MAJOR KEY WEST EVENT…..CONCH REPUBLIC DRAG RACE TODAY

This is the day! A major once a year event scheduled. The Conch Republic Drag Race. Duval Street. Part of Conch Republic Days.

Drag Queens galore! Female impersonators at their best! Males in female attire, wigs and make up. Most importantly, heels. High heels!

The 700 block of Duval. Race hosted by the Bourbon Street Pub.

The obstacle course difficult. Tires in the road, etc. Queens will be sitting in supercharged shopping carts driven by local male dancers.

Anything can happen! Usually does!

Enjoy!

A noon haircut with Lori yesterday. Her salon packed. Has been for weeks. We talked about it.

We were in accord. The big business ends this weekend. A holiday. Tourists in in large numbers. Snowbirds will go home next week. Business will be dramatically down in a week.

So it is. So it has been for many years. Lori and her staff plan for it. All are tired. Glad things will slow down.

Stopped into Fernandy’s for lunch. A gentleman came over. He knew me. I did not recognize him, however. His wife followed.

Turned out we had met at the Chart Room 5 years ago. Dave and Rhonda from Birmingham.

Dave reads this blog religiously. He knew it was time for my haircut and manicure. He was right! Haircut yesterday. Hopefully, manicure today.

Dave and Rhonda are visiting for one month. They rented a house near the Blue Macaw. Indicated they wanted to see Terri White. Perfect! She sings wednesday evening at 7 at Blue Macaw. They were excited.

Dave and Rhonda nice people. Understandable. They live in Birmingham, Alabama. Home of Jean and Joe Thornton. My benefactors during Irma.

Dave knew all about the stay. As I was trying to tell him about how nice Birmingham people were, he was a step ahead of me. He had read it all in the blog at the time. He agreed Birmingham people are the best.

Strange night. Began raining early. Around 9-10. Kept raining all night. Heavy. Noisy.

Heavy rain had been predicted for South Florida. Did not think it included the Keys. It did. Periodically woke me during the evening.

Met Janet Bengel and Don Bearden thursday at the radio station when I finished the show with Laurie. Laurie was going to interview them on her next segment re a show they are doing.

I chatted briefly with them in between segments.

Their involvement with the Fringe Theater. Live Key West theater.

Janet is President of Fringe Theater. Don a writer and sometime actor.

Don has written a new show. It’s All About Us. A romance and time travel story. It’s world premier April 24 and 25 in Key West at the Key West Theater on Eaton street.

Sounds good. I hope to be there.

Hurricane Michael back in the news. Destroyed the Panhandle last year. The federal government continues to fail the Panhandle. They are being treated like second cousins. Not getting the federal bucks and help required. An absolute disgrace.

They are American citizens living on the soil of an American state. Compared to Puerto Ricans who are Americans citizens and also still suffering more than a year later following Maria.

The government has and continues to fail both. A disgrace! Trump really knows how to take care of his own! Said with tongue in cheek. He knowingly permits U.S. citizens to suffer.

The problem is money. He would rather send it to the southwestern border than to northern Florida and Puerto Rico. His priorities screwed up.

Michael is back in the news. It was first classified as a category 4. Five miles short of a 5. It has been reclassified as a category 5. Why, I am not sure. I could find no specific reason. Five miles a minuscule difference.

My circle of friends continues to get smaller.

John Longeretta died.

John a Utica attorney I have known since high school days. An athlete. Exceptional football player. Played at Hamilton College. Baltimore looked him over.

John went to Syracuse University School of Law as I did. He was a year older and a year ahead of me.

John and I were always friends. Not saturday night dinner types. Good friends professionally and personally, never the less.

A quick story.

I had been sworn in 2 weeks earlier as a for real honest to goodness licensed lawyer. Received a telephone call from Judge Walsh’s secretary at 3 on a friday afternoon. The Judge wanted to see me.

I was all excited. A Judge wanted to see me!

Rushed down to his Chambers. He told me he was assigning me to a criminal case scheduled to begin trial monday morning. Three African-Americans had killed a semi-prominent white man and robbed him. The other 2 defendants were being represented by John Longeretta and Harold Hymes. Harold later became Chief Judge of the Utica City Court System.

Was I thrilled! They were charged with murder in the 2nd degree. Carried a death sentence. Electrocution in those days.

Note I had officially only been a lawyer for 2 weeks. I knew from nothing. They did not teach in law school in those days how to try a case. You learned by doing following graduation.

John had tried several criminal cases already. Harold had tried many over the years.

I was a total screw up! Mistakes! Wow!

At one time, I made a huge terrible one. I asked a stupid question that should never have been asked. Hurt our side badly. Judge Walsh called an immediate conference in Chambers.

I did not have to wait for the Judge to ream me a new you know what. Harold was all over me. Respectfully, John never said a word.

I took my beating. What else could I do? We returned to the court room.

The trial last 5 1/2 weeks. The jury was out in excess of 24 hours continuously. A blinding snowstorm raging outside. The courthouse heat inadequate in the night time.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty of robbery in the 2nd degree. Not guilty on the murder count.

The maximum  sentence in those days for robbery 2nd was 18 months. My “client” had spent 24 months awaiting trial. He would walk out of the courthouse with me.

He knew he was poorly represented. When he heard “guilty” and not understanding to what and the significance thereof, he looked at me and called me an “asshole.”

So it was.

None of us defending got paid. In those days, indigents were appointed counsel. Who worked for free. Pro bono. No public defender system.

I enjoyed working the case with John. Enjoyed working the case period. My first.

By the way, I got better as time went on.

John married Mirella. A beautiful stewardess from Italy. They had 4 children. Three boys and a girl. Their daughter Andria was a superior gymnast. I believe she went to George Washington because of the talent. Not sure what son John did for a living.

My friend had 2 other sons. Paul and David. Both became attorneys and spent their lives working with their father. Both, good people. I had an especially close relationship with David.

John, everyone will miss you. Rest in peace.

My date for dinner tonight is Terri. Donna is in Detroit doing Passover with her family. Terri opted not to go this year.

It will be a good evening.

No blog tomorrow. I wish you a Happy Easter today. Lisa is doing a big brunch at 9.

Enjoy your day!

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