Although I was born in Boston, and was considered a Yankee during most of my early years, I spent my formative childhood on a ranch in rural, central Florida. So, the cowboy image has significance in that I grew up in an environment that celebrated the rodeo-Florida Cracker Cowboy way of life about which many present-day Floridians know little. The cowboy persona blurred and merged with a Gulf coast sailing/fishing “salt-water cowboy” mentality when I moved to Pinellas County and spent my teen-age years and young adulthood surrounded by a marine environment.
Largely set in Parrish, Florida, Growing up Floridian relives moments of a boy growing up in the 1950's and 1960's on a ranch in a rural, Cracker-cowboy environment, learning life lessons and finding solace in the natural world. The memoir includes "One Gunshot's Long Echo," originally published by the St. Petersburg Times in 2000. Chapters include time spent with Vick and Faye Blackstone on the Quarter Circle A Ranch on State Road 62 in Manatee County. The stories offer connections for people who grew up in a simpler time and would enjoy being immersed in an exploration of natural Florida, a working ranch, and the Gulf coast. The recalled moments present looks at Florida wildlife from the perspective of a youngster learning about the cowboy way of handling the complexities life threw at him.