Sitting here in Key West enjoying 80 degree weather, I write first of snow. Lots of snow. The Great Blizzard of 1888. The northeast. New York City hit hard, as Boston  was in recent weeks. However, the Great Blizzard took only 24 hours.

Considered one of the most severe blizzards ever, it claimed 400 lives. Twenty to sixty inches of snow fell in different areas. Winds 45 mph. Snowdrifts in excess of 50 feet.

Roscoe Conkling had studied law in my home town of Utica, NY. He became District Attorney of the County and Mayor of Utica. Then engaged in a thriving law practice. He was considered a great orator. Conkling was elected to the House of Representatives several times and then served for 18 years in the U.S. Senate.

He became a major political figure state wide and nationally. He made presidents. One being Ulysses Grant. Grant offered him the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Conkling refused. Years earlier, he was nominated to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice and was confirmed by the Senate. He refused the nomination after his confirmation.

He was a known philanderer. A woman chaser. There is the story of the husband coming home early, Conkling going out the back window, the husband chasing him with a shotgun.

Conkling took care of his body. He worked out daily.

He was in his office on Wall Street when the Great Blizzard hit. He could not get a horse and carriage to take him home. Being in the excellent shape he was, he decided to walk. Three miles from Wall Street to 25th Street. He never made it home. He collapsed, came down with pneumonia and died.

He is buried in Utica. A simple yet massive stone. It sits on a little hill which runs along Oneida Street. The retaining wall holding the hill has been crumbling for years.

His stone faces west. Utica developed to the west. The cemetery to the east behind the stone. When Conkling was buried, he was placed in his grave as he was so that he could forever have an uninterrupted view of the valley before him. Progress decided otherwise and Utica developed in that area to the west, thereby placing his stone near a heavy traffic thoroughfare. Few take the time to look at the stone. Even fewer know Conkling is buried there.

I write about the blizzard and Conkling for a number of reasons. Today is the anniversary of the Great Blizzard. His career was outstanding. His stone and place of burial interesting.

I enjoy walking through cemeteries. The history of an area or the person is carved into the stones. What can be learned fascinating. I first came across Conkling’s stone and burial place on one of those walks many years ago.

Fantasy Fest seems to have survived its most recent onslaught. The Key West Commission and Fantasy Fest promoters met last night. Some minimal advertising changes were agreed to. Otherwise, everything will remain as it has been.

I agree with the outcome. My philosophy is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Spring break is upon us. The college kids appear well behaved. They seem to be having a great time.

I envy them. I neither knew of spring break nor could have afforded it had I known when I was in college.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Listeners appeared most interested in the letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican Senators.

I spoke of Nicholas Maduro. He is President of Venezuela. I have been talking about him for three years. The man is a nut case. He becomes more troublesome by the day. Troublesome as regards the United States. The man bears watching.

KONK Life hits the streets today. If you have a chance, read my column. Mass Killings Common. I wrote the article because of recent ISIS atrocities such beheadings and burning people alive.

Enjoy your day!


Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams are generally thought of when Key West authors are discussed.  There is another big name. A person of note. John Hershey.

Hershey’s winter home was Key West. He led the good life. His summer home was Martha’s Vineyard.

Hershey is famous for many books. One is A Bell For Adano for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. I am ashamed to admit I never read the book. I did see the movie it was made into. John Hodiak starred.

Hershey died at age 78 in 1983 in Key West. He is buried on Martha’s Vineyard.

I wrote this week’s KONK Life column yesterday. It took the greater part of the day. Titled Mass Killings Common. The topic was motivated by recent ISIS killings. The column places special emphasis on beheadings.

It goes back to similar killings centuries prior to the birth of Christ and up to today and ISIS. The thrust is ISIS type killings are not uncommon. Men have been doing it to each other for centuries. The difference is the internet and social media which bring today’s killings visually to everyone’s attention.

The column is interesting. Many generally unknown events shared.

I spent the rest of my Sunday doing nothing. I hung around the house watching TV and reading. Occasionally falling asleep for short periods.

The Friends of the Key West Library series continues this evening at St. Paul’s. Novelist Mark Childress the speaker. Part of his talk is dedicated to learning how to write. I plan on attending.

My heart doctor this afternoon for a routine visit. He is going to tell me what a good boy I am for having lost more weight.

Enjoy your day!