When I was a kid, I had a cat named Fritz. She had 3 litters of kittens before Mom & Dad finally wised up and had her spayed. But oh what fun it was, before they figured out her wooly ways.
So yes. Three litters. I named the most of the kittens. One of the standouts was “Pounce de Leon.” I was pretty young, but I am sure the name came from my school-ish ways. We briefly visited the account of this explorer in our Social Studies class.
Yes. Juan Ponce de Leon. Here is a little brief bit about Juan. He happened to be a Spanish explorer and conquistador.
I’m going on a tangent here… but conquistador is one of my favorite words. I just like the way it sounds. It reminds me of the Frito Bandito. Or something you dip Tostitos in. Anyway. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. Heaven knows the native Puerto Ricans didn’t elect him. Or the Frito Bandito.
He led the first known European expedition to La Florida. That’s what he named it. La Florida. (I think we should rename our state to Le Ohio. It sounds classier.)
And finally…. HE is associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth. It was supposed to be in Florida and he was hot on its trail.
Ahhhh. The Fountain of Youth. The Elixir of the Young. Man’s Quest for Immortality.
The Fountain of Youth is one coolio spring. It is supposed to restore the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. I’ll take two. And then I’ll call you in the morning.
All of this hubbub did not start with my kitten’s namesake. Tales about such a fountain have been knocked around across the world for thousands of years.
Now here are some references… which I know very little about. The fountain appeared in writings by Herodotus (5th century BCE), the Alexander romance (3rd century CE), and the stories of Prester John (early Crusades, 11th/12th centuries CE).
The stories I am more familiar with are the ones what were told by the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean during the Age of Exploration (early 16th century). These “tales” were pretty prominent. They told of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini.
So. If I ever win the Super Bowl… and they ask me what I’m going to do next… I will say… “The heck with Disney World. I”m going to Bimini!” Not really.
Bimini actually exists. IT is the westernmost district of the Bahamas. It is a little chain of islands located about 53 miles due east of Miami. The population is 1,988 as of the 2010 census. Not one, of the 1,998 residents, have ever stumble across the fountain as far as I know. If so… they aren’t talking.
The Fountain of Youth is not there at all. In fact, the indigenous people did not like those Europeans coming around and ruining their perfectly good way of life. So do you think they would give that glorious secret location of the The Fountain of Youth? Not in a million years. So they said… let’s send them to Bimini.
I’m pretty sure we’ll never find the actual fountain. But we already have something much better. The fountains in our hearts. We have the ability to keep our minds forever young. Our spirit. Our outlook. Our energy for life.
No need to go to Bimini. The Fountain of Youth lies within each one of us.
And if I’m wrong on this…. the Speedway is right up the street where the “Speedy Fountain” is available, day and night. Just 89¢ for the Big Gulp.
“Life is spectacular. Forget the dark things. Take a drink and let time wash them away to where ever time washes away to.” ― Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now
“Your heart is the size of an ocean. Go find yourself in its hidden depths.” ― Rumi