“What you do think you’re doing, Spicoli?”

“Learnin’ about Cuba, and having some food.”

— “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Hola! Presidente Obama has given us an early Christmas gift. What with the yuletide over and dogs chasing pieces of wrapping paper down the mucky streets, along comes a burst of warm air out of the Oval Office.

Break out the silk sport shirts with flamingos and palm trees, banana daiquiris, balmy breezes, foot-long cigars and rum espressos at sidewalk cafes. Cuba is back, baby. Send me in, El Coacho. Where do we get our passports stamped?

You still mad at Fidel for the missile crisis? Get over it. That’s so last century. Get those white linen suits and white bucks out of mothballs. Shine up the Ray-Bans. Let the good times roll. All is forgiven, our president in his infinite wisdom, hath spoken.

What do we think of when we think of Cuba? For many, it’s Desi Arnaz. No. It’s October 1962 and the missile crisis. I missed a lot of it in those 13 days. I actually hid under the bed with my phone, talking to Danny Ades and Michael Robello, two actor friends of mine who were born there. We were all terrified. Danny and Mike are dead now. Danny, I think, had his ashes returned to his poor neighborhood in Havana. That was the rumor. If things go as planned, I will soon be able to visit his gravesite and then over to hoist a toast to Papa Hemingway at the La Floridita bar.

My, how time flies when you’re having fun. Fidel roared down out of the Sierra Maestra and threw the mob, who controlled all the casinos, out the door.

The whole mess was immortalized in Francis Coppola’s “Godfather 2” and Sydney Pollack’s “Havana.” But my favorite, the most evocative movie set in Cuba, was Arne Glimcher’s “The Mambo Kings.” If you’re getting ready to plan a soon-to-be-government approved cruise to Havana, this is the one you should see. Want to collect fabulous antique cars? Cuba has one in every garage.

Presidente Obama’s news seemed to come as a big surprise to everyone, including Maine’s own Angus King and Susan Collins, and the shocked Republicans. Don’t you believe it. I would not be surprised if the world’s major hotel chains like Wyndham and Hilton and Marriott International haven’t been down there for some time scouting locations, and those big cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have likely been polishing the bright work in anticipation. I mean you can’t really call yourself “Royal” if Havana isn’t on your destination list, can you?

So what? So what does this mean to you frozen citizens this cold Saturday morning in central Maine? How does all of this factor into the lives of the average aging reader of this newspaper? The key word is RETIREE.

For years, the winter destination of Maine retirees, along with older folks from all the East Coast of America, has always stopped at the water’s edge in Florida, providing snowbirds with cramped trailer parks, tiny apartments, benches on the shore and cheap peanuts to feed the pigeons.

I mean, how many line dancing classes and Bingo games can you handle after years and years? Sure, it’s warm, when it’s not raining and the humidity hasn’t wrinkled your Haggar slacks. You know everyone at the 4:30 early bird dinner at the local diner, and you’re bored with salt free items and long for some picante salsa, right?

So don’t you just want to live a little? Don’t you want to recreate a life like you used to see in those old MGM Technicolor movies where Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams swam in the azure blue pools, while Xavier Cugat led his orchestra in the samba? And don’t you want to be there in the bleachers when Danny Valencia brings the Blue Jays down to Havana? Of course you do.

This is what awaits you when Raul Castro finally admits that he has longed to go to Disney World in Orlando and finally meet Cameron Diaz.

It’s coming, I tell you, and I’m looking forward to dining at the Macondo in Havana, having some food and learning about Cuba. Ole!

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.