Clewiston, Florida is a pretty little town halfway between West Palm Beach and Fort Myers. On the north side, it is bordered by Lake Okeechobee, the largest inland natural lake in the United States. On the southern side are the vast Everglades.
I lived in Clewiston for about four years in the late forties. As I recall, it was a town that was originally laid out by an architect. The major industry there was the United States Sugar Corporation. Hundreds of acres of sugar cane were grown in the rich land in surrounding areas. When it came time to harvest the cane, the foliage on the stalks was set on fire to burn through acres at a time. The fire stripped off the foliage and the clean stalks were ready for harvest, to be sent to the local sugar refinery. It was a spectacular sight to see those large fields ablaze at night.
When I lived there, I lived on Royal Palm Drive, a beautiful street lined with Royal Palms in the center of two streets that ended at a canal. Just beyond the canal was this huge lake dike, which kept the lake from flooding the town during hurricanes. Royal Palm Drive was on one side of our house and the lake dike was on the other.
Aside from the large lake, the Everglades and acres of farmland growing sugar cane, there was a network of canals operated by the Corps of Engineers that irrigated the vast farmlands. On top of the canal water grew large water lilies. When one looked towards the canal, you did not see water but what looked like fields of lilies. The canals were quite deep, filled with black murky water from the Florida muck land black soil. Periodically, people would drown in the canals, usually from running their vehicles into them. The canals looked very pretty, but were very dangerous.
The Everglades at that time were a large area of swamp-like terrain, complete with alligators, deer, raccoons and all kinds of wildlife. I used to go hunting in the Everglades with my husband and his buddies, but I spent most of my time watching while sitting in the swamp buggy. The Everglades can be rather frightening and eerie. However, there was a certain beauty in them because there were wild orchids in the trees and the water was usually shallow with all kinds of wild stuff on top. However, one never knew what was lurking beneath or around the corner in that swampy area.
A few days ago, I was looking through a tropical plant magazine that had wild orchids and water lilies in it and thought about when I lived in Clewiston those many years ago. Then a presidential candidate came on TV, making a campaign speech explaining about all the programs he promised to implement when he’s elected . . . a flowery, sugar coated speech to solve all our problems. It all sounded like the Promised Land. Then I thought, perhaps this is a canal covered over with pretty water lilies, or maybe all these promises may be the orchids in a swamp.
History tells us all the exaggerated promises of politicians are just that, promises. They will not, or cannot, fulfill these promises when they reach the seat of power. If these two candidates have been and still are members of Congress and could not or would not prevent the crisis we are in today in this country, how can we expect anything to be different if elected to another office?
I don’t think so.
Let Freedom Ring!