My first trip to Florida included a drive out to see Cape Canaveral where the space shuttles set off for the moon and elsewhere in the upper atmosphere. I was thinking fondly about the Andy Astronaut picture book I had before starting first grade, and missed my turn. I drove and drove on a one way road with no exits. I could see the road going in the opposite direction but there was no way to get on to it. Both roads were surrounded by green. After sorting that out, I returned to my quest, Cape Canaveral. I was on the roadway leading there with frequent signage. How exciting.
Adding to the excitement were the frequent alligators along the roadside. Later I learned, I had been lucky enough to drive through during the alligators’ mating season. There were good sized alligators, here and there, along the road. I heard later that this abundance was due to a hunting ban. I was disappointed that I had not been quick enough to stop for a huge alligator on the turf aside of the road. I noted a family with children did stop in time; in my rear view mirror, I could see they had left their car and were closing in on the portly alligator. Later, someone mentioned that was not a safe thing to do. I had not thought of that at the time. Years later, my mother and I went to Gator Land and I made up for that missed occasion. Cape Canaveral was as good as I had hoped, but the alligators were the day’s highlight.
I wonder if Wally Gator had ever passed through there. I liked that cartoon when it first came out. What would I think of it now? Andy Astronaut and Wally Gator could have made a good team. Andy seemed so competent; I’m sure he would have known just how to approach an alligator without endangering himself. Wally Gator would have helped Andy to lighten up a bit; as I recall, Andy was a serious lad. Maybe alligators have tagged along to the moon, but I think it is more likely they have tagged along to Mars. I can see why they might be curious to see if Martians are green too. Was it the notion of Wally Gator that made it seem harmless to stop by and share a close moment with an alligator? Living so close to Cape Canaveral, the alligators there likely have watched their fair share of rockets taking off into space. Maybe we could have chatted about that. If Kermit the frog can sing, it only follows that green alligators can talk. What did I know? It isn’t easy being green.
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