I have heard the term southern hospitality my whole life. It is true! This past week proof.

Jean and Joe the most hospitable without question. Opened their home, refrigerator, etc. to us. Jean just took my dirty clothes and threw them in the washer.

They can never be repaid. Nor do they expect it. They will be remembered, however.

Then there are Jean’s neighbors. Three full dinner meals prepared. Desserts and breakfast food. Even a few bottles of booze and wine.

All because they were friends of Jean and Joe and felt sorry for us.

Last night’s benefactor was Cindy. A cheerful woman. Widowed some 40 years. Prepared Greek chicken and accompanying dishes. Outstanding!

Cindy a die hard Democrat. Hard to find in this Republican state. Very outspoken in her opposition to Trump and Republicans. Loved her!

Cindy was all excited. She told us that tomorrow (today) she would receive her first Social Security check. An event! I recall when I received my first. A return on something you paid for and had to wait a long time to receive.

We ran out of wine at dinner. Eight bottles.

This hurricane evacuation thing is emotional. Very much so. All of us are just coming down. The knowledge Irma did not hit Key West as hard as expected, the knowledge that our homes sustained little damage helps.

Peter Petro called me last night. We now have cell phone service. He is the realtor who takes care of my home. I lost 3 trees. Two in front and one in the back. A dented rain gutter. No water damage. House stinks because I left food in the freezer and refrigerator.

Talked with Anna this morning. The roads in Key West itself are open. She is going to the house today to clean out the freezer and refrigerator.

Spoke with Lisa last night. Still in Jupiter. Their home looks ok. From the air. Roof still on.

The family’s first report was from two of Ally’s girl friends. Note Ally and the girl friends are in the seventh grade and 12 years old. The two young ladies walked over to Ally’s house, checked things out and reported to Ally everything looked ok.

There is humor in tragedy.

Mark Watson reported on Facebook this morning that “I got to sleep butt ass naked in a/c…..I lived like a free man!”

Key West has a For Sale column that runs daily on Facebook. free. Someone from Ramrod Key advertised yesterday…..House for sale free. A picture accompanied the ad. The home totally destroyed. Flat on the ground.

Tragedy without humor, also.

Carol Schreck lives on a 53′ Defever trawler docked at the Key West Yacht Club. The vessel sunk in its slip. Even though Carol and friends securely tied it to posts, etc.

Carol had planned to stay. Her boat strong and properly secured. Fortunate she did not.

The boat began jumping around when Irma hit. A few men from the Yacht Club jumped in the water to further secure it. Could not. The water too rough. Dangerous. Had to get out.

The Garrison Bight Pier is roughly a quarter a mile away across the inlet. Carole’s trawler has large pieces of concrete jetty material attached or in the trawler which it is assumed came from the Garrison Bight job.

Hers was the only boat to sink at the Yacht Club.

I have a negative comment to retract.

I mentioned a few days ago that people were lighting candles at the St. Mary of the Sea outdoor Grotto. Tradition tells us praying and lighting candles at the Grotto will prevent significant storm damage to Key West.

Many prayed once again. I questioned and doubted.

I have read several reports today where persons attribute the lack of bad damage to Key West to the candle lighting and praying.

Maybe it works. Real devastation was only 15 and 25 miles away in Cudjoe and Big Pine

I plan on visiting the Grotto, lighting a candle and saying a prayer of thanks when I return.

I suspect I will not be leaving till monday. Perhaps later.

Power presently limited to 16 percent of Key West. Water limited to 4 hours a day. Must be boiled. Medical services available on a very limited basis at the Community College. Hospital still closed. Search and rescue on Cudjoe Key and Big Pine still ongoing. Only food is that government is bringing in. Stores still closed. a few gas stations open. Curfew dusk to dawn continues. Call service spotty. AT&T and Verizon up and running.

Perhaps the worst problem from a practical perspective is the stink. Got a call this morning. Told don’t hurry home. Key West stinks! Seaweed, fish, garbage and trash all over. Waste Management not able to clean yet.

Cathy Hakola wrote me yesterday. Facebook, I believe. Told an interesting story. I cannot find it this morning to recite in detail and correctness as received.

Her story has to do with ghosts. Key West has several ghost stories. Most probably false. I suspect a couple true.

One of the true ones involves the Gato House which once was a hospital. Now an apartment house.

Cathy a nurse. A nurse who also rented an apartment in the Gato House after the hospital closed.

History tells us the hospital was run by a very dedicated nurse. Well respected by all.

The claim is her ghost still resides in the Gato House.

Cathy was sick. She woke in the middle of the night to discover someone holding her hand and rubbing her arm. A woman. The ghost.

