Change a couple of words and Joyce Kilmer’s famous lines from Trees becomes a well deserved tribute to Key West’s Emalyn Mercer. She saved two huge tongue trees.

It was early morning. Emalyn still in her pajamas. She heard the buzzsaws. Buzzsaws cutting down trees on her block. The trees in front of her mother’s home at 701 Catherine Street appeared in line to be cut down.

Emily ran out and tried to climb the tree. Her husband brought a ladder. Up she went. A sign appeared…..Save the Trees.

Emalyn perched on the tree for two hours. The buzzsaws went away. Probably to return.

Emalyn, a hero.

Key West has a Tree Commission that orders trees native to Key West to be cut down and replaced with a tree not native to the area. It appears the goal of the Tree Commission is to have similar trees throughout Key West. The approach not Key West nor consistent with a community that has represented within its borders every type person. Diversity called for. Not what the Tree Commission is doing.

Harry Truman is another Key West hero, though his exploits occurred elsewhere.

Key West loves Harry Truman. Truman loved Key West. He vacationed here a total of 175 days covering 11 separate trips.

Yesterday marked the day in 1948 when Truman won election to the Presidency over Thomas Dewey. An unexpected result.

The media was convinced Dewey would trounce Truman. Truman was not a popular President.

It appeared the nation was against him.

Truman opted to do a whistle stop campaign across the country. He stopped at communities big and small. He spoke to those gathered from the back platform of the last car.

I recall his stop in Utica. I was in the eighth grade. Two of my buddies and I rode our bicycles to the railroad station to hear the President. He had already started his talk.

The place was packed. People all over the tracks, etc. listening. We could neither see nor hear the President from the back of the crowd.

We did the necessary. We rolled our bikes right up in front of the platform from which Truman was speaking. There was about five feet separating the President’s car and crowd.

Truman’s talk was the same at each stop. The country was having problems because of a do nothing Congress. Do nothing Congress his verbiage.

We had the best seats in town! We were excited to be there and proud to have been able to be that close to a President of the United States.

Truman had all kinds of insulting occurrences during the campaign. He was not getting Presidential respect from many. One example his whistle stop train traveling somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The train stopped. The conductor told Truman the train would go no further till his bill with the railroad company was paid. It was grossly in default.

Truman dug into his pockets and went around asking others to do so also. Some wrote big checks. The bill was paid and Truman was able to continue.

An insult! As Rodney Dangerfield was wont to say…..Truman was getting no respect.

The nation went to bed election night believing Dewey had won. It took longer in those days to count ballots.

The Chicago Tribune had a late night edition on the streets. Its headline…..Dewey Defeats Truman.

H. V. Kaltenborn was a famous American radio commentator. He went on the air advising that Dewey had defeated Truman.

Both media types wrong. When the nation woke the next morning, Truman had won by more than 2 million votes.

That same morning at a press conference, Truman was asked what he was going to do next. His response…..I’m going to Key West on vacation!

I frequently complain about the tourist operation of bicycles and scooters on Key West streets. A danger to the operators and to others. Car drivers and pedestrians.

Yesterday, another accident involving a tourist driving his scooter in an improper manner.

A 41 year old Louisiana visitor was operating a scooter at the intersection of White and Union. He was passing cars on the right. Went into the intersection and struck a broadside a car making a left turn. The tourist died.

He would not have had he stayed in line with the vehicles to the front of him. Scooter and bicycle operators are required to follow the same laws. One being no passing on the right.

Enjoy your day!


I drive a 2010 Volkswagen Beatle convertible. Blue and white. Got it new. Seven years later, only 36,000 miles on it.

One of my lady friends refers to it as Vinny. Why I am not sure. Suspect it reminds her of Vinny from the Joe Pesci movie.

Vinny has been acting strange the past few days. I suspect a ghost has found a home in Vinny. Three of the windows suddenly go up and down as I am driving. One window never moves, even if I am trying to open it. The door lock on the passenger door sometimes does not work. Lock up noises for the car itself not always heard. Windshield wipers suddenly working. Etc.

