I screw up re birthdays, anniversaries and the like. I forget or do the happy greeting on the wrong day. I cannot blame it on age. I have been this way my whole life.

I did it again this morning.

I thought it was Ally’s birthday. Nine years old. I telephoned to wish her a Happy Birthday. Poppa…..My birthday is tomorrow!

Oh, well.

I returned to the gym yesterday morning. Not for a scheduled work out. Just to use the tread mill for a while. The gym by the way is WeBeFit.

I figured I would do an hour. Slowly. Like 3 mph. Good luck! I was fortunate to make 20 minutes. A mere 3/4’s of a mile. I was tired! Felt it the rest of the day. My body got more tired as the day progressed.

Worry not. I am not pushing myself.

Lunched at the Pier House. The Beach Bar was packed so I sat on the outside deck. Spent a couple of hours reading through newspapers and watching the bikini clad ladies prance about. Always an enjoyable experience.

I arrived home a little after 3. Laid down. I was feeling the tread mill experience.

Decided to stay home again. I was too tired to go out!

It was an interesting evening of television.

I watched Havana with Robert Redford. About the Castro revolution. At the end of the movie, it is 1963 and Redford is driving his car down this street running along the ocean. I said to myself…..That’s Key West! It was as was made known seconds later. He was driving along Smathers Beach, stopped his car and walked out onto the sand. Reminiscing about Cuba and the love he left behind.

Another movie was of 1955 vintage. It starred Rhonda Fleming. A most beautiful woman!

I met Rhonda Fleming around 1980. I would have been 45 at the time and she 57. We were both at La Costa. La Costa was a well known fat farm in those days. As the Golden Door is today. I visited at least a dozen times.

The men were placed on 800 calories a day and the women 400. More, if you liked. I did the 800 one. Not much to eat! Exercise was constant from 9 to 5. No stragglers permitted. Not hard to handle, however. Each day included a massage and facial.

Lunch was in a large dining room with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking La Costa’s famous golf course and mountains on the other side. I used to sit at lunch and dinner with my back to the dining room and its guests. I would stare out at the mountains and wonder about the safety of the homes I could see which were built on pilings on the sides of the mountains.

I noticed Rhonda Fleming sat at the table next to me. The seating was prearranged. I recognized her from her many films. She still looked good! High cheek bones, magnificent skin, a winning smile.

She asked one day if I disliked people. My back being always to the other diners. I responded everyone looked drawn and tired from the diet with very sorrowful faces. The mountains were much prettier and comforting.

We became friends. We lunched and had dinner together the next two days. We also hung out in the bar for a while after dinner drinking Perrier or some type water. No alcohol permitted on the diet. One glass of gin would have blown it to hell.

The brief time with her was a most enjoyable experience. I checked her out on the internet this morning. She is still alive and 91.

Vera Schiff was an integral part of Key West for many years. A widow from Pennsylvania, she moved to Key West. Loved by all. Threw great parties. Exemplary parties!

She left several years ago. I understand she is back in Key West. I assume for an extended visit. I look forward to running into her.

Big party tonight! The league bocce party. As opposed to the special 5 team party next thursday at Don’s Place. The bocce parties remind me of the bowling banquets of old. My team is meeting at 5:30 at Don’s Place and will go together. The party is at the restaurant next door to the Green Parrot. The name escapes me. It is a relatively new owner and name.

I sense a good party. Good food and drinks. We will probably all end up at the bar at the Green Parrot. The Green Parrot is one of Key West’s oldest and favored spots. A touch of old Key West like Schooner Wharf. I rarely go to the Green Parrot. I look forward to it tonight.

Enjoy your day!


My home town is Utica, N.Y. Yesterday in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI canonized several new saints. Two of them had Utica ties.

Recall my Cousin Rose who died two years ago. A nun. A black Franciscan nun. My Cousin constantly prayed to Marianne Cope, a black Franciscan nun who died some 100 years ago. Rose believed that some day Marianne Cope would be as a saint.

Yesterday, Marianne Cope became a Saint. She was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.

Marianne Cope was born in Germany. Her family came to America and settled in Utica. Marianne was raised in Utica. Later in life, she became a nun and served as Mother Superior of her Order in Syracuse, N.Y. The Third Order of St. Francis. It is popularly referred to as the black Franciscans. The black denoting the color of the habit Marianne Cope and her sister nuns wore.

Marianne Cope’s major undertaking which gave her a seat at the right hand of God was neither her Utica upbringing nor her stewardship of the black Franciscans. It was her work with lepers.

Leprosy was and is a dreaded disease. Years ago, lepers were herded off like animals to one of the Hawaiin islands. Moloki. Marianne Cope opted to help the lepers. She lived and worked among them for many years. She assisted the already sainted Father Damien.

Kateri Tekokwiths was aslo canonized yesterday. A Native American. The first Native American to become a Saint.

Kateri was born in Auriesville, N.Y. Aurieville is 40 miles east of Utica.

Upstate New York was Indian country. The Mohawks were an Iroquois tribe residing in the area encompassing Utica and Auriesville. Today, the valley Utica sits in is known as the Mohawk Valley.

Kateri was born of an Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father. She has become known religiously over the years as Lily of the Mohawks. Her life was brief and rugged. She was persecuted for her Catholicism. Kateri died at age 24 in Canada.

So it was, so it is.

The story of these two blessed ladies overwhelms my Key West experiences of yesterday.

A blessed day to you!