WHO PUSHES THE CART?

Yesterday, a Key West day all day. Rare.

The most important event was taking Terri grocery shopping at Publix. Donna is out of town for a week.

Terri could not take herself. She is not driving any more. Her eye sight is failing.

I volunteered.

I had a concern. How was Terri going to maneuver around the store. The first thing that struck me was whether she could direct the cart.

I asked her: Who pushes the cart?

Her response: I PUSH THE CART!

Sorry I asked.

We shopped. Pleasantly.

Next, she wanted to stop at CVS to pick up a prescription. I did not even bother to go in with her. I was confident she could handle it.

Love Terri!

Terri was the third scheduled event for the day. I started earlier with a haircut with Lori. It takes all of 2 minutes to cut my hair. She never wants to charge me. I give her $20.

Ran into Lori later in the evening. I was having dinner at the bar in Roostica. There was Lori and her husband at the end of the bar. A good looking couple. We chatted a bit.

Stopped at Sandy’s Cafe for a quick lunch after the haircut. Sandy’s and Lori’s are like 5-6 doors apart on White Street.

Then, it was Terri’s turn.

I had one more appointment following Terri. A manicure with Tammy.

Tammy always a pleasant experience. Admire what she and her husband have accomplished developing their business Lee Nails.

Business was slow. The season over.

Last night, a lecture sponsored by KWAHS at the Custom House. A history of Duval Street from its beginnings to 1970. I was disappointed. Insufficient detail.

Always a smart ass or two in the audience. Three or four asked questions whose answers were known to God alone.

I was early for the lecture. Ran into Karen who was early also. We went across the street for a drink.

A pleasant half hour. Karen and I have not talked alone that long in 15 years.

Then to the Chart Room.

Packed! John busy!

I stayed a couple of hours. I was the only local. Unusual.

Met two charming ladies from New Jersey. Their 16th year visiting Key  West. Doing it up big. An ocean front room at the Pier House.

One a hospital comptroller. The other, retired.

I am always interested in how people feel about Trump, did they vote for him, etc. Apparently neither I nor the questions are offensive. People are happy to share their thoughts.

The retired woman a Trump supporter. Voted for him and thinks he is doing a great job. Making up for Obama’s failures. She was also thrilled with her retirement account. The market is up.

My stomach was growling. Time to eat. Stopped at Roostica’s on Stock Island on the way home. Great Italian food at reasonable prices. Seated at the bar next to me was Jim Clark. I have not seen him in a while.

We first met at bocce. I used to hate playing his team. Jim good! He shot first for his team. The polina always long, always down the middle. His ball on top of it. I always followed him. Rarely did I get close.

Jim into into social media, advertising, etc. He publishes Best Key West Restaurant Menus.

The weekly KONK Life publishes an internet paper daily. KONK Life E-Blast.

My column this past week in KONK Life was Black Caesar…..Keys Pirate. It was run this morning on E-Blast. Unusual. I suspect the column was a filler.

Sometimes a piece of news leaves you feeling empty. Following is one that did.

Scott Peterson was a Broward County Deputy Sheriff. He was the deputy on the scene at the Parkland high school shooting three months ago. The only one. He heard the gun shots and ran to them. He never opened the door to enter the school. He remained frozen outside.

Peterson recently retired after 25 years on the job. He is 55 years old. His pension $104,000 a year.

We worry about China and trade wars. Meetings at the moment in Washington between the U.S. and China.

China has been struggling with a declining birth rate over the years. The matter has become of concern to the government. One which limited families generally to one child per couple.

All of a sudden, the U.S. is experiencing a similar problem. The birth rate hit an all time low in 2017. Three million eight hundred thousand. Two percent lower than 2016, the lowest ever recorded in 30 years.

The cause is attributed to economics. Although 2008 is behind us, economic uncertainty remains. Such concern does not bode well for those wishing to have children.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

I’VE RETIRED FROM THE FIELD OF HOMOSEXUALITY

I have been coming to Key West for 30 years. Bought my home 20 years ago. In all that time, Key West has been One Happy Family.

Not so 10 years before I first came. The winter of 1979-80 was a time of flux. Straights versus gays. Violence commonplace. The gays generally on the losing end.

A bigoted man of God resided in Key West. A Baptist minister. His goal was to drive the deviates out of town. He bought an ad in the Key West Citizen. His position simple. He recommended 100 men with baseball bats walk down Duval Street and hit the “freaks” in the head.

The good minister claimed that was the way it was done in Key West in the days he loved and remembered.

One of Key West’s leading citizens at the time was Tennessee Williams. Thirty years a resident. Resided in a quaint bungalow on Duncan Street.

