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!

Monday, September 07, 2020

“It's the working, the working, just the working life.” – Bruce Springsteen



September 7, 2020

  It's the working, the working, just the working life.” – Bruce Springsteen

Labor Day. Traditionally it marks the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season, back to school and here locally it is the weekend that hosts one of my favorite annual events, Key West Brewfest. This being the crazy untraditional year thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, everything is off kilter and out of whack. It certainly doesn’t seem like the end of summer as time has seemed weird throughout this health crisis. Brewfest, like most of the social events that we would normally be participating in, has been canceled. This marks the second year in a row as last year it was an approaching hurricane that caused the event to be canceled.





This year all cancelations are due to Covid-19 and this is just the latest in what has been the ongoing complete rearranging of life due to the current and on-going situation. And it is on-going, even though many people seem to believe that the danger has past and some restrictions have begun to be pulled back and eased up. Locally the new case count has dropped to its lowest point since June. But the numbers are still alarming and the disappointment over some events being canceled is nothing compared to the suffering of so many.



There have now been 6,276,421 confirmed cases in the United States with a stunning number who have died due to the virus 188,941. Conspiracy theorists try to argue that the actual number of deaths is actually somewhere around 6,000 because the vast majority of people who have perished have had some sort of preexisting condition, which they contend is the real cause of death. That of course is ridiculous on the face of it as all those people would still be alive if not for this virus. Locally the numbers are 1,764 cases in Monroe County with 798 of those in Key West and holding at 16 people locally who have died from Covid.




The start of the school year has been one that is controversial and being handled differently all across the country in response to the virus threat. Locally schools started last month with only virtual classes and no in person learning. That ends as of tomorrow as students begin returning to attend classes in person on something of a staggered schedule. Other places have returned to in person learning from the start of the school year to mixed results. Many colleges are reporting outbreaks and clusters of infections among students who have had a hard time following the social distancing guidelines.



My sister Michele, is a teaching assistant in Indianapolis and they have been back in class with her students while our friend Dakota who is a teacher in New Mexico has been only doing virtual classes. Struggling to know what is the right way to handle the situation has been tough on all parents, students, teachers and administrators and I have no clue what is best but wish all involved that they stay safe and healthy.

We have been enjoying the quiet of early September in Key West. It is usually one of the quietest and nicest times here in Key West and it seems even more so with the Covid situation. We have been busy enjoying socially responsible outings and small gatherings with a few trusted friends, all while taking the precautions seriously. We ventured down to the waterfront to watch sunset with Jack one night this week. It was beautiful serene and quiet with only a few people around what might otherwise have been a crowded sunset.


We also selected an open-air restaurant to venture out to dinner for the first time in ages with our friend Gae. We chose the Southernmost Beach Café, which is open air and right on the beach and coincidently is the spot where Kathy and I got married back in 2003 with Gae as our officiant. It was a wonderful dinner with only a few tables, nicely spaced being utilized in the restaurant and the food was really excellent.




The highlight of the week was a wonderful invitation from our friend Eric and his daughter Rosie to go boating on what was a beautiful, flat-calm, high visibility late summer day. We met them at the Stock Island Yacht Club and boarded their boat for a trip out to Western Dry Rocks which is near the western edge of the local reef tract and typically never busy as it is too far for the charter boats to visit.





I new it was going to be a special day right away as we saw a Manatee mother and baby while heading out of the marina for the ride out to the reef. When we got there the conditions were beautiful and there was great visibility, tons of beautiful sea life including turtles and a spotted eagle ray and we enjoyed an awesome day hanging out with our friends and enjoying the beautiful waters.


