MICHAEL’S CONTINUING SAGA

The old hymn…..Onward Christian soldiers. Michael appears to have moved to the tune. Though not with God on his side. In and out quickly. Did not hang around. In less than two days, did a number on northern Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. Now over the Atlantic, 185 miles east-northeast of Norfolk.

The Panhandle pure devastation. Comments include unprecedented damage, a war zone, communities obliterated, an Air Force Base wiped out, catastrophic, looks like an atomic bomb dropped, cars and boats piled up like rubbish.

Keeps going. Entire blocks empty, houses on them smashed by storm surge and wind, washed out to sea.

First responders going in. Difficult work. The war zone description repeated frequently.

Michael maintained hurricane intensity 200 miles inland. Unusual.

Though Michael far out to sea, Virginia still experiencing dangerous wind gusts.

Michael gone. Recovery help required big time. I do not hear of FEMA’s involvement. Sure they must be there. Tell us. I am concerned Trump will fail the Panhandle as he did Puerto Rico. It all comes down to money. Soon I suspect we will hear there is not enough money. Then what?

Sad stories. Every one of them. One of the worst, 11 year old Sarah Radrey. Staying with her grandparents in Georgia. A car port crashed through the roof and killed her.

God help Sarah, her parents, and her grandparents. Tragedy of the worst kind!

Stopped into the Chart Room first last night. John working. Had not seen him in a week.

The room was packed! Tight standing room only. Forget getting a seat. Highly unusual this time of year. Off season.

Met two nice people. Lisa and Bob. Celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary.

Lisa and Bob from River Edge, New Jersey. Bob affiliated with the New York City Carpenters Union. Lisa works for a podiatrist.

Two grown sons. Twenty four and twenty two.

Their third visit to Key West. Second time at the Pier House. First time stayed at the Ocean Key across the street.

We talked of many things. A bit of politics. Lisa and I on opposite sides of the fence. She watches FOX News!

Liked them. Hope to see them again the next time they return.

David showed up somewhere along the evening. Always good to see David. I enjoy his company.

Then to the Blue Macaw. Enjoyed a drink, brie and good company. Andrea, Joe, John, Doug, Mary, Donna, and Terri.

I was anxious to talk with Doug. He is a tour guide at the Hemingway House.

I have been into ghosts the past few days. First, South Carolina’s Gray Man. Yesterday, Key West’s Angel of Mercy Maria Gutsens.                      .

Researching for more ghost tales yesterday, I came across an article claiming Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline were making nocturnal visits to the Hemingway House.

Hard to believe! Doug would know.

Doug said no to Ernest, maybe to Pauline, but suggested Asa Tift as the real ghost. Asa was a wrecker/salvager in Key West’s early days. A self made tycoon. Built the Hemingway House for he and his family.

I could find nothing to substantiate the Asa story. Did come across more re the Hemingways.

Ghost appearances are technically referred to as manifestations. Many manifestations at the Hemingway House.

Hemingway writing in his loft work room, seen walking around the house, and standing on the veranda occasionally waving at passersby.

Pauline standing at the top of the central staircase looking to the loft watching her husband working and out the window her children playing outside. Occasionally standing at night by the gate smoking a cigarette.

One manifestation is hearing the typewriter clicking in the early morning. Supposedly, Hemingway writing. Could not be true. Hemingway did not type his works. He hand wrote them with a pencil. Then either Pauline or his sister would type them up.

My home bound trip from the Blue Macaw evenings takes me right by the Hemingway House. I shall be looking manifestations.

Key West’s humorous weather man at it again. He predicts this evening at 78 degrees and partly cloudy. Follows it up with…..Stars play peek-a-boo.

Traffic is reaching the breaking point on US 1. The only way in and out of Key West. The only highway through 140 miles of the Keys. Traffic especially heavy the past two years. A recent study attributes the increase to tourists. Claim tourists jam the highway.

Merely sharing. I have no comment.

Another study suggests two major medical problems. The first obviously the flu. The other too many C-sections. The number world wide has doubled from 2000 to 2015. The increase in the U.S. up as much as 30 percent in certain years. China up as much as 62 percent.

The message most of the C-sections not required. Medical problems for mother and child increasing as a result.

DOW doing well. Two days ago, down more than 800 points. Yesterday, more than 500. Today?

Trump’s lack of character evident with the Jamal Khashoggi situation. Trump says U.S. economy more important. We have a $110 billion agreement with Saudi Arabia for planes, etc. Trump says Khashoggi not even a citizen. Correct. He is a legal U.S. resident however and writes for the Washington Post.

News this morning says the $110 billion agreement mostly a holdover from the Obama administration. Actually, letters of intent. Not binding. Saudi Arabia has never purchased anything pursuant to the agreement.

Tonight, I dine! Andrea cooking. Joe making pina coladas. Andrea’s food preparation dining without question. Joe’s pina coladas fun.

Enjoy your day!

 

EASTER SUNDAY

Matthew 20:19…..On the third day he will be raised to life.

Luke 24…..He is not here, he is risen.

Such Easter Sunday’s religious joyous connotation. There also is another joyous one. In a popular sense. Best exemplified by Irving Berlin’s 1933 Easter Parade: In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.

I used to believe death was the only constant. Life has taught me otherwise. Change is a constant, also. Nothing remains the same. Nothing is as it was.

Easter Sunday attire is reflective of change. Big time. Mike Ragland is a retired police officer living in the Rome, Georgia area. He recently wrote a change type article for the Rome News Tribune titled “In Your Easter Bonnet.”

I have combined some of my thoughts with his for today’s blog.

The tale of Easter Sunday attire begins with Constantine I. Emperor of Rome in the early fourth century. He ordered his subjects to dress in their finest clothes and parade in honor of Christ’s Resurrection.