Williams had a gardener who cared for his grounds. The man was found in a pool of blood at his home. He had been killed by point blank shots to the head and neck.

The man was a friend. Williams took his death badly.

Six days after the gardener had been killed, William’s home was broken into. Vandalized, some minor thievery.

Williams was further disturbed. First time in 30 years anyone had invaded his home.

One month later, Williams and a house guest friend were coming out of the Monster. A gay disco off Duval. Late at night. Both men feeling no pain.

Williams and his friend were jumped by 4-5 guys. Williams struck and thrown to the ground. His glasses broken. His friend knocked down from a blow to the jaw.

The friend shouted they may have knives! Let’s get out of here! Williams refused. He stood his ground: “I am not in the habit of retreat.”

Some time thereafter, a group appeared in front of Williams home. They threw beer cans at the house. Shouted, “Come out, faggot.” Then threw fire crackers.

Williams and his friend were in the house. The fire crackers sounded like bullets. Williams and his friend thought they were under attack.

A little history.

Beginning in the mid 1960’s, Key West began becoming economically depressed. The Naval Base had significantly down sized, businesses were closing down. Many left.

It was then that the gays began arriving. They sensed Key West was a place for them. A place they could make home. They were like immigrants. Worked hard from day one to make Key West a better place.

With the gays came problems. Not just the disturbed minister. The gay improvements to the community caused real estate prices and taxes to go up. The gays were buying more and more property.

Some of the gays were not typical of non-gay Key West residents. For example, Williams’ gardener who was shot in the head several times was an eccentric. He would walk around Key West shouting, “I am a woman.”

Male prostitutes arrived on the scene. I find this fact amusing. If the new residents were gay, why did they need male prostitutes?

Drugs and crime accelerated. Assaults and battery common place. The gays were under siege.

Key West was Williams’ home. Had been for 30 years. He refused to leave. He also withdrew from sex at the time saying “I’ve retired from the field of homosexuality at present…..because of age, I have no desires.”

Williams understood why the gay community was being warred upon. Bad gays had followed the good gays to Key West. The bad ones were giving the good ones a bad name.

Key West soon became known as the Fire Island of Florida. Williams said the name did not fit. He viewed the bad gays and others as punks and predators.

Williams was possessed with foresight. He believed this anti-gay sentiment would pass. He firmly believed the violence would be gone by the next year. He was correct.

In the meantime, the Baptist minister kept ranting and raving. He threatened to bring Anita Bryant to Key West to assist in his anti-gay crusade.

The minister thought things would go one way or the other. He gave it 5 years. He took the position by the end of that time, there would be a revival of a “normal society” or the homosexuals would have taken over.

The good guys won.

During the winter of fire, Williams became exceptionally careful. He stopped walking or riding a bicycle down Duval late at night. He claimed he was “more frightened” in Key West “than I am in New York.”

Williams refused to leave Key West: “I have been here longer than they have and I’m not leaving.”

I never sensed the war like atmosphere when I arrived in Key West for the first time 10 years later. Gays owned businesses. Gays were in business with straights. No feeling of discrimination existed. Everyone loved everyone else. One Happy Family.

 

CANADIAN NIGHT AT THE CHART ROOM

The Chart Room was packed like New Year’s Eve last night. Everyone!

My biggest following after the U.S. is Canada. Two separate groups last night. Each religious readers of this blog.

First spoke with Dan and Nancy. They approached me. Advised we had talked in the Chart Room several years ago. Nancy reminded me at one time I was interested in the name of the RCA little dog. The Master’s Voice. She had written me it was Nipper.

They live in Canada one hour north of Detroit. Staying at Banyan Court. Yearly visitors to Key West.

I did not initially recall them. Not til her husband advised he had worked for DOW Chemical. Then the meeting came to mind.

Nice people. Glad they said hello.

As soon as Dan and Nancy left, Jackie and Conrad came by. Canadians, also. Accompanied by Jackie’s sister Donna and Jackie’s daughter.

Jackie I remembered as soon as she related our background. We had not met face to face before last night.

Jackie wrote to me the day Irma hit. Twenty years earlier, she had purchased a toe ring in Key West. Wore it religiously for the 20 years. It cracked the day of the hurricane.

She wrote she was having it fixed. Thought there was an omen involved re Key West

Jackie got the  repaired toe ring back the day the County reopened to visitors following Irma. She wrote again she had it back and was wearing it. Intimating the return of the ring and reopening of Key West had something to do with each other.

I wrote about Jackie and the toe ring episodes.

Last night, she was live in Key West. It was a pleasure to meet her! And her family, also.

Jackie reads me every day. Her sister Donna, also. Love them!

Spoke with Conrad. He and Jackie are frequent visitors to Key West. Conrad said his family has been coming since 1993. They own a condominium at the Galleon.

