Years ago, my Tia and Tio (Aunt and Uncle) relocated from Southern California to Merritt Island, Florida.
(Merritt Island is right next to Cocoa Beach, which is close to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.)
They moved into a house with a huge yard and it was located right in front of a river. (Merritt Island is called an island due to the two rivers almost surrounding it. The Banana River and Indian River. As you can see from the above map.) I recall the area behind his back yard to be swamp like, so you never knew what would be lurking.
One particular day, my Tio saw an alligator cruising through his yard. For whatever reason, my Tio decided to knock it over the head. After assuming that it was dead, he picked it up and proceeded to carry it close to the house to show it off to my Tia.
Now, my Tio and Tia were in their 70s back then and my Tia had been blind for years. That’s right blind! So showing off this alligator to my Tia meant touching and feeling it.
“Go ahead, touch it” said my Tio, “Seriously, feel it’s scales. Don’t worry it’s dead!”
Right as my Tia ran her hand up and down the alligator’s back, my Tio saw it’s eyes pop open!
The alligator wasn’t dead at all! Quickly and yet calmly, as not to freak out my blind Tia, my Tio said “Ok, time to take it ‘out back’!” My Tia never knew it was alive. In fact, I do not know if anyone ever told her that it had been. Probably saved her from a heart-attack and prevented her from losing a few years.
My Tio loved telling everyone this story… except my Tia of course.
This story took place more than 10 years ago and still, I can hear the laughter of my Tio as if it took place yesterday.
R.I.P. Tia Lela