His decree developed with time.

In Tudor days, superstition originated which claimed that unless a person had new homespun cloth available at Easter, moths and crickets would eat his old clothes.

The Irish added a vestige that stated, “For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes.”

A 15th century proverb from Poor Richard’s Almanac stated that if on Easter Sunday some part of the outfit was not new, one would not enjoy good luck during the year.

German settlers in Pennsylvania as early as 1782 paraded on Easter Monday. Easter Monday was widely celebrated as a holiday. The parading continued for over a century.

Then came the big one!

In 1870, ladies of congregations along New York’s Fifth Avenue began decorating churches with fresh flowers to commemorate Easter Sunday. A New York newspaper noted over half the female congregation members were decked out in their best finery while so doing.

A few years later, ladies and their escorts began walking to other churches to view floral arrangements and to be seen. The strolling area extended from 49th Street to 57th Street on Fifth Avenue.

By 1900, Easter Sunday  was rivaling Christmas as a merchant’s dream and was spreading to other cities.

Irving Berlin’s 1933 Easter Parade glorified the day as it had become. Fifteen years later, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire made the movie Easter Parade. One of the most profitable movies made to that time.

I am 82. In my youth, the whole family dressed on Easter Sunday. Where affordable, of course. I first noticed the everyone dressing up thing during World War II when I was 5-10 years old.

We dressed for church. Walked to and back from church as a family. Everyone smiling and exchanging hellos with neighbors and friends.

Followed by Easter Sunday dinner. Exceeded only by Christmas dinner.

The ladies wore hats. New ones, big ones, little ones, frilly and flowered.

I recall Easter Sundays in the 1960’s. Married with four little ones. We all dressed, went to church, and then to a huge family dinner.

The historical Easter Sunday and the one I knew is no more. A thought to be constant having disappeared. No one dresses as they did. Hats, what hats? Few families go to church together. Few go to church. The big meal, rare.

I am glad I was fortunate to have lived through those times. The memories real and warm.

My friends, whatever way you celebrate Easter Sunday, whatever you wear, whatever you eat, enjoy the day. This is what it is. Not bad, not as good, just the way it is.

Happy Easter!

 

 

LT. ROBERT MAZZA

The closest friend in my adult life has died. Bob Mazza. A 32 year veteran of the Utica Police Department.

My sorrow runs deep.

Bob passed on at 82. He was one year older than me.

He was already a police officer several years when I returned to Utica to practice law. Somehow we met. He thought I lacked street smarts, needed help. He glued himself to me.

When not working, Bob was with me all the time. Always there for me. I was there all the time for him. We had bonded.

We traveled together. All over. He accompanied me whenever I traveled. Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Saratoga, New York City, San Diego, Las Vegas, Miami, etc. We even did a week in Martinique.

He was there for my family, also. Always dependable.

Oh, the stories I could tell. Both amusing and serious. Not mentionable here, however.

Age and distance separated us. We last were together 10 years ago when he visited me for two weeks in Key West. I had moved to Key West. Bob, to Syracuse. We telephone chatted for a while. Less and less frequently. Now in reflection not for several years. Sad.

Bob appeared to be a tough guy. I use the words appeared to be. He was really a softy. He spent most of his police years as head of the Homicide and Burglary Squads. The bad guys feared him. Respected him. It was all in the image he portrayed.

When my time comes, I hope Bob is waiting for me at the Pearly Gates. There is no one I would rather spend Eternity with.

Another sad report.

Going live with Key West Lou will not debut today. While playing around with the site yesterday in preparation for today, I discovered two problems. Beyond my abilities to correct. Sloan not available till wednesday. So it looks like thursday or friday for the first show.

Sorry.

A disenchanted Key West Lou group, who nevertheless continue to follow me, will comment I never meet self-imposed deadlines, etc. The same people who criticize my positions, thoughts, etc.

I am a perfectionist. Always have been. Anal to a fault. Such is what made me a success as a lawyer. I cannot go public with the new snow unless and until I am satisfied.

Hang in there!

A weather forecaster I am not. However, I have learned the few times the wind has come from the south in Key West, a storm followed. Generally, a big one. Yesterday the wind was from the south. About 20 mph. Enough for the palm trees to bend. The sun shining.

I said a storm is coming. Checked the weather reports on the internet. Nothing. A beautiful sunny day. Twenty percent chance of rain. Which means no rain.

I wrote about the south wind in yesterday’s blog.

About 4 yesterday afternoon, TV was interrupted to advise a major storm moving up from the south. Tornadoes possible. The storm was going to run over the Florida Keys and Miami. Would hit around 1 in  the morning.

It hit at 11 last night. Howling winds and heavy rain. Winds still howling, though less. No tornadoes in Florida. However, tornadoes hit Georgia bad. Seventeen dead. Whole areas destroyed. Mississippi had problems also.

The south wind. Recognize it. Respect it.

I was sad last night. Bobby dead. Decided to have a few drinks and quietly recollect our times together.

First stop was the Chart Room. Chatted with Victor. Mentioned the south wind. He had read about it earlier in yesterday’s blog. He decided to telephone a neighbor while we were talking to go over to his house and close the outside blinds.

Then Sloppy Joe’s. Not a usual venue for me.

A few more drinks. Watched the country music entertainers.

Sloppy’s menu has changed. My fries covered in chopped beef, mozzarella and sauce no longer on the menu. I enjoyed an order of wings instead.

I continue to be reluctant to criticize Trump. Give him a chance. He is the only President we have.

However, I must render two admonitions.

The first what one of the female speakers said during the Women’s March: It is not….I the president, it is…..We the people.

The other from me…..The campaign is over. It is time to govern.

Enjoy your day!