Fountain of Youth

Many times when I was in school the story of Ponce de Leon and the fountain of youth was mentioned. I remember daydreaming about this event while the teacher yammered on and on about the discovery of America, and the path the Spanish took on their search for gold. But, somehow, this story was very romantic for me. The explorer discovers the coast of Florida where St. Augustine is today. Finds the Natives healthy and thinks, ‘Is there something in their water?’ The rest, as they say, is history. He drinks, he feels younger, the legend begins. What I didn’t know at the time is that Ponce was a mere 39 or so when this happened. I suppose in 1513, that might be older than it seems now. But, approaching 60 this spring, I am thinking, he was still a baby! Or at least the age I would be hoping to achieve if I were to drink from this glorious fountain. . .my dream finally came true last Saturday, when Becky took me to St. Augustine, and we both stood before the fountain. It is much smaller than I imagined, lined in stone and concrete. The stream that issues from it is a small trickle, where they fill the tiny plastic glasses from which the supplicants sip. We went in twice to drank the water which tasted of minerals. Greedy, we took a double dose. Do I feel younger? Oh, definitely. Do I look younger? You’ll be surprised next time you see me. Am I still turning 60? Well, it didn’t promise to turn the years back, did it? But then, I didn’t read the small print. The trees, covered with Spanish moss, shaded the road as we drove out. Any minute now. . .