John bartending. Kevin and Sheila at the bar.

The conversation got into Matthew McConaughey. A major star. In Key West for two weeks making a movie to be released next year. The Beach Bum. McConaughey the beach bum, of course. Movie name Moondog. A marijuana addict.

I left the Chart Room too early wednesday night. Kevin walked Duval around 9 hoping to find the star filming an episode which had been scheduled for Duval.

He saw him! As did his daughter Kati. She videoed him and sent the video to Facebook and her Dad. Kevin showed it to me last night.

McConaughey was attired in a dress, white sneaks, and a sail boat captain’s cap. He was pushing a wheelbarrow full of pot in large cellophane bags. He was eluding the police. He was filmed running from Sloppy Joe’s to St. Paul’s Church and back.

Kevin said when the filming/run was over, McConaughey stood in the middle of Duval laughing his head off.

Naval aviators were in the Chart Room, also. In flight gear.

The Navy is involved in a celebration. The 100th year celebration of Key West Naval Aviation. The first flight was in December 1917. A mere 15 years after Kitty Hawk.

There were more at the Pier House.

I went out to the Beach Bar to get something to eat. Lovely Meri bartending. The Beach Bar can be lonely at night. Not last night. NORMAL had a party earlier. Many were still hanging out at the bar.

NORMAL is short for the National Organization For The Reform of Marijuana Laws. Partying they were. Imbibing. One of the members playing his guitar and singing marijuana ditties.

My day was a bit busy.

Saw my eye doctor. My new glasses a disaster. Seeing clearly impossible up close and at a distance.

He checked the glasses out against his prescription. The right eye lens had three errors. Three situations not consistent with the prescription.

No wonder I could not see!

Immediately went to the optician’s. The man I was dealing with was out sick. I talked with his partner. She thought I was trying to hustle them. It was obvious from her questioning of me. I said, hold up! I’m leaving. I will be back monday when your partner is in.

Then to Publix for diet food. It does not last long. I am on Atkins. High protein, low carb. Protein expensive. Spent $60 for three small bags of edibles.

I am on day 11 of the diet. Eight pounds so far.

I hate dieting! Pure deprivation!

A little later, I was sitting with Tammy. My weekly manicure.

Yesterday’s Key West Citizen editorial page contained an interesting phrase referencing the sexual harassment era we suddenly find ourselves in: “Ghost of harassment past.”

Enjoy your day!

LESLIE CARON

Beauty is beauty! Cannot be denied! Leslie Caron was a beauty.

Leslie goes back a few years. Late 1950s. Her first movie was An american In Paris. She co-starred with Gene Kelly who discovered her. Cyd Charisse was scheduled to co-star with him. She got pregnant. Kelly was in Paris at the ballet. Saw Leslie dancing and convinced her to perform Charisse’s part.

The rest is movie history. She starred in many films. One of the best known is Gigi with Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jordan.

Why Leslie Caron this morning? The History portion on page 2 of the Key West Citizen noted that on this day in history she visited Key West and was the house guest of Tennessee Williams. Yes, she stayed at the lovely corner house on Duncan street.

Big day yesterday! I walked! I am not walking enough.

I walked Duval back and forth. It was cool/cold. Sweatshirt time. The coolness made it easier to walk. The cold lasted all of 36 hours. Today it is predicted the temperature will be in the high 70s.

On my way home from downtown Key West, I stopped at the Marriott Beachside. Sat in one of the comfortable lobby chairs and read the newspapers. Whereas most  hotels have free coffee in the morning, the Marriott was serving champagne. They even came around pouring and refilling glasses.

A New Jersey couple arrived to check in. The wife was seated near me. Not a happy camper. She was complaining of the cold. I assured her it would pass and she would be happy. I don’t think she believed me.

Stopped at Don’s Place last night. Thought I was to meet Don at 5:30. Apparently not. He was not there. I stayed a while and chatted with Jimmy.

Then to the Chart Room. Busy. Jean and Joe Thornton in attendance. Celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary. Congratulations to the both of them!

Met Jill. She has lived in Key West for years. She is a bartender at the Rum Bar. Not the Rum Barrel. The Rum Bar is in the tiny white house at the far end of Duval near La Te Da. It is also a guest house called The Speakeasy. We had an enjoyable time. Jill has a place in Maine on a lake where she spends a good part of her summer each year.

I looked forward to KONK E-Blast this morning. My column Rank Insubordination was to appear. Never made it. There was a screw up. My Christmas column from three weeks ago was run.

I am told Rank Insubordination will run tomorrow. I consider it one of my better columns and definitely of interest. It concerns Mayor de Blasio and the New York City police.

Enjoy your day!