“Palindromic* Sub Shop*”

a ‘palindromic’

sandwich shop “sobiks” ruined

what once was a swamp


  • (Not really a palindrome: Sobik’s Sub Shop – a family member’s shop in Sanford, Florida, a few miles away from most of the rest of the local franchise, calls itself Skibo’s Sub Shop: hence my near-miss nomer.  The point – in the middle 1970s with Jack Hannah’s help Sanford’s municipal zoo moved from downtown to what had been designed to be a botanical garden (with compatible animal displays) along the swampy southern coast of 11-mile long and 4-mile wide Lake Monroe.  Trouble: most of the animals – including an elephant purchased for the property by the aforementioned Sobik’s Subs, was highly inappropriate for the location.  Even the planned for hippopotamus had neither the river nor the aquatic plants.  Hanna’s participation was peripheral, but he did become in name at least zoological park director for a brief time.  The park is way out of town, almost near the Interstate – which technically is an IntrAstate, since I-4 does not cross a state line but goes from Daytona Beach to Tampa – with appropriate bends towards Sanford and a most inappropriate and now plagued with a decade of Ultimate Improvement through the heart of Downtown Orlando.  The heffalump, the hippo, the interstate all are creatures of the Unintended Consequence Law.  One wonders, however, which wag found Skibo’s acceptable – and why – for the name of another of the same family’s shop in downtown Sanford.  The one out on US 17-92’s four-lane city North South route into Orlando had the Skibo name; the one downtown had the misfortune of being in too large a shop – now the home of the relocated Colonial Room breakfast and lunch – and formerly dinner, too! – institution, and thus died unmourned and mostly unloved.  One wonders further, however, if the gift pachyderm approves. I was privileged to stain my last set of Marine Corps camouflage utility tousers with mud past my eyebrows taking pictures of The Central Florida Botanical and Zoological Park fully a year before it came into being.  From then-high-banked US 17-92 in its high-speed two-lane iteration, its 90 mph-capable many curves following Lake Monroe later truncated to chop speed, to the site of a former – and fabled – turn-of-the-century (last one, not this!) amusement park with a just-dug pool and a dance-and-picnic pavilion,  I was quite proud to slide, slither, hack and trade bites with ‘skeeters and listen for gators and other reptillian forms – better smelt than heard! – and come back to the Snafu Herald newsroom reeking and dripping to drop off my film and accede to the demand I go home and shower before returning to write my copy.  Such shower took the rest of the day and all night.)

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