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Doris writes a weekly column for LaGaceta, the nation's only trilingual newspaper, which has pages in English, Spanish, and Italian.  Begun in 1922 for Tampa's immigrant community, it continues to thrive more than a century later.  Her column is titled "In Context," as it aims to put contemporary issues in the context of the past.

Struck by Lightning

Except in the metaphorical sense – aka Donald Trump -- I hadn’t thought about lightning rods in decades. When I was growing up in the Midwest, every home with aspirations to safety and modernity had them. They were on the peaks of rooftops, where they were intended as the highest possible point to attract and divert lightning from more valuable property and people on the ground. Yet here in Tampa, the lightning capital of North America, I can’t recall ever seeing any.  Read More 
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Feast or Famine Florida

I’m the child of farmers, and it’s in my blood to dig dirt. My mother and grandmothers and great-grandmothers, though, grew vegetables because they needed them to feed their big families. My generation is fortunate to enjoy gardening as a hobby, not a necessity, and I grow flowers for birds and butterflies. The few fruit trees we have are for fun more than food – and that’s a very good thing because this has been a very strange year for them. You may remember that the winter was exceptionally warm and the spring exceptionally dry, so the lychee and mango trees bloomed much too early and then lost their buds in the spring drought. I was sure they would bloom again when the summer rains came, but they haven’t. In retrospect, I think it was because late spring not only was dry, but also uncommonly hot. I even took a picture of the TV screen when the map showed 100 degrees in Brandon, something that never has happened in the 45 years we’ve lived here.  Read More 
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Swimming Pools

It will take a while to get to swimming pools because that needs a lot of context, so please hang in. You may remember that I’ve said I’m cleaning my study. I’ll be doing that for months. In lieu of writing another book this year, I’m going through files and boxes with the aim of throwing out dust-and-mold collectors. Most is old research material and much of it now is available on the internet, so lots of paper goes into the recycling bin.  Read More 
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