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!

Friday, September 07, 2018

Tracks of My Tears

September 6, 2018

Tracks of My Tears

“People say I’m the life of the party
Because I tell a joke or two
Although I may be laughing loud and hearty
Deep inside I’m blue
So take a good look at face
You’ll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears.”

-Smokey Robinson




Key West has suffered a double blow in the past couple of weeks with the loss of two wonderful, beautiful but ultimately troubled souls, Patricia Zurheide and Anne Walters. It has been an incredibly difficult time for so many of us left behind to ponder what happened and why. Coming to grips with sudden loss is especially difficult when people pass far too young and had so many gifts seemingly left to give. As is often the case, the demons that people struggle with are often hidden by a veneer of seeming happiness. Having battled depression myself much of my adult life, I am all too familiar with this, but even knowing that doesn’t lessen the sense of numbness and regret when it involves others who you care about.

Kathy and I have known Patricia and her family since their beautiful daughters Gabi and Ali were students of Kathy’s at the Key West Preschool Co-op. The girls are now teenagers and yet we have maintained a casual friendship with them all ever since. We would often see Patricia at various events around town wearing her trademark cowboy hat and her unique colorful pants. Most often she would be volunteering as she was always willing to work to support whatever cause that she or her family were involved in.

Patricia with her daughters. 

Jack and Patricia

Her sudden passing at age 46 was certainly something of a shock to many, though as many people are, she was trying to work through some issues that most of us were not aware of. I saw her just last month at the Dog Park where she was a frequent, if not daily visitor and she seemed upbeat and happy and I will always remember her as such a giving person, always there to assist others. Our hearts grieve for those closest to her, especially her mother, her husband Jack and her two lovely girls. I hope she has found peace and that somehow her loved ones can as well.

The second blow was even more profound to me, if only because it hit me personally like a ton of bricks. I spent this past Friday evening at the Wicker Guest house at a Brewfest pool party with many close Key West friends, among them our friend Anne. We had a really wonderful conversation that seemed so freaking normal and was so forward thinking as she seemed so happy and excited about heading up to Gainesville this week to attend acupuncture school. We spoke of the beautiful natural areas that surround Gainesville and she seemed so looking forward to an upcoming planned camping trip with friends.

Anne and Natalia  

The Comedy Key West crew

We saw Anne again on Saturday evening at Brewfest and as per usual, she was dressed up in a German barmaid costume to celebrate the event, yet shockingly by Sunday morning she was gone, haven taken her own life. To say we were stunned is an understatement. Such a beautiful, talented, funny, healing, giving and wonderful person, it is impossible to truly grasp the insidious forces that depression and anxiety unleash.

Anne and Jenni 

Anne was a yoga instructor and one of the founders of Comedy Key West and a talented comedian and was a beloved member of the Key West community, which experienced something resembling a collective grief the past few days. Like many, I question myself, reviewing our interactions, was there something I missed, something I should have caught on to, might I have said or done something different that might have altered things? Even knowing from my own experience how those are stupid and ultimately destructive thoughts that do no good, It is tough not to have them. I feel especially bad for those closest to her for I know those feelings may be multiplied in their own minds, yet there is nothing anyone could do or should have done to prevent this, sometimes those demons are just too strong.


Anne and Heather

What can be done is that we can all be more kind, more open and more attentive. We all know people, or perhaps we are the people, who suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental issues. These issues are nothing to be ashamed of or to hide from others and we as a society, need to understand this. If you have the flu, you go to the doctor and get treatment and the same should be the case for mental illness. Too many people associate the term mental illness with crazy, when in reality many people could probably benefit from a good professional counselor and perhaps medication. I know they have helped me overcome my own suicidal thoughts and depression.


Anne *photo by Nick Doll

If these tragedies have even a trace of a silver lining, it is that once again the true nature and spirit of the Key West community has shown through. The losses of Patricia and Anne have brought those who loved them even closer together, reminded us all of the preciousness of life and of the loved ones who share it with us. Scattered among the expressions of true grief, were displays of love and support that transcended the terrible reality.

I know I am a better person for knowing each of these remarkable women, and while the sadness of their loss will fade, the memories of them and their impact on myself and my community will continue to shine through. Kathy and I offer our deepest sympathy to their family, friends and loved ones. Thanks also to the uncredited photographers whose photos that I used here, most coming from their respective facebook pages. 


September 5, 2018




This year marked the ninth year that the Key West Rotary Club hosted the annual signature event of the Key West Brewfest celebration on the beach at the Southernmost Resort. Founded by Rotarian and GM of the Southernmost Resort and now known affectionately as “The Father of Brewfest”, our friend Matt Babich, the Brewfest tasting event has grown in size and prestige each year. It also raises a ton of money for local charities sponsored by the Rotary Club.


Bethany and Richard

This year over 200 unique beers from breweries large and small from throughout Florida and across the nation were featured at the tasting event, which draws a massive crowd to the beach each Labor Day weekend. The festival isn’t the largest, doesn’t have the rarest beers but there is something about it that makes it one of our favorite events of the year.

Deb and Matt 

Brian and Ammie

Tom, Greta, Cale, Effie and Heather 

The location is fantastic as it is held right on the same beach where Kathy and I were married, which a really beautiful spot. The event also attracts a lot of some of the most fun bunch of locals around. Unlike many bars on lower Duval Street, the crowd is not there just to get as drunk as possible but to enjoy the vast variety of the craft beers available. 



We once again, signed up for the VIP option that allows early entry into the festival, a full two hours earlier than the general population. This year it seemed like the VIP crowd was larger than ever, but you still had every opportunity to get around to all the breweries without any long lines. Food is also served during the VIP portion of the event and it seemed this year that the food was more plentiful than ever and quite yummy as well.



There are always some strange, yet wonderful beers available and this year was no exception as we really enjoyed a number of excellent selections ranging from habenero beer to lemon ginger beer to all manner of ales, kolschs, ipas, porters and more. Some of my favorite Florida Breweries were on hand including Wynwood, Cigar City, Funky Budda, Swamphead, Coppertail and Due South Brewery.

Kathy, Heather, Greta and Michael



There were also a few new additions to the festival which are always fun to experience and the Florida Keys were well represented as well with Florida Keys Brewery, Islamorada Brewing, the Waterfront Brewery, First Flight and of course the wonderful Home Brew Club as well. ­­

Cale, Effie and Alexandria 

Alonda and Rich

As in the past few years, it was a pretty hot afternoon, it always seems to be sizzling at Brewfest. Kathy and I have a plan to combat the heat, we spend the first two VIP hours at the festival, then venture across the street to the Pineapple Pool at the Southernmost Resort to relax in the pool where we recover and regroup before heading back over for the final hour or so of Brewfest.


It works out great and we are around for the annual second line march that closes the festival, going from the Southernmost Café Beach to the Green Parrot where the truly hardy continue the fun. We have never made it there, opting to bike home just after the parade goes by. It was another fun and successful event and it is always great to see so many friends out enjoying life.