The car is at a mechanics. Since yesterday. I was landlocked last night. Too far to get anywhere without a car. Ergo, remained home. Can do without the car today. It is tuesday. Generally remain in because of my podcast show tonight. Definitely need it tomorrow. An early afternoon doctor’s visit I want to keep.

If you see a blue and white Volkswagen Beatle convertible driving down the road with no driver behind the wheel, it’s mine. Vinny driving!

A big Fantasy Fest day today! Lots of fun events. The Southernmost Beach Blast from the Past. Twisting the feature of the afternoon. Rick’s has Cocktails for those wearing animal tails. A Tutu walk/crawl parade. In the evening, a Tutu Prom at Dante’s. Captain Tony’s Plaid Party. Hot! The Green Parrot Green Party.

Plus, more.

Have fun!

An Irma housing crisis remains. Compounded by Fantasy Fest. Up to yesterday, 482 households had found homes in Key West hotels and guest houses. Booted yesterday. Fantasy Fest open. Hotels/guest houses needed the rooms. Big money!

Which means, 482 households looking for lodging.

The situation sucks!

Sears is Key West’s premier department store. Key West’s only department store.

Things have been tough for years for Sears nationwide. There is a constant concern we will lose Sears. Not the greatest store. Better than nothing, however.

Sears announced yesterday that due to a pricing issue, it will no longer sell Whirlpool products. Includes Whirlpool, Maytag, Kitchen Aid, and Jenn-Air. Sears will continue to handle Kenmore and other brands.

I hope the Whirlpool issue does not indicate the beginning of the end for Sears.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time.

I have a slew of topics to discuss. Could be one of my better shows. Interesting and definitely eye opening.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Topics include too many generals in the White House, Trump’s corruption of General Kelly, the Niger situation, armed mercenaries, armed masked mercenaries still in Puerto Rico, a crocodile swimming off the White Street Pier.

Also, mastectomy breasts can be tattooed with nipple or anything else rather than nipple and areola rebuilding, a Terri update, Dickinson, Texas and an Israel boycott, active duty enlistment bonuses, Cuban missile crisis, draft or compulsory military service, poorer quality inductees, expanding U.S. wars, tip toeing towards war, and more.

I agree. Too many topics. It was that kind of week. More reportable happenings than normal. I will go till the half hour is up. Guaranteed you will enjoy!

Irma has affected my happy home.

The area of the golf course where I live was shaded with tall full trees. Higher than my two story home. Half the trees blown over by Irma.

The house recently has been warmer. The air conditioning running longer than usual. Hit me yesterday. The trees! Nature’s shade gone!

Enjoy your day!


Being bunkered down in Birmingham not bad. Joe is off working somewhere in the west. Jean home with us.

We party starting at 5 each evening. Cocktails and then dinner. Alcohol and wine galore. Exceptional food. Stories flow. Laughter prevails.

Not bad.

Miss Key West, however. I can’t wait to return.

Jean Thornton our hostess. Savior perhaps a better word. I have a new label for the wonderful Jean. Hostess with the mostest. The Perle Mesta of Birmingham and Key West.

Jean, a continued thank you for your generosity.

Liz. My dear friend Liz. A year older than me. We date. She cooks for me. We do Dueling Bartenders together. We communicate.

Irma on its way! Liz chartered a plane and flew out. Did not even think to call Louis.

For shame!

I am kidding. Do feel forgotten, however. Liz is in her St. Petersburg home. Large and strong. Survived Irma. Power out. She has a supply of ice however and is able to keep certain foods cold.

Linda Grist Cunningham is a retired newspaper woman. She and her husband now Key West residents.

Linda was in Virginia with her sickly mother as Irma was arriving. Her husband Ed in Key West. He is riding the storm out with Sheila and David in their Key West penthouse. They survived Irma well.

Linda has prepared an excellent run down on Irma. Irma: “End of day one in Key West. What we know and don’t.” She also has put together an Irma site: Hurricane Irma Key West.

I plagiarize from End of day one. Linda’s accumulated facts better than anything I could put together.

Irma hit Key West as a category 4 8:30 sunday morning. Actual landfall 20 miles up US 1 at Cudjoe Key. One hundred thirty miles per hour.

Key West has water problems. Main line intact. Some branches broken. A boil water warning in effect.

