I am still waiting for my computer to be fixed!

The new hard drive is installed. However I need 4 other pieces. They have arrived. Hopefully by tomorrow morning I will be properly back in action!

That is why no blog yesterday!

Today I am at Lisa’s writing this blog. With the grandkids all around me, of course! A joy!

Wednesday night I went to Kwest to hear Bobby Nesbitt. His usual great self!

By prearrangement, I met Bill and June Hudson there. We had dinner scheduled afterwards at Antonia’s.

Bill and June are from Dover, Delaware. They have had a home here in Sugarloaf about 25 years. Good people!

Bill is close to retiring. He is a divorce lawyer in Delaware. Reputed to be one of the best. A soft spoken southern type gentleman.

June is just beautiful! Inside and out! And equally soft spoken as her good husband Bill.

Dinner was interesting! Bill loves to discuss politics also. So away we went!

Bill is a die hard black Republican! Only way to describe him! He says his father told him when he was very young that the worse Republican was better than the best Democrat. With that in mind, you can appreciate how our dinner conversation proceeded.

Yesterday I had business in Marathon. Marathon is about 45 miles north of Key West. Since the speed limit is anally regulated along route 1, it took me an hour each way. On the highway, forget the towns, the speed limits were 30, 45 and 55 miles per hour. Mostly 45. Therein lies the reason why it took 1 hour each way.

However I was not disturbed. The drive thru the keys is so beautiful! Miles and miles of nothing but ocean on each side. A trip!

So I was tired when I returned. That meant a quiet evening.

I went over to Schooner’s Wharf for a couple of drinks. A real dive! One of the last vestiges of old Key West!

Then to Pepe’s for dinner.

Pepe’s is reputed to be the oldest restaurant in Key West. Legend has it that back in the 1700s the pirates planned their raids from Pepe’s. Key West was the home port for Caribbean pirates in those days. Many the Spanish galleon lies buried off Key West shores as a result of those pirate raids. And a few Key West locals who dived for gold for years looking for those wreckages have become multi millionaires as a result of finding a galleon or two.

One of those memorables is Mel Fisher. He finally struck gold in the late 1980s. He and his family went from abject poverty to millionaire status instantly. Of course it took 15 years before he found treasure. The story is he had faith in what he was doing, was broke finacially as a result of his search, but finally struck gold as they say!

A movie was made of his life starring Cliff Robertson.

I had dinner at the bar at Pepe’s and spoke with some of the locals. Food is basic and simple at Pepe’s. Turkey and mashed potaotoes. Or meat loaf. Or chicken. Huge plates overflowing. And cheap prices!

The season is slow. I fear the recession is deinitely upon us.

Restaurants that turned over their tables 3 times during an evening, are lucky to fill them once. I saw it at Pepe’s last night. And I have seen it at the other restaurants in town over the past few weeks.

Several businesses have closed here or drastically cut back.

I spoke with a major marina owner recently. He has been in business 40 years. Sells and repairs boats. In 2006 he experienced a 15 per cent increase in profit. Every year he made more money than the previous. Last year 2007 he ended up in the red. First time!

He says that when boats do not sell, he can still get along doing repairs. He is not even getting the repair business at this time. His feeling is that people are just plain afraid to spend money.

I spoke also with a real estate attorney yesterday also. His business was down 60 per cent last year.

And then there is Fletcher’s. A fine furniture store! The very finest pieces! The most expensive!

Fletcher’s has been doing business for 20 years. As long as peole came to the keys and bought or remodeled homes, Flethcher’s did well. But no one is buying now!

I got a call from one of the staff the other day to tell me Fletcher’s was closing down. They wanted me to know they were having a great for the consumer close out sale. I have been a customer off and on over the years. I was further told that the owner had been putting money back into the business for the past 2 years to keep it going. However it was now time to stop! So soon there will be no more Fletcher’s!

All good hard working people involved in these tragic tales!

I fear for our immediate future. At some point we will pull out of this economic downturn. I am old enough to know that. However I fear this is the worse one in my adult life and many are going to be badly hurt before it is over.

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