BOB AND HELEN…..WHERE ARE YOU?

An exciting reunion tomorrow!

Some 30 years ago, I was Best Man at the wedding of Bob and Helen Marks. The wedding took place in the evening in a small candle lit Lutheran Church in Portland, Maine.

Helen wanted to be married there. Her parents were wed in the same Church during World War II. Helen wore the same clothing her mother wore. A maroon suit with an accompanying maroon hat.

It was a cold evening. As cold can be in wintertime Maine. It was  during Carter’s administration when there was a fuel crisis. In the hotel and shopping malls, people worked wearing coats, gloves and fur lined boots.

I went to Portland with a hell of a head cold. Returned with pneumonia. Kidding re the pneumonia. Felt lousy, though.

Bob and Helen and I have probably only seen each other twice over the years.

Bob went on to be a major executive with one the America’s largest insurance companies. For many years, he was Vice-President of its west coast division stationed in San Francisco.

Helen worked with the same company. She became a major executive in her own right. Worked out of the midwest somewhere. She was in charge of all asbestos cases in the United States for the company. Major responsibility!

Both retired. Two homes. One in North Carolina and the other Las Vegas.

They travel. Seems like once a month for years.They have been all over the world.

They are on a Viking Caribbean cruise. The ship stops in Key West tomorrow for the day. We will be together. It will be emotional. A bit of a tear jerker.

I am picking them up in front of Sloppy Joe’s at 12:30. Lunch at 1 at Louie’s Backyard.

I received an e-mail from Bob yesterday. They were leaving last night on a red-eye from Vegas at 11:45.

Probably will pick up the Viking today in Fort Lauderdale or Miami.

I am thrilled!

One of Lincoln’s State of the Union addresses was given this date in 1862. The address’ closing sentence…..We shall nobly save, or manly lose, the last, best hope on earth.

I worry Trump may be leading us to a loss of the last best hope on earth.

Place all Trump’s failures aside, except for two. North Korea and the present problem with Great Britain. The man is crazy and is moving the U.S. further backward by day.

HIVE this morning opened with an apt description of the President: “Good morning dear reader! It was another disheartening day for poor woebegone Donald Trump, a bathrobe-wearing bathmophobic and struggling crisis-management consultant, who occasionally dabbles in racial provocation and genocidal brinkmanship.”

An amusing observation. The White House outdoor Christmas tree was lit last night. Referred to as the National Tree Lighting. One of the hottest tickets in town. Twenty thousand tickets distributed via a lottery. All free.

Normally jam packed. Not last night. Videos show rows and rows of empty seats.

Will Trump claim attendance the biggest ever?

In all fairness, Obama had a similarly small crowd in 2015.

The Senate tax bill a joke were its effect not so serious. The Senate is having trouble bringing it to a vote.

The reason simple. The bill being discussed this morning was redone overnight. Senate Republicans want a tax bill passed. Its contents take a second seat. If and when it comes to a vote, the Senators will be voting for a pig in a poke. Buying blind. Few if any will have read the bill. There has been no debate.

This is what our government has come down to. Rush laws through. The glory of a new law important. Its impact not so.

Today is World AIDS Day. Key West was greatly impacted when the AIDS virus struck. The community came together to help their own. Gay and straight alike.

AIDS not the life taking danger it was. Fortunately.

At 4:30 today a candlelight parade will begin at City Hall and march to the AIDS Memorial at the White Street Pier. The Memorial a sight to behold if you have not seen it.

My friend Dee was one who came to the assistance of AIDS victims in Key West. She had graduated from Boston University with a Ph.D in Psychology. She came to Key West considering opening a practice. Instead she ended up working for AIDS Help. Twenty five years.

Dee made significantly less money than she would have in private practice. It was the cause and the need that attracted her. Now retired, Dee feels she had a satisfying career helping those afflicted with AIDS. She is proud of her work with AIDS victims.

Santa Claus tonight from 6-8 at the Historic Seaport. Take the kids!

Giorgio tonight, also. He leaves Key West monday for good. Sad because he is a great guy. Irma got to him. Also his health. He’s afraid the helicopter might not make it to Miami in time. Drinks at the Chart Room and then dinner.

Tom and Fran from Buffalo will be joining us.

Enjoy your day!

 

WORLD AIDS DAY

Today is World AIDS Day. Especially important in Key West. Too many lost over the years.

This morning’s Key West Citizen has an excellent front page article re this day.

At 4:30 this afternoon, the Candlelight Walk. Then at 6, the annual recollection ceremony. At the Edward B. Knight Pier. To remember loved ones lost to the disease.

The article notes an increase in HIV and AIDS cases in the past nine months. From 4 to 21. Sounds alarming. I doubt it is.

A new State law comes into play. This year the first for its imposition. The new law mandates HIV and AIDS testing as part of all annual physicals. Except where the patient opts out.

Increased testing means more positive results. Inevitable.

I completed my Key West Rotary history yesterday. Twenty six separate installments. Interesting to do. Onerous on occasion. Some days added as much as two hours additional work. A pleasure, never the less.

Martin’s for Happy Hour yesterday. With friend Joseph.

Joseph down to one cane. Big progress! He anticipates that soon there will be no need for a cane.

Conversation excellent. Joseph wants to do a blog. Needs to fill in his time now that he is retired. I told him I would have Sloan help him set up. I sense Joseph’s blog will be an intellectual one. Philosophical.

Martin’s food continues to be outstanding. I enjoyed small lamb chops and baked brie. Joseph, snails and schnitzle strips.

Magic bartending. From Poland. Many Poles have immigrated and settled in Key West. My Italian ancestors in the cold northeast many years ago. Weatherwise, the Poles selected better. Warm weather year round as opposed to biting cold winters.

Next stop, Don’s Place.

Chatted with Don and David.

Joanie is back. For the winter. Good to see her!

Quick stops on the way home at Walgreens and Publix.

Tonight, a manicure with Tammy at 7. Followed by dinner at 8 at Outback.

William Hackley writes that on this date in 1855, he paid William C. Dennis “for the hire of a negro woman.”

This Hackley has done in the past. Diana Millikan an historian of sorts. She believes one of the negro woman’s duties was washing Hackley during his morning baths. She believes it was a slave’s customary duty to be performed for her master. I told her to find authority for it somewhere. She is still looking.

The hurricane season ended yesterday. Hope hurricanes are aware that Key West should experience no further ones this year as November 30 has come and gone.

You can never be sure. I recall several years ago when October 31 was the end of hurricane season. We got hit by one the first week of November.

A big saturday awaits! The Christmas Parade. At 7 on Truman. Always fun. Especially for the kids. Tons of candy thrown from parade floats.

Enjoy your day!