Key West is hurricane country! No question about it. The strange thing is that hurricanes do not occur with regularity. Fortunately. Weather is fickle and the hurricanes come and go as they please.

Some small, some big.

The threat of a hurricane lurks every season. We are warned a hurricane is on the way. Advised it is heading straight for Key West. People told to evacuate. Then the storm digresses and goes another way.

It has reached the point where locals pay little attention to warnings to evacuate. Most stay. Because they do not believe the reports. Also because they cannot afford to leave or have nowhere to go.

If the hurricane is 24 hours away and is still thought to hit, locals generally do the same thing. After protecting their homes or apartments, of course. They gather in the homes of a friend who lives on high ground. High ground is the second floor or a small area of Key West 10-12 feet above sea level.

Everyone brings food. It will only spoil if left home in the refrigerator. Electricity destined to go out. The food is all cooked before the storm arrives. Then eaten during the 1-3 days they all live together. Alcohol shared, also.

Some pick out a building that will with stand a major hurricane. Like Don’s Place. Concrete and building block. A protected party time area for the hurricane’s duration.

There have been two big hurricanes in recent years. Georges in September 1998 and Wilma in October 2005.

Georges was less than a 2 by the time it hit. Did some damage. Old Houseboat Row took a beating.

Wilma was the real monster! Started off as a 5 near the Yucatan. Hit on the Florida mainland around a 2. Key West was on the fringe.

The hurricane itself did little damage as it passed over. About a half hour later, the surge arrived. Unexpected. Damaged big time most homes and automobiles. Surge waters covered most of the island 6-7 feet. The water running suddenly through homes.

Water and humidity are a problem. Mold develops rapidly. Homes had to be gutted along the water line. Six to seven feet. Salt water soaked furniture had to be thrown out..

Forty eight hours later, the streets of Key West had mounds.  15-20  feet of plasterboard and furniture. Sitting in front of each home. A battle zone appearance wise.

Lisa’s home took a beating. Six and a half feet of water. Her car in the driveway went also.

Larry Smith tells the typical story. He and Christine were seated on their back porch saying how they were lucky to have missed it again. It being a bad storm. Suddenly, water began trickling from the house onto the porch. In minutes, six feet was gushing out.

Thus it was all over Key West.

The storm that really bothered me was not a hurricane. A mere tropical storm. Winds generally 50-70 mph. Heavy rains. Dark.

I cannot recall the name of the storm. Searched Google and telephoned several people. All remember the tropical storm. None recall the name. Maybe because it did little damage.

It sticks clearly in my mind as if it were yesterday.

My house was prepped for the storm. Plywood sheets covering every window and door. With one exception. A small door in the back leading to the deck. I needed a way to get in and out.

I did all the right things. Filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilets. Bought bottled water. Bought food that did not require heating before being eaten. Like peanut butter, crackers, dried fruits, etc. Candles and flashlights, too. The electric power always goes.

I hated the storm. It was supposed to last at most 24 hours. It lasted 5-6 days. It sat over Key West as a black cloud and did not move. I am stuck in my boarded up house all this time. Could not drive. The street in front of my home flooded.

The power went out on and off. Meant no TV,  no lights. Candle time. I figured I would read. I do not know how Abraham Lincoln read law by candlelight. I could not. So I spent a lot of time laying on my bed in the dark. Contemplating my navel.

I went out on the deck a couple of times. Dark and bitter. Just as bad as being inside. Except inside was dry.

We are into the hurricane season already this year. It lasts till the end of November. Nothing yet. Nor any warnings. However, hurricanes develop quickly. You never know.

Enjoy your Sunday!


I got out a bit more yesterday. Day time only. Not ready for night action yet. I have not had a drink in two weeks. Soon, though not today.

I went downtown. Wanted to see the Rainbow cross walks the City had painted at the intersection of Duval and Petronia. A sight! A lovely one! Key West!

Key West is a gay/straight community. The cross walks are painted in hues of the rainbow. Light purples, orange, yellow, pink, etc. The location perfect. Key West’s two most famous gay bars on opposite corners. 801 and Bourbon Street.

Earlier, I visited with Tammy at Lee Nails. Manicure time. The nails were extra long because of being laid up.

