A couple of pictures showed up in my Facebook memories reminding me that on this day–December 7 of 2012–I was in Key West, and so I decided that I wanted to share some memories of past entries from my two visits to the Keys. However, I was not successful in finding my detailed blog entries, so I am using my memory (oy vey, lets pray), very little pictures that was posted on FB, a small written piece & some poetry.
The first time I went to the Keys (2012 trip) was part of a cruise and had from early a.m. to about mid afternoon to get off the ship and walk around. 55% of that time in the graveyard, the other 45% of time was walking around the town. I wanted to find all of the spots that Jimmy Buffett sang about in his lyrics. I fell in love with how 1970s it felt. It was like everything stopped around that time–the color of the houses, the spirit in the air, some of the bikes and cars and shops, the people / the bars, and I adored the metal mailboxes that were attached to the houses. Captain Tonys was a memorable one–I drank some kind of crazy alcoholic punch drink from, I think it was called Pirate’s Punch. I could not get up for a while, but I walked straighter than I walk when I’m sober. I still just don’t know how that works. I found my favorite keychain “Yes I am a Pirate” and my favorite sweatshirt “A Pirate Looks at 40” in the Margaritaville shop. I remember walking down one of the streets and finding my shadow in a piano and I later wrote the poem “Sepia”. I don’t really remember much else from there, but I’m sure I could if I could find all of the pictures or blog entries or notes or something…
This is me in 2012. I found the sign from Jimmy Buffett’s song “There’s a woman going crazy on Caroline Street.” (Yes, I was about 50-75 lbs heavier than I am now.)
In 2015, I wrote Key West into my vacation (first stop was Fort Lauderdale boat show then the Keys then flying home.) I drove along the A1A for the first time and I don’t think I will ever forget the drive. It was beautiful. So the next paragraph will be sporadic memories and probably not at all in order. I stayed at the Author’s Guesthouse (go figure, right?).
I do remember that evening when I arrived I found a place that served tacos, and that was the first thing I did. One of the days I ate the most amazing salad I had ever eaten in my life from Date & Thyme. I think that’s what it was called. Of course, I spent time along Duval Street, went to Caroline Street, Mallory Square for sunset, walked around the cemetery a long time, took random photos, went searching for those Pirate statues, spent time looking for ghosts, met a friend I had been talking to online for a while, and did so many other things.
One of the coolest things was the sunset at Mallory Square. Everyone stood there watching, and when the sun set, everyone clapped. It was like we were attending the show and the sun was giving his performance.
Here’s a really embarrassing story — I was slowing down for a red light—while riding my rented bike—and instead of my foot making its way to the curb to hold me up, I missed, and I fell into a sea of people. Everyone rushed over to me like OMG are you okay? And get this, I had not drank at that point, and wasn’t planning on heading to Captain Tony’s until later that night….I wish I could remember the conversations, but I know several random people and I talked while I was at CT. They were interesting. The bar was interesting after midnight. I talked to Captain Tony’s spirit. I will never forget riding the bike back through the town in the very early a.m. There was some kind of solitude at that time in the morning.
The day I was supposed to start towards home I delayed my trip by a lot, and went to the Keys bookstore and spent hours there. Even after that, I wanted to delay the trip longer and went to Starbucks to charge my phone before heading home. That’s when I had a stranger to ask to sit with me. This stranger and I had an instant connection (she called me her mini me) and we talked forever, we friended each other on Facebook, and she’s been down in my area several times but it hasn’t ever worked out to meet up since.
One of the best parts of the 2015 trip (out of the memories I actually could find that was written out and besides meeting my two new friends) would be the experiences with all of the animals I met while there:
-Walking into the graveyard and ran into three roosters. They walked up to me, I said hello, and ‘have a good day’ as I walked along. The roosters said something back to me.
-I made friends with the Author Guesthouse’s cat. I asked it if I could pet it, and responded by showing me its head.
-A random guy along Duval had a parrot named Margarita, she kissed me on the lips.
-I got to take a selfie with an ugly fish in the aquarium.
-On the way back to my car on my last day, I met a really beautiful parrot (not the same as above) and talked to it.
-On a bike ride through a random neighborhood street, I came across an iguana stopped in the middle of a street and a cat on the other side. So hilarious! I took a picture and posted it as “there is a dilemma, do you see it?”
-I also saw several roosters stopping at red lights and looking both ways before they crossed the street. There is not one part of me that questions why the rooster is wanting to cross the street.
Now that it’s almost 2020–where I am trying my best to move on from the beach life–it’s so weird looking back at how in love and in tune with that world I was. I am almost like a stranger to myself looking in, or a stranger reading another stranger’s work. How funny–time–and what it does to someone, add in experiences and how fast life changes… is it a sign of loss? or growth? or something more for me to completely block off and out something that I loved so dearly? It’s definitely something to ponder…and the subject has been on my mind for a really long time.
I’m hoping that one day I can find all of the photos and all of my detailed writing so that I can write more stories about this lovely place. What I do know is that the Florida Keys will definitely be on my touring list once I write more books and publish them for real this time. You can count on that.
Glass Fish + Symbolism
Karen Maeby © 3/3/13
“Stop and think about what you’re doing
in Key West” – He says.
His hand up, pausing you from going on.
A glass fish vase next to him:
he’s a statue
in a window to a shoppe.
I know nothing of it
calls out to me.
It’s a haunting photograph that I took:
a sun spot
but it still calls out to me.
There’s just something about it.
Some kind of symbolism –
Key West is reaching out to me,
as if the city knows I’m searching for something.