BARE AND FREE
|Volume 20||Number 4, September 2008|
In this Issue
Days to Remember
Membership Meeting Sunday, Sept. 28
There will be a brief membership meeting after the September picnic. The board is seeking guidance on how much risk to take in investing our money--a question that people around the country are wrestling with this week. Because we expect the meeting to be short (15-20 minutes), we will eat at our regular time: 2:00. The day is free for members who attend the meeting.
Sunday has already been billed as a day of student activities. If enough students show up, we hope to get a volleyball game or some Frisbee going.
Our annual sinkhole tour has been rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27 (the only Saturday all month without a home football game). The sinkholes are wonderful places used for skinny-dipping since the time of the Indians. In the 22 years that the club has been using them, some have declined or been taken out of public use, but others are better than ever. Some now have to be approached by different routes. This is your chance to find out where the best of them are.
If you are interested, let Paul know: 222-1886. We will meet at 10 AM at the northwest corner of Springhill Road and Capital Circle SW. (Thatís across from the northeast corner of the airport. From the FSU stadium, come straight south.) Expect to walk about three miles through the woods that day, and swim in up to six sinkholes.
You can learn more about these sinkholes at http://www.tallahasseenaturally.org/sinkhole.html
This was supposed to be the summer of dwindling attendance because of high gas prices. Instead, we have seen record-breaking numbers at our Full-Moon Skinny-Dips: 28 in June, 30 in July, 37 in September. Age and gender balance have been good for this event offered mainly as a college students' night out. Half of the attendees have been under 25, and three-fourths under 40. For the final full-moon swim in October, some of our members are bringing musical instruments, and invite others to join them.
We've also been getting good attendance each weekend. Having a new family of six sure helps. But that doesn't explain everything. Knowing that there will be a crowd also attracts more people.
Membership is just slightly higher than in recent years. But our monthly attendance totals are back up in the realm where they were ten years ago, when we had twice as many members. That means people are now coming nearly twice as often as they used to.
Shawn and Kiki rarely arrive with an empty back seat. They round up their college-age friends and neighbors and introduce them to the lake. They have even bought memberships as birthday gifts for their friends.
Yes, gas prices mean that we have seen less of some old friends--especially those who drive down from Georgia. But maybe those same gas prices are pushing some locals to the lake, instead of going out of town for the weekend. We don't know the answers, but we're enjoying the crowd.
And remember that we get some of our most beautiful weather in the fall. Keep on coming.
>Alligator Attacks Deer; Deer Attacks Alligator
On Saturday, August 9, the small pond next to our lake was the scene of a rare event. A female deer stepped out of the underbrush and began drinking. Then an alligator rose up and grabbed the deer by the head, pulling it under. The deer squealed frantically as it struggled. Suddenly a buck with a large rack of horns leaped into the water, reared up on its hind legs, and slashed the alligator several times with its forefeet, before his back legs began sinking in the ooze, and he had to concentrate on freeing himself. Meanwhile, the alligator pulled the doe underwater, and it was not seen again. Several members, including horrified children, watched the whole thing. It was over in about a minute.
No one has ever tried swimming in the pond, because it is too shallow and too mucky. We had never seen an alligator there before. But we have frequently seen alligators this summer sunning themselves on the clay bank across our lake. As usual, they have pretty much stayed away from people.
The next day after the deer incident was our board meeting. We decided the time had come to call the state alligator removal service (which we had done once many years ago). The hunters found nothing in the pond, but did take out one big alligator and two small ones from the lake. That was the night before Tropical Storm Fay hit.
Thompson Valley Road flooded, blocking access to our land that weekend. (Paul did hike the mile-and-a-half each way to make sure our new storage shed was still above water.) The pond overflowed into the trees. The lake, which had sunk to record low last summer, is now back up to normal.
We have not seen alligators in the weeks since. Whether the hunters got them all, or whether they just left because they didn't like the high water, we don't know. We do know that they move around from one body of water to another, and will return--probably someday soon. We just go on, living in harmony with nature.
This summer, Angel attended the AANR Youth Ambassador Program for people of college age at Cypress Cove near Kissimmee. You remember Angel; he won the male athlete victory wreath at this year's College Greek Athletic Meet. He carried his enthusiasm to the Youth Ambassador program, and the counselors loved it.
Shauna attended the program last year, and found new confidence. This year's emphasis shifted to making clothed recruitment videos for posting on the internet.
Angel appeared in a clothed picture of the group in Tampa Naturally. Then came a nearly full-page picture of him nude at the beach in Naturally magazine.
