Sunday, August 14, 2005

Why Key West?

It's Only Key West has a thread running that asks that question: "Why Key West?" That is, what is it about Key West that makes it such a special place for some?

There are some good answers to the question, but this one moved me:

"Pardon me for posting for the first time mid-thread, but then...this is a bar room...

I first visited the rock some 30+ years ago.
Back in the day when the Bull marked the far end of the Duval Crawl. ($1 Schnappes Shots ..16 flavors!)
Back in the day when parachute cloth hung from most ceilings and kept termite droppings (and whatever else) out of your drinks.
Back in the day when the buskers on Mallory Pier stopped (and the crowd became solemnly quiet) as soon as the sun touched the horizon so as not to detract from the real reason that all of us were there....only to break into applause when the last of the sun disappeared. Whoa....
Back in the day when, if you were willing to walk 2 or 3 blocks, you could easily find a parking spot on Duval.

Pre-Buffett....Pre-Cruiseships....Pre-Timeshares.....Pre-Planet Hollywood (ugh!)....Pre-MTV Spring Break.

What I remember most about that first trip (6 weeks) was for the first time in my life feeling a strong connection to the sense of human spirit.
Maybe it was the fact that almost every shop and eatery was 'family-owned' and the only franchises were department stores (J.M. Fields?).
Maybe it was the symbionic mixture of artisans, pirates, musicians, gays and bikers.
Maybe it was the week spent on Houseboat Row.
Maybe it was that initial shock that we just might indeed be One Human Family.
Maybe it was the aforementioned 16 flavors of Schnappes.

Now, if I am staying more than a couple of nights, I stay off-island.....A decision based solely on the fact that it makes me feel uneasy to stay in a place where an average