Tammy always a pleasure to see. I admire her and her husband. They came from Vietnam about 12 years ago. Today, the owners of a flourishing business employing a number of people. The American dream existed for them. They purchased a lovely home with pool last year. They work. Six days a week. From 8 in the morning till 8 at night.

They deserve it all!

Then to the new parking lot behind Antonia’s. I once again have a parking place mid-Duval.

One parking meter. Sufficient. I walked over and there were six people huddled around the machine. A set of older parents and two 30ish couples.

One of the ladies was trying to figure out how to work the pay machine. It can be confusing.

As I approached, she yelled…..$38!…..I am not going to pay $38! Obviously, she did not know what she was doing. I was five feet behind and said not to worry. Hit the cancel button. She did.

She only wanted three hours. She again was confused. I walked up behind her and quietly asked if I could help. Without even turning, she yelled…..No!…..Get out of here!

So much for being helpful to tourists. Why let something so stupid spoil a vacation.

An item in this morning’s Key West Citizen claimed we could expect a less active hurricane season. Our last hurricane was Wilma ten years ago.

I am a bit superstitious. I wish it had not been said. It could be an invitation for a black cloud to hover over us.

Fellow came to fix a crack in my pool yesterday. He got all dressed in his black water suit, air tank, etc. He appeared to know what he was doing. The whole job took all of ten minutes.

It is 10 in the morning. I am about to take my last anti-biotic. Twelve days of them.

Enjoy your Sunday!


My base of those I call friends has expanded greatly because of this blog. Many e-mail me from all points of the world. They share with me their joys and sadnesses. I learn of their children and parents. They offer comments and political observations to what I may have written the day before.

The friendships are genuine. Though we rarely meet face to face.

One of my blog friends is Bob Saraceno from the Buffalo area. He reads me daily, e-mails every couple of months.

Bob is in Key West this week. We made arrangements to meet last night at the Chart Room. The evening turned out to be one of the most pleasant I have experienced.

Bob is here with Susan. They are a couple. They have purchased a home in Fort Myers. Key West will be their vacation spot. It is a mere four hour ferry boat ride away.

No question, I am a liberal at heart. Bob, a conservative. Our respective political leanings have never affected our relationship.

The three of us talked about everything. We were together quite a while. At least three hours.

Bob is Sicilian. I am not. My people are from the Naples area. I told him I was fearful of Sicilians. They had a reputation of cutting throats in the middle of the night. I also offered that my mother in law was Sicilian and we never got along. I attributed it to her Sicilian ways.

We drank a little too much. Laughed more. Had a great time!

They asked for a place to dine tonight. I suggested the Hot Tin Roof. I am having dinner there tonight with Donna and Terri and will probably run into them.

Key West has a reputation of being a drinking town. It is. Tourists, especially. Many indulge a bit too much. Something bad occasionally occurs as a result.

The word on the street last night was that someone had dived into the water at the Hyatt, struck his head, and could not feel from the neck down. Terrible. Potential for a serious injury. As bad as a paraplegic or quadriplegic.

The morning paper ran the story. It was not the Hyatt. It occurred at the Galleon. The Galleon’s Tiki Bar.

A 40 year old tourist dove off the pier at the Galleon. Normally shallow, it was even more shallow at the time. The tide was out. The water only three feet deep. Hard rock at the bottom.

A tragedy.

It is not easy to dive into the ocean off the Galleon deck. There is a thick rope fence/barrier. Formidable.

An article in this morning’s Key West Citizen projects an easy hurricane season ahead.  Minimal. The report worries me. I would rather it was predicted that a bad hurricane season was ahead and nothing happened.

Key West got hit bad by hurricanes for a number of years. The last big one was Wilma in 2005.

My recollection is Wilma was only a #1. It was the water that followed. Like a tsunami. About an hour after the wind departed, the water arrived. There was no warning. The water height 6-7 feet. Lisa ended up with  6 1/2 feet of water in her home. Larry and Christine were sitting on their back porch chatting about how lucky they were that there was no damage to their home. Larry says all of a sudden the water started trickling in and within seconds was one foot deep and on its way up.

I learned something from reading the article. Key West and Pensacola are the two most hurricane prone areas in Florida. One end of the State to the other. Key West to the extreme south. Pensacola is part of the Panhandle. An area to the extreme northwest of Florida.

Enjoy your day!