Just four years after they opened, officials at the luxurious Caliente resort near Tampa decided they can no longer afford to operate as a family-oriented club. So they are advertising for swingers. (They received 100 new applications the day that news broke.) When AANR officials began investigating and insisting on standards, Caliente withdrew from AANR.
This abrupt change came just a few months after the unexpected death of Chuck Foster, the guiding force behind the resort.
Residents who bought the expensive houses at Caliente feel betrayed. Club officials told reporters that only a few residents were complaining. Well, several hundred of those few have filed a court challenge for breach of promise.
One analyst wrote that Caliente fell victim to a bad business plan--building too close to Paradise Lakes while trying to attract the same type of people. The borderline sexiness at Paradise Lakes has long worried traditional nudists. After Caliente pulled out of AANR, you never heard such holier-than-thou talk from Paradise Lake officials. They don't get to do that very often.
Doug, our treasurer for 14 years before he moved to Tampa, is now serving as treasurer of the Pasco Area Naturist Development Association. Every three weeks, the group puts out a newspaper covering all of the AANR clubs in central Florida. We have it at the lake.
Some members of the PANDA group are talking about building an assisted living place for aging nudists. The need for such an option has come up before, but this time investors are giving it serious attention.
The Bay Bares, north of Panama City, called to announce that they are now open seven days a week. They had been open only on weekends, like us. And many winter weekends, they didn't open at all. Because they had a heated (but smoke-filled) clubhouse, a hot tub, and a fire ring, we used to visit them each winter. We gave up because of their erratic schedule. We may try again this winter.
Hidden River, at McClenny over toward Jacksonville, got a two-page spread in the July AANR Bulletin. In addition to their annual Nudie Blues Festival, they are making plans for a new-age event with lots of workshops next spring.
For decades, California State Parks operated by the Cahill Policy. That meant no hassling of nude sunbathers and swimmers, unless somebody specifically complained. On the rare occasions when that happened, the nudists were told to get dressed for the rest of the day. The next day, they could be nude again.
Now the Park Service has announced that they are going to start arresting nudists at San Onofre State Park. State law requires public hearings before any such change of policy. The Naturist Action Committee of the Naturist Society took the Park Service to court, and won. The judge said there must be hearings, and everything must meanwhile return to normal. State officials say they will appeal that decision. But when the Park Service failed to take down their No Nudity sign, NAC sued them a second time.
There is still the danger that California will hold hearings, then ignore them, just as the State Park System did in Florida. That was in 1989. They scheduled just one hearing--at Christmastime in Tallahassee--as inconvenient a time, and as far from most of the beach groups as they could get. For the first time, Florida's resorts and beach groups acted together. From the other end of the state, they converged on Tallahassee. Thirty-nine people spoke at that hearing, and every single one of them spoke against the proposed nudity ban. The Associated Press sent that news around the nation. But when the proposal later came before the governor and cabinet, someone asked what had happened at the hearing. The park official said, "Oh yes, somebody wrote in about bee-keeping, and we accommodated his concerns in the proposal." It passed unanimously.
Thanks to the generosity of members like Deana and Paul C., equipment keeps showing up in our storage shed. Special thanks go to new member Michael, who donated a brand-new lawn mower. We have now replaced most of the things lost in last yearís fire, but still lack these:
Now that our storage shed is filling up, we need to be careful about putting everything where it belongs. Even if you are in a hurry and it's starting to rain, please take the time to put stuff where it belongs, so the next person doesn't have to do it for you.
Two of the three political candidates who visited our Open House are still in the running for November. Watch for our next Voters' Guide.
A new group, Friends of Playalinda Beach, has taken up where the nearly defunct Central Florida Naturists left off. None of the three Brevard County commissioners who voted for the infamous anti-nudity ordinance are running for re-election. The club is openly backing three friendly candidates for those spots--as well as a new candidate for sheriff.
Our article in our last newsletter on Scott's housecleaning enterprise has been reprinted in the current issue of Naturally. We have it at the lake.
Naturally is the same magazine where Paul's art history column ran for twenty years, until he closed it out this spring. The magazine plans to publish those columns as a four-volume book. Paul put his final touches on the manuscript a few weeks ago, but progress at the other end has been slow.
We have still not seen the full program for the Southern Naturist Gathering at Lake Como in October. If you are interested in attending, talk with Paul. This is the second attempt to hold a fall gathering. There is always a bigger one at Sunsport Gardens near Loxahatchee each February.
Donít forget that we have AANR and Naturist Society guidebooks to nude beaches and clubs on sale at the lake--now at sale prices.