Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year Vignettes

I have been enjoying Cheyenne's company for more than a year now, considering I adopted her from the Key West SPCA last December, and I am finding my dog is settling in quite nicely. Like most new dogs she used to follow me around rather obsessively but she is loosing her grip slightly. Some days she takes a nap downstairs under the house after we get home from a walk, not at all bothered that I am upstairs. Other days she passes out on her bed and ignores the fact that I am 25 feet away in the office. Lately she has taken to spending time outdoors during these cool winter days, sleeping on the recliner.I came upstairs from doing the latest pile of laundry to find her looking adorable with her ear dangling over the edge of the chair. I crept in, picked up my camera and crept back out onto the deck and she was still passed out and totally oblivious.She pretty much runs my life getting antsy if she doesn't get to jump in the car twice a day for her walks to various parts of the Lower Keys.

Winter is not always the time of year when winds die down and the waters go flat but we have had a few such days. Like this:The water for swimming however is too cold for anyone not a polar bear to enjoy. Visitors plunge about reckless off the beaches but locals have given up till next summer.

I was trying to explain the twelve days of Christmas to Noel, and how traditionally decorations have to come down by January 6th, Twelfth Night, or immeasurable bad luck will follow.It was another slow night in dispatch and my young Cuban colleague suddenly decided it was time for the decorations to go. While I monitored the main police channel on the radio, Noel methodically went round the Communications Center removing every last decoration, light and piece of tinsel. He disassembled the tree and boxed the parts, he coiled up the lights and put them away neatly ready for next year. In between his self imposed chores Noel answered the phones and checked some driver's licences. In the background the last white lights of Christmas glowed......but not for long.

This next picture illustrates why people come here from Up North.I dare say not many convertibles are converting in Illinois this month but these two were taking advantage of the afternoon sunshine on South Roosevelt Boulevard. And on the subject of deciphering the motive of the many visitors in town this holiday season, this guy on a Harley decided he had to ride up on the sidewalk for the Mile Marker Zero sign.It seemed to be a decision fraught with peril considering how many pedestrians were milling around the same famous spot.

On the subject of Christmas decorations, even my wife the Jew who is not at all familiar with Christmas traditions thought this Methodist nativity looked a bit sparse. One sheep, no shepherds, no lights, no angels, no wise men.This did not make Eaton street shine at this point in the holiday cycle. On Duval Street Chico's clothing store has been closed- "for a while" according to friends of mine who are more knowledgeable than I on matters of fashion. It too leaves a gap, as it were, on Key West's main drag.Doubtless it will be filled soon enough.

Downtown was quite full in the weeks around Christmas and New Years; full to a degree I had not seen in a while. Highway One has been absolutely packed with traffic as well, making it hard to get onto the highway from side roads. Yet when I looked at the familiar scooter parking space on Eaton at Duval I was surprised to see it empty- almost.The funny thing was that only the cream colored Kymco was properly parked. The two red scooters were dicing with a ticket for improper parking (outside the box).Perhaps when they arrived the space was packed. Further down Eaton Street I went to see The King's Speech, a movie about British King George The Sixth getting over his speech impediment. Geoffrey Rush played the Australian elocution expert who helped the King, played by Colin Firth master his crippling stammer- a huge hindrance in the age of radio. I had previously carried a coupe of pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Seaward Johnson's life size sculpture outside the theater in classic pose:I was roundly castigated for not having the bad taste to shoot a picture up her billowing skirt. Never one to let manners get in the way here we are:I was quite surprised to see a pair of vestal bloomers billowing in the image. Some things are better left undone.

On the walk up Eaton after the film I saw an evocative house dimly illuminated.A propos of nothing in particular. It's just Key West, looking good.