Friday, May 28, 2004

Really Home

Now we're really, really home. Last night, we went to Schooner Wharf and, as we hoped, The Unpaid Bar Tabs were playing and Lisa Sato was singing. They are even better now than we remember then. They've been making music together for at least three, maybe four years. There are new songs in the repertoire, Carl, Bubba and Sammy lay down the melody and rhythm, and Lisa builds the songs on top of it all.

Best of all, Red and Little Boy were there to greet us. Little Boy isn't so little any more. In fact, Little Boy is now about an inch taller than I am. We're planning to get together later today to continue the discussions we used to have until two years ago, and I need to fix LB's Mac Powerbook.

It was a good night.

So, Wednesday was a visiting day. I took my bicycle and went down to Duval St. to see who was around, and what was new. My route was via Thomas St. to Southard St. and past the Monroe County courthouse and complex, three buildings in the heart of Old Town, with lots of reserved parking, then to Duval St. I'll be coming back to Monroe County government later.

The first person I ran into that I knew was Georgia Favelli, on her way to Casa 325, one of three guest houses owned and operated by her and husband Tom. Georgia is one of several women in KW who have helped to build successful businesses in a difficult business environment. I stopped at Shades on Duval St. to let Barry, one of the owners, know that I'm interested in joining the Navy League. More about that at some point.

On to Caroline St. where I visited for a while with Captain Outrageous at his Theme Park and Studio. The Captain seems well, despite having nearly lost the sight of one eye to a cataract. He's trying to come up with the $3700 its going to cost for an operation to correct it. He gave me a copy of the Key West magazine from last fall that featured him in a cover story. The Captain is an interesting guy. I always enjoy talking to him.

Then to Greene St., where Clay Greager operates the Last Flight Out store. Clay's another one I enjoy visiting. In a sense, and although he didn't know it at the time, he is one of those directly responsible for us being in the Keys the first time. I was walking with my brother on Duval Street in 1998, and we came upon his shop, which was then on mid-Duval St. (he's on Greene St. across from Sloppy Joe's now). In his window, I read the short poem/essay entitled "Courage":

What are the fears that you run from?
What are the obstacles that you want to overcome?

What is the path that you'd like to take?
What are the changes you'd like to make?

Where would you go,

What would you do,

If every window was open to you?

Do you have the courage without any doubt ....

To reach for your dreams and take your Last Flight Out?

We had just returned from a stay in Ireland, I was looking for a job in NH, and Tom was paying me to come to Florida in December to help him fix some computer problems he was having. It was during the time we spent together in Key West that he first suggested that I come to manage his store there. I said I'd love to do it, but I "knew" that Janet would never agree to move to Florida.

Less than 12 months later, soon after I quit the job I had taken in NH (I hated it), I made another trip down with him, we came to agreeable terms, and I went back home to attempt the impossible -- convince Janet that we HAD to move to Key West. Again, she threw me the curve ball, agreed to it readily, and we quickly began planning yet another step into the unknown together.

Well, it's late, and still haven't said much about Wednesday's ride-about. I'll try it again in the morning.

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