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Saturday, August 14, 2010


Last night I was the southernmost person in the United States. I wasn't trying to set a record, I just needed a place to park my camper for the night.

My friends have a conch house in Key West. It's between two fancy residences that both claim to be "The Southernmost House in the U.S.". Yadira suggested that I park my VW by the ocean so I could catch a breeze.

I did just that then prepared to tour the town on my bike. Despite it being about 300 degrees, the Southernmost City was awash in tourists. I soon learned why.

Someone had figured out how to turn the Empire State Building on its side and float it to Mallory Pier.

Thousands of people were trickling out anxious to buy mojitos and t-shirts.

Later, like a change of tide, they headed back with new shirts in hand.

I saw so many amazing things in Key West. Next to the art museum was a sculpture of naked ladies dancing. I sat and watch tourists take pictures of each other touching the dancers in private places.

I joined the fun by taking pictures of them taking pictures of each other.

Sunset at Mallory Square was the usual freak show. I guess I got my fill of tightrope walkers, escape artists, and cat tricks long ago. Its still a great place to take folks who have never been there before.


On my night tour I heard a blues band coming south on Duval Street. I turned to see a one-man parade, a guy on a bike blasting sound and lights like gangbusters.

It was unlike anything I had ever seen.
Suddenly I was his biggest fan, following Psychedelic Bike Man wherever he pedalled. I snapped pictures repeatedly knowing I'd have to later say, "You had to be there".

Watching him wave at the tourists, bartenders, and massage parlor girls told me he did this often.

Finally I came to my senses and broke away for a dinner with friends.

Two hours later I crawled into my seaside camper and thought, "Golly, I'm probably the southernmost person in the United States tonight".

I tried to not let it go to my head.

It certainly didn't keep me from getting drowsy.

As my eyes were closing for good I stared at a faint glow on the southern horizon and wondered, "Could that be Havana?"

(I was too tired to photograph what could be Havana and it was probably too faint anyway. This is just after sunset, looking west from the ol'campgound)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


North Grove's Teresa Rodriguez and I were hiking in Camden, Maine, trying to stay out of trouble when we spied the Hoop Lady. When she invited us to grab hoops for ourselves we were happy to join her. Soon six of us hooping by the sea.
Judith, in her early 60's, goes to public places regularly and sets out a collection of her homemade hoops. As her little Sony cranks up the music Judith begins cranking a hoop around her waistline.

After gyrating for a half-hour we agreed it was a great workout. Both Teresa and I were already hula hoop fans and have enjoyed making them on our own. Teresa even goes to hoop classes to learn to spin plastic around her neck, arms, and knees.
We're talking about big, substantial hoops here, not the crummy, colorful ones you find at K-Mart. Those $8 circles are fine for kids but impossible for adults to enjoy. If you weigh more than a hundred pounds you need a bigger hoop with some weight to it. This gives is the centrifugal force necessary to keep it going around your middle.
As we were leaving Teresa bought one of Judith's plastic creations ($20, decorative tape included). When Teresa and her husband return to Miami next week they'll bring the new hoop with them.

Would you like a hoop of your own? I will be having a Saturday workshop next month where I'll be teaching the fine art of hula hoop making. For $15 I'll help you make and decorate your own custom hoop. For more information contact me at


Last week my brother-in-law, Mario Violich, and his family were vacationing in Hawaii. The four of them rented a small boat so they could snorkel Kauai's north shore.
While they were looking down into the emerald green water a young boy, from another boat swam up. He asked, "we ran out of bait. Do you have any?”

When Mario regretfully replied. "I'm sorry, we don't", the lad invited the Violich family to join him on the swim back to his parent's boat. When they did the boy's dad, who had been watching his son's every move, turned our to be James Bond.
The British actor, Pierce Brosnan (he played the action figure in the 1990's) could not have been nicer, Mario reported. He offered them soda, champagne, and a sit in the shade.

As my sister-in-law, Mary, was hoisting herself aboard, she thought, "Jeez, if I had known I was going to be meeting James Bond I'd have worn something nicer."

Friday, August 6, 2010


Every other year we have a Terry family reunion. This week thirty-three of us have gathered on Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. We keep busy sharing stories old and new. Here’s my first,

You know how strange it can be to wake up in a new place, especially in the middle of the night?
Francesca and I have a room in a big pink beach house. It’s roomy, maybe too roomy.
The first night I woke up at 3 am and stumbled into a big closet thinking it was our bathroom. Thankfully, as I was about to relieve myself into my suitcase, I realized my mistake.
I’ve got it now: closet to the left, bathroom to the right.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


It seemed like a perfect sunny Sunday until the mugging.

A few hours ago I was answering e-mail when I heard pounding on the door. It was a very distraught friend. She had just been mugged a block away.

At half-past noon a thug had snuck up on her as she was walking past Plymouth Church. The mugger knocked her down, snarled, "Give it to me!" and ripped her I-Phone from her hands.

I called the cops as my wife, Francesca, consoled her. We learned that her phone contained a GPS signal and a minute later, we could see where it was on map. I jumped in my car and raced to the corner of Frow and Douglas uncertain what to do next. Was it this man or that? Both were riding black bicycles.

"This might be one for professionals", I decided. By the time I located a cop my "suspects" were gone. The officer told me she was aware of the crime and I was, in fact, hindering her efforts to solve it.
Oh well.
I decided to handle the small stuff instead. A few minutes before I had seen a man standing suspiciously at the back of a blue building. I thought he might have stashed my neighbor's cell phone there.
All I found was a fresh puddle of urine.
Another officer explained that minutes earlier the thief had turned the stolen phone off stopping the GPS signal. With four cops cars surrounding us it was certain the bad guy was gone.
I gave up crime fighting and went home.
By now our friend was feeling better. We were thankful she had not been hurt but then, pain sometimes doesn't show. She looked crestfallen as she left saying, "I don't know if I'll ever feel safe here again".