This went on for several minutes. Cathy says she was not afraid. Found the episode comforting. Woke the next morning much better.

Enjoy your day!


I feel like a refugee. I am a refugee. Fleeing Irma.

Some random experiences/happenings the past 24 hours. All Irma related one way or another.

The media has pointedly described Irma: A looming apocalypse…..The surge a minor tsunami…..A lawnmower from the sky.

Spent yesterday afternoon watching Alabama/Fresno State. Alabama killed little Fresno State. My hosts Jean and Joe are Alabama graduates and die hard Alabama fans. I was glad for them.

Followed the game up with a nap. Still tired from the drive.

Rose for cocktail hour. Drinks/drinking excellent! Never had a Beefeaters last night, though a giant bottle was waiting for me when I arrived. Margaritas and wine. The wine exceptional.

Dinner a holiday table. Great food. A neighbor prepared lasagna. Another prepared a Texas streetcake. Chocolate. Absolutely delicious! The wine flowed continuously. Joe started things off with a prayer. Called for under the circumstances.

There are only 9 of us here. Feels like much more. Fortunately, the house is large enough so we neither run into each other and can get a degree of privacy if so desired.

Several slept on sleeping bags and couches last night. Jean had two neighbors who offered private rooms and  beds. We all opted to stay together in one house. Team spirit.

The Sheriff moved the 460 Monroe County Jail inmates from Stock Island to a facility in Palm Beach County. One hundred twenty five correction officers went with them and will remain with them.

I do not understand why the inmates were moved. The jail imposing stone and brick.

The Sheriff also maintains an animal farm. Many animals. Well taken care of. A place to visit. The animals were moved from the farm to the jail.

If the jail is safe enough for treasured animals, it should have been safe enough for the inmates.

As of 9 this morning, US 1 not flooded. Except for one lane in Islamorada.

The TV channels are not reporting Irma properly. A lot of talk and next to no video re Key West. Everything video wise primarily Miami.

It is obvious there are no TV people in Key West.

TV is trying to fool people. They got caught by those of us in this house. They ran a video of a flooded Key Largo street. Water rolling as far as the eye could see. 2-3 feet. Two streets.

The streets were Duval and Front in  Key West.


Saw a picture on my cell phone of a woman lighting a candle at St. Mary’s of the Sea in Key West. Large votive candles. A statue of the Blessed Mother.

The belief is if candles are lite and prayers said asking for relief from a storm, such conduct will help. I am not being disrespectful, but I have never seen a Key West hurricane avoided by such conduct.

Saw another video of the White Street Pier on Facebook. The Pier totally covered in water. Right up to the rails. Huge waves pouring over the rails. Two Key Westers running around taking the video. Finally, one of them shouted to the other: Lets get out of here…..this place is too dangerous!

The Marriott Beachside opened its doors yesterday or a day before to guests. Minimum rate. The place is packed with those who stayed. Like Mark Watson. The Marriott was built to sustain a category 5.

Mark Watson reported on Facebook yesterday that they had moved him from a first floor room to a third floor one. Sounded ominous.

La Concha is also taking guests. Built somewhere back in the 1920’s. Survived over the years. Thought safe.

I have considered Florida’s Governor Scott a flaming asshole up to this point. His political/social decisions rarely helpful to the populace in general. Favor the affluent.

He has turned me around. His Irma conduct beyond belief. His actions thought out and necessary. Like ok for a line of traffic to travel on highway shoulders. Move the cars faster!

In prior storms, all traffic lanes move in one direction. The game plan to get people out of danger’s way faster. For Irma, one lane kept open going the other way. Fuel trucks. To get needed gasoline to the southern part of the State.

Every conceivable way has been utilized to get people out of harm’s way. Buses provided. Sick and elderly removed from their homes to a safe place. Etc.

Reported that police and fire have left. Felt everything conceivable had been done to get people out. I would agree. I do not believe that some police and fire did not remain. My friends e-mail me that some have remained at the Marriott Beachside.

The Audubon House. On the corner of Whitehead and Greene Streets. Built way back when by a Captain Geiger.

In 1832, the famous bird painter John James Audubon spent 20 days residing at the house. He discovered 18 new breed of birds and painted them.

Our little group has some persons purportedly knowledgeable about Audubon in Key West.

The story told is that Audubon would discover the new breed in the morning. Kill it. Stretch it on something so he could paint it. Painted in the afternoon. Cooked and ate the bird for dinner at night.

It was the eating of the bird in the evening that I found extraordinary.

Those of us here are bonding. I am waiting for someone to suggest we have an Irma reunion once a year.

Enjoy your day!