For the first time since he was born, my 13-month-old grandson came to Florida. My son and daughter-in-law haven’t visited since pre-pandemic, so at least two years now. Then, while they were here, a trump appointed federal judge in Florida lifted the mask mandate for public transportation, including planes. All the major airlines immediately dropped their mask requirements, and at least one airport in South Florida, the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, also immediately dropped their mask requirements. That is the airport they were flying out of to head home, on a JetBlue flight that now was not requiring masks.
If it was just the two of them, two adults, they could wear their masks and feel fairly safe flying home. But they have this beautiful baby who is too young to be vaccinated or wear a mask. Sitting on an airplane full of unmasked people was a very scary thought for his safety. After briefly kicking around the idea of driving home instead, they reluctantly decided to fly and hope for the best. So far, it appears that their luck held. They made it home and everyone remains healthy.
But now the concern is this: do they dare fly anywhere again with their unprotected baby? Do they wait until a vaccine is available for him? Do they just plan trips where they can drive instead of fly? Or just throw caution to the winds and hope for the best? I’m sure they are not alone in their fears, but does that make it easier? Then this showed up on Twitter:
Celebrate that an unprotected baby might get sick from some unmasked passenger? Seriously?? I can’t even.
Since 2014, my husband and I have driven three and a half hours up to Daytona Beach for Jeep Beach. It’s a gathering of “Jeepers”, thousands of people who own and love Jeeps. They come from all over the country and Canada. We’ve even seen license plates from Alaska! They have these gathering all over the country, but this is the only one we’ve ever attended.
Daytona Beach is an old Florida city mostly famous for the Daytona Speedway, which is where the event is held. Jeeps take over the city and it’s always a lot of fun. It happens every April, although it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. There are a tons of vendors selling everything Jeep related, from t-shirts to bumpers to stereos and well, more stuff than I can even name. The people who go are sort of divided into those that use their Jeeps as their primary cars, as my husband does, and those that are into off-roading. There are tracks set up and people attempt to drive their Jeeps over giant mounds of dirt, rock, etc. It’s fun to watch for sure, but every year we see at least one Jeep sustain serious damage.
Daytona is also famous for its beaches, where the sand is hard enough and wide enough to drive on during low tides. Weather permitting, there is a Jeep Parade on the beach Sunday morning. Jeeps as far as the eyes can see – and I swear, you don’t see two Jeeps alike. Jeepers love to customize their Jeeps, from wheels to tops to paint jobs to everything else. And driving so close to the ocean is pretty magical!
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.
*Thanks to The New York Times and The Washington Post for allowing me to “gift” my readers with free access to these articles, a lovely perk for subscribers.