Many trees down. Those still standing bare. Down to the bark. Foliage ripped away.

There are 42 bridges between Key West and the main land. All have to be checked.

US 1 asphalt road surfaces ripped away in certain areas.

Linda’s advisory for those who remained in Key West simple. Conserve water, eat sparingly, and be certain to help each other our.

Thank you, Linda. Keep publishing.

Late tonight is Birmingham’s time for an Irma visit. Two in the morning. Not bad. A tropical storm or depression. Kid stuff after what other areas have suffered. We sill be safe in Jean’s home. I will probably sleep through it.

I have complained re the media’s lack of coverage. Miami north covered. The Keys, especially the southern ones, forgotten. We are people too! We were hit first and hard. Media reps should have been in Key West.

One of the Irma escapees in our group has family in the Virgin Islands. Hit by a 5. She has been glued to the TV looking for Virgin Island reports in addition to Key West. Zip! Nothing!

I am doing my Key West Lou Live video on Facebook daily. Nothing fancy. Sitting in a chair holding my cell phone out in front of me.

Mostly Irma at this time. A few minutes. Take a look. You will enjoy.

Finally and most importantly. Yes, there is something more important than Irma. Though some may disagree.

Today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11. Our homeland attacked. Three thousand lives lost.

We must never forget. We must remain vigilant.

Enjoy your day!








In my other life as an attorney, I had a case where my client’s big old tree was hanging over the neighbor’s property, roots causing his driveway to heave a bit, etc.

The neighbor wanted the tree removed. The heaving driveway was a good argument. My client was destined to lose.

Counsel were standing alone before the Bench. No jury. Merely argument.

Opposing counsel made a good argument why the tree should come down. I knew before hand such would be the case.

When preparing opposing papers, I recalled Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. The closing stanza…..Poems are made by fools like me, / But only God can make a tree.

The lines were the basis of my argument. With three changes. I deleted the word “Poems” and replaced it with “Arguments.” I deleted “God” and replaced it with “Judge.” I deleted the word “make” and replaced it with “save.”

The new wording rhymed the same however…..Arguments are made by fools like me, / But only a Judge can save a tree.

I won. The tree survived. Joyce Kilmer the one who actually saved the tree.

Why Joyce Kilmer’s Trees this morning.

There is a 100 year old mahogany tree on Simonton. Across from the Gato Building. A huge branch hangs over the street. The branch has never been a problem. Until recently. The over hanging branch and a truck came into contact.

The truck had its roof ripped off. The truck the legal height. The branch illegal. Too low. No problem for 100 years. Now a problem. Cost Key West or its insurance company $9,000 for repairs to the truck.

Key West has a Tree Commission. The Commission wanted to cut the tree down. The public went crazy. Shouted a loud no!

The tree was saved. Legally it should have been cut down. However the public won out. A sign is going to be erected warning of the low hanging branch.

A popular result. One that will not prevent another accident from occurring, however. The City’s liability will then be two-fold.

The Kiss-In last night in front of the Custom House was a gigantic success. As reflected in the large front page photo in this morning’s Key West Citizen. The kissing looked good. Hundreds. Wish I could have been there. With a lady to kiss, of course.

My blog talk radio show was not aired last night. I could not connect with the broadcasting studio. Sloan tried also. She failed. We assume some technical problem at the studio end. I should know this morning. My apologies to all who tried to listen.

Had I known there would be technical difficulties, I would have been at the Kiss-In and later at Lynda Frechette’s Aqua Idol.

Dee called yesterday and invited me to Valentine’s Day dinner as her guest. The podcast show obviously interfered. We are scheduled to do it tonight. I look forward to being wined and dined by a much younger lady.

The Battleship Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor this date in 1898. Two hundred sixty American sailors killed.

In March, a U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry was held in Key West. At the newly constructed Custom House. Then a federal building.

One month later in April, the U.S. invaded Cuba. The Spanish-American War began.

Loud, proud, patriotic marching music is always tied to John Phillip Sousa.  Tunes like Stars and Stripes Forever.

Sousa and his family arrived this date in 1925 from Havana. They checked into the Casa Marina where they were to spend a few days vacationing.

Enjoy your day!