Today is Thanksgiving, and that means, if all is well, "High Season" is right around the corner for Key West.
We in the tourism industry usually wait for it with bated breath. ( or "baited" get it ? Ha ha! Hey, I'm just a fisherman's daughter, not a comedian) Altho' as you can see from these brochures, some of us have been waiting every year for "season" a lot longer than others. I have been passing out "brochures" as long as I can remember...this is one from the 70's? I think.
Traditionally busy season always kicked off on December 26. Lasted throughout the winter, and then summers were pretty slow. Nowadays you can just never tell....Summers got busier and busier until 'Season' became year round, it took me until about 10 years ago to look at the packed streets in the Summer as normal.
I love this brochure by the way....there were'nt many around back then, ecspecially not like this, AND it was easy to mail! Just add a stamp and you could send to your loved ones back home in the snow. Can anyone say "BRANDING"? And we could close the bar, just close it (!) put "Gone Fishing" on the door and come back in a week or two anytime in August, or September. Now even though it's pretty slow those months 'as a rule', last year they broke records tourism wise.....this year...pretty slow, so you never know but so far you can always count on it being busy when it's cold up North!
So, Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day with your families and friends. Enjoy the company, the food, the football, the Fun! Don't worry about me, remember having as many "Mothers" as Daddy provided me, meant having an awful lot of Turkey Dinners, sometimes as many as 6 in one day. I STILL don't like turkey even now! I'll be very happily passing out brochures somewhere....Someone has to keep up Tradition!!
This is Tigger. Shiny and brand new a couple of years ago, cruising shot gun in the rental car and guarding the Coach purse in Orlando...You may THINK he has the life.....and you may also be wondering why in the heck a grown Woman is riding around with a Tigger in her car...The sorry truth is this, I love , love , LOVE Tiggers, and Tigers, always have, always will. When I was little one of my nicknames was "Toni Tiger" and I guess it just sunk in somehow. And THIS Tigger helps me...
I now have 4 Grandkids, so I have an EXCUSE to drive around with a Tigger in the car. He is great at entertaining squirmy babies, AND He has become the stand- in squeeze me as hard as you can helper in situations like this,
My Grandson gets bit by a dog, Mae Mae (Me) is on the way to the ER with Tigger. He's fine, and Tigger helped, and we know Tigger helped because he was kind enough to accompany TJ into surgery at Miami Childrens about a year or so ago...
And he was an incredible help there too...only minor surgery (He's fine!) but still Tigger was right there with him..they even wheeled him off with Tigger in the bed beside him....
This is my Granddaughter Alexis, at her Graduation from 5th grade...guess how SHE celebrated graduation? Yep, you guessed it, accidently banged her head on a dresser, and Yep, BANG! stitches, but since she's 11, I won't embarrass her by posting HER Tigger picture, just know he was there...Isn't she beautiful? Even Tiggerless?
And he's a good baby sitter/bottle holder in a pinch. It's getting to be a family joke..."Mom - Rush to the ER! Got Tigger?!". I just don't know what I'm going to do when they are too big for Tigger...and neither one of my daughters ever got stitches or broke a bone! So I am grateful for Tigger's support. My oldest daughters stepson (My Stepgrandson?) that lives in Miami wanted to TAKE Tigger back to Miami with him after one of our ER "excursions". His reasoning was that if HE needed him that it would take me too long to get there, so I should just give him Tigger right there and then. I was tempted and really admired his reasoning but Naaahhh, TJ may be too old soon but there's still little Nate!
See the thing about Tigger is you can always count on him, he's got that great big smile and is always ready to GO! And even tho' he's getting a little worn around the edges from all the late nights, he gets lots of rest in between so he'll be there when he's needed. And he's never EVER scared, not that I ever am in these situations, but you know what I mean, right? So, do any of YOU have Tiggers?
Daddy ran for Mayor alot! I believe the exact number is 4 times, but because of the fact that I HAD to campaign it sure seemed like alot more! Voting was very important in our family, as the son of immigrants Daddy considered voting to be the ultimate privilege, and he was Very Very Proud to be an American.
As the years went by the advertising became a little more sophisticated, bet lots of people still have the T-Shirt above, or at least remember wearing one. This picture is courtesy of my Stepsister Kristin, my shirt is boxed up somewhere...
But I DO know where this amazing poster is that my friend Russell Keene was kind enough to give me, it is hanging right on my living room wall. This actual poster was posted in front of 1305 Truman Ave. Home of Lynn and Russell Keene II. Russell said he was always proud to have it posted there, and I am in turn grateful and proud to have it after so many years. Barbara at BIG lovingly framed it for me...
This is from the front page of the Citizen. He finally won in 1989 for a 2 year term. He looks so happy and proud, it actually brings tears to my eyes remembering this day. He loved Key West so much, and his platform was always to save as much of the old days and ways as possible. Would you believe he was actually endorsed by the New York Times, AND The Wall St. Journal? Unheard of for such a tiny island, but Daddy had a way of getting attention! He promised when sworn in not to bang the gavel too hard or too often.
And even though it took him so long to get elected, he had very good reasons why he was'nt. He always blamed it on kissing the mothers instead of the babies, and the fact that some people claimed he used a certain 4 letter word too much. But as he told the Washington Post "I just hope everybody in Key West who uses that word votes for me. If they do, I'll win in a landslide." And as all things always were with Daddy, he made it FUN! We had so many wonderful volunteers, and we would do crazy stuff, like make the "Captain" fish when our campaign headquarters would flood...
The main thing I remember though, no matter WHO was in office locally or nationally, ecspecially the highest office in the land, when people came to find out Daddy's opinion on this or that he might give you a colorful quote, but his bottome line was "I LOVE MY COUNTRY, RIGHT OR WRONG". So on that note, I hope everyone reading this voted, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that will be glad to see this election behind us...
As alot of you may know, Daddy passed away on November 1, 2008. Several months afterwards I got a call from my Parrothead "Sista" Charley, with an interesting offer, would we like to let Daddy become a part of an artificial reef up in Sarasota? Pictured above with some members of the family is Al Palumbo, who was President of the Sarasota Bay Parrot Head Club at the time, and along with his wife Beth was one of the MANY Sarasota Bay Parrotheads who took such good care of us when we went up.
Here's family that went up for our first view of the "Reef Ball" Basically what they do, is use any amount of your loved ones ashes you may choose to use (or none at all!) and prepare a "pearl" that is attached to the reef ball. The reef ball itself is made up of special material that encourages growth underwater, which in turn encourages sea life by creating a environment that is safe and attractive to sea life. They then drop the ball offshore to create artificial reefs. This particular one was "super sized" for Daddy, you can see the plaques they attached to the ball, one is a picture of Daddy,
and the other was a beautiful plaque with this inscription, from PHIP Inc. which was kind enough to donate the reef ball for the family, in honor of Daddy...
They brought the reef ball out by Shrimp Boat, which was was just perfect, considering how much Daddy loved his Shrimp Boats...
And they provided us with mini Reef Balls, and flowers, so that we could contribute to the ceremony when the time came...
Here it is on the gunnel of the shrimp boat...
Then being lowered into the water..
And of course it being Capt Tony....they had to give him a proper send off..
Radio Margaritaville was playing and dedicating Buffett songs for Daddy, including of course 'Last Mango in Paris' and the music was playing over the ships speakers
They gave Daddy a 21 diver salute...
A Capt Tony's cup was involved...
It was a beautiful day with alot of emotion....And we will remember and cherish it always...
Here is a last shot of dive flags and a Conch Republic Flag. The whole concept was entirely new to all of us, and I know I can speak for the family when I say we loved the whole thing. Daddy was so unique and this was such a perfect fit. What a wonderful way to remember a loved one while helping the Ocean by giving a habitat that helps living things? People also have the option of diving on the artificial reef and seeing the progress that has been made...You can even see progress online by going to Capt.Tony's Eternal Reef after two years. - YouTube
So for anyone that is looking for a different, loving way to remember a member of your family, I highly recommend it! You can find them on Facebook, or at http://www.eternalreefs.com/index.html. And Thank You Again, for everyone that helped to make such a wonderful Memorial to Daddy!