Eric did a little spear fishing and shot a nice sized Mutton Snapper which he kindly fileted and shared half with us when we got back to the dock. It was a pretty amazing day and helped take the sting out of missing so many beloved activities due to the virus, we are just doing different yet still wonderful and enjoyable, safe activities. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bullet Dodged

August 29, 2020


Bullet Dodged

This has been a pretty horrible year all around. The on-going Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause havoc around the world, especially here in the United States. This has impacted just about every facet of our lives and has led to months of a life that is totally different than what we all had expected and caused not only the obvious health crisis but on-going economic devastation. On top of that, this year has seen an unbelievable, sad and awful crisis involving race relations in the country.

The strife between the systematic racism that seems to be asserting itself more and more in our everyday lives has created, exposed and exacerbated racial tensions across the country as well. We were reminded of the on-going strife again this week as there was yet another example of police shooting and killing a young black man they were attempting to arrest. This time the man was named Jacob Blake and he was shot in the back seven times as he was resisting and attempting to get into a car. He joins the sad and far too long list of Black citizens who have been shot and killed by over aggressive police actions.


Another week of protests erupted and this time the one in Kenosha, Wisconsin took a dark and frightening turn as a young 17 year old man who was part of a militia group arrived in Kenosha from Illinois with the expressed purpose of protecting the lives and businesses from the rioters and looters who they were sure were going to ravage the city. Tragedy did indeed strike, though it was the young militia man who ended up shooting and killing two protesters and wounding another. Sadly the local police allowed him to walk away and return to Illinois, where he was thankfully arrested the next day.



The entire situation was tragic, horrific and sadly becoming ever more normalized with each additional instance. It is sickening to me and even more stomach churning is the way that the media only seems to focus on the most sensational and awful behave of the two extremes. I believe it is possible to at once support the Black Lives Matter movement and their legitimate protests as well as support the vast majority of law-abiding police officers who perform a thankless task of trying to keep us all safe. Criminals are criminals and they should be arrested, tried and sentenced equally whether they be bad cops or those looting and rioting in the name of a protest.

The system is broken and it needs to be fixed and made equitable and fair for all, something I fear may not be possible with the level of hatred, acrimony and division that our country is experiencing. Things have reached a boiling point and it is such a sad and frightening time. There was a bit of good news here locally this week as the virus cases reached a new low since the Keys reopened in June. 

We had our first day with no new cases and the weekly total was the lowest in the past three months.
The numbers continue to be staggering and scary as there are now 5,917,616 confirmed cases in the United States, with a mind-blowing 181,925 deaths. Locally in Monroe County there have been 1,719 cases with 782 of those being here in Key West and sadly 16 deaths here to date. So any reduction in the numbers is a welcome relief. But the biggest news of the week is the fact that we dodged another bullet as a major hurricane that we were once in the center of the cone of death, turned to our south and caused only a day of crazy high waves.

The storm, Hurricane Laura slide just to the south of Cuba, before turning north into the Gulf Of Mexico and slamming into Louisiana as a category 4 monster creating serious damage and destruction. Thankfully here it was only one of those crazy wavey days in which the end of the White Street Pier was flooded and turned into a lake where locals swam, let huge waves crash over them and floated around on floaties. I went down to check it out, avoiding the crowds but trying to get a few photos to capture what was happening.



This was also a bittersweet week as the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 was held and for the first time in 50 years, I was not on hand as they banned fans from attending due to the pandemic. Kathy was sweet and decorated the house with race flags and we watched as Takuma Sato captured his second Indy 500 win beating out Scott Dixon thanks to some shrew strategy and a well-timed late caution flag. It was fun and exciting and yet sad and disheartening to watch on TV.

We also had a few more fun, social distancing evening visits this week. Our friends Effie and Caitlin were here one night and on another evening, our friends Eric and Betsy and their daughter Rosie spent a fun night here. Jack and I also had the good fortune to rescue a turtle on one of our morning walks. He crossed busy White Street, narrowly avoiding getting run over and then was trapped by a fence, which I carried him around and placed him near the small pond he seemed to be heading towards. He seemed thrilled and darted off into the pond as soon as I placed him back on the ground