No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

"Only in the darkness can you see the stars."- Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 21, 2020


 "Only in the darkness can you see the stars."- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Key West hosts its very own Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration each year, and it has been a number of years since I went down to check it out, but for some reason this year, I really wanted to go down and see it and watch the short, intimate parade that is part of the annual celebration. Maybe the constant high level of stress in our public discourse drew me to go and witness something that was a positive affirmation of goodness and hope, which is the message that I always get from King’s life and words.


The event is held each year starting at the Martin Luther King Jr. recreation center and pool in Bahama Village and there was a small but dedicated crowd on hand to memorialize Dr. King and celebrate and spread his message of hope and understanding. A number of civic groups and activists were on hand along with the Key West Mayor, Chief of Police and other local dignitaries who led the small procession as it left the area and made its way over to Duval Street where the crowds along the street would be able to take in the parade.

I was a little disappointed that more members of the community were not on hand to see it, though the ones who did turn out were enthusiastic and happy to be a part of it. I fear in our ever divided country that everything seems to have become a political statement and an “us vs. them” mentality has taken over so many aspects of our lives. Dr. King’s words and vision impact all of us and were always about bringing people together rather than tearing us apart which is in part why I thought it was so important to attend.

KW Police Chief and Mayor

As usual at any large public event in Key West, I ran into a bunch of my friends and fellow citizens, many who carried signs and placards recalling Dr. King’s good works and dreams. It was especially gratifying to see a number of young children on hand to participate and watch the festivities. The MLK parade was just the start of yet another busy week during high season on our island.

Seemingly we had stuff to do almost every evening, which is fun, but also exhausting. One of the highlights of the week was the return of the Old Town/ New Folk concert series at the Studios of Key West. After a hiatus the folk music series returned this week with a performance by fellow Hoosier Carrie Newcomer. Newcomer was touring in support of her latest CD release, “The Point of Arrival”.

Carrie Newcomer

It was the third time we have seen her perform as part of this series, the previous show was at the old Key West Armory location of the Studios. This time it was just her on acoustic guitar and a gentleman playing the piano to accompany her. She played about 90 minutes and it was a pretty good night of folk music. We are thrilled that this series has returned again this year as it has brought a ton of talented folk artists to the island and is a great addition to the thriving Key West music scene.


I had some friends from Indianapolis in town for a few days as my longtime friends Corey and Jill and their entire family arrived for a quick vacation and I spent an evening at the Green Parrot with them as the Miami based fusion band Experimento played a late night set. It was great to see them, but as many visits go, it went by so fast, I feel like I hardly got to see them at all.


Other events this week included the two day Florida Keys Seafood Festival at Bayview Park. The huge seafood festival featured a plethora of great vendors including a number of our friends, entertainment with a line-up of local bands and of course bountiful seafood from local fishermen. Shrimp, Lobster, Stone Crab, Fish and more were all plentiful as fresh seafood was in abundance. The event benefits the local fishermen association as is packed with people both days gobbling up the seafood bounty.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

One Human Family

January 18, 2020

Debbie Murcasel-Powell

One Human Family

One of the things that I love about living in Key West is the amazing diversity of our community. There are people from all walks of life here and for the most part, everyone is accepting and we all get along. Even when there are vast differences of opinion, we tend to treat each other with respect, dignity and with a lot of love. This One Human Family spirit has been on display in full force this past week as there were a couple of events that really highlighted it.



 The first was the scheduled appearance by well-known evangelist Franklin Graham at the Key West Amphitheater as part of his Decision America Sunshine State tour of Florida. Graham, is a titan of the religious right and the son of the late Rev. Billy Graham who has unfortunately spent a lot of energy preaching against what he suggests are the sinful lifestyles of the LGBT community. In response a protest was organized and attended by about 200 local activists that included both Key West Mayor Terri Johnson and Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers.


The part that was the most satisfying was that the protest was more a show of support and love than an angry protest against anyone or anything. In fact the protesters, were respectful, loving and in some way supportive of the rights of Graham and his group to exercise free speech and practice their religious preferences. They just disagreed with what has been a core element of what Graham and his group seem to spend an inordinate amount of energy and focus preaching.




I must say that I knew personally the vast majority of the people protesting, but I also wanted to experience just what Graham and his group was all about, so I went into the rally myself. I was really surprised by a few things, mostly by how packed it was and by how many people that I knew as friends and neighbors were in attendance. The atmosphere was more like an upscale rock concert than any spiritual experience and while Graham preached his version of the word of God, the people seemed truly moved in many respects. He tactfully avoided any mention of the type of comments that had drawn the ire of those protesting and focused a lot on the good work his organization performed in assisting the Keys in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which was truly a good thing.

With Gwen

But in spite of seemingly saying all the right things, I personally felt ill at ease with the event. Even though it was a free event, it felt from casual observation that the whole thing was more about raising money for Graham and his ministry than about anything truly spiritual. It saddens me that so many good people can be so swayed by their religious fervor that they do not recognize why so many in their community find the message hateful and painful.

The second major event of the week saw many of the same familiar faces from the Graham protest participating in the annual Woman’s March down Duval Street. The local march is part of the larger International event that  sees millions of women and allies around the world joining together for the fourth annual Women’s March Global, a yearly Event that brings together all those who are committed to fighting for equality, justice, and women’s human rights worldwide.




The local version was sponsored by the ACLU and organized by my friends Natalia and Kathryn and featured a few hundred activists who gathered near the Southernmost House to march the length of Duval Street to Mallory Square where a small gathering and some speeches followed. I enjoy going and supporting the women who are so dedicated in their ideals of improving women’s rights and working for real change.



It was a beautiful afternoon and the march went off without a hitch. There was a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from the crowd lining Duval Street watching as the march passed by, there were also a couple of snarky comments that I heard, but the overall spirit was really positive. Our local Congressional representative, Debbie Murcasel-Powell was on hand along with her family. She was also celebrating her birthday and enjoying time in the Florida Keys.

Debbie and John