seemed we would be home in record time. That was until a good dose of “country boy logic” sent us on a very long detour.

Here we were, driving north on I-95 watching for our exit when I saw an exit marked “Okeechobee Road.” We were headed for Okeechobee on the way home and this exit seemed to be perfect. Heck, I thought, this could be a shortcut. Wrong. Okeechobee Road seemed to go everywhere except to Okeechobee. Finally the road ended at Canal Point, some 35 miles from the furthest outskirts of Okeechobee.

Then, finally, we arrived in Okeechobee some 40 minutes behind schedule but still allowing time for a comfort stop before tackling the final leg of the journey.

The last 40 miles or so of the day’s adventure clicked off quickly as we drove across the prairie with thoughts of home easing the burden of the long drive. We were less than two miles from home when I saw a car on a side street. The driver of the car obviously saw us, too. He was a sheriff’s deputy and soon the red, white and blue of his emergency lights commanded me to stop.

Ever think about red, white and blue being the colors of freedom? Well, not so much when you see those colors in your rearview mirror. I pulled over in a safe area and waited patiently while Cindy pointed out that she had told me to slow down just before the deputy saw us. “Yes, dear,” I mumbled as the deputy took my license, registration and proof of insurance. I was wondering how much the ticket was going to cost when the deputy returned to my window with my documents. “Slow down and go on home now,” he said. “Yes, sir” was all I could muster as a reply.

• • •

The popular Saturday Morning Market returns this week in Stuart Park in uptown Lake Placid. The once-a-month event, sponsored by the Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce, is always packed with fun, food and fellowship.

A variety of vendors will offer their wares, including arts and crafts, food, wine, fresh produce, live plants, homemade breads, jams, pickles and salsa to name a few. Breakfast and lunch will be available and can be eaten in the park or packaged for carry-out.

Saturday Morning Market opens at 8 a.m. and bargains and treats will be available until 1 p.m., according to Chamber of Commerce executive director Eileen May.

May added that the vendor spaces are still available. For more information or to reserve a space, call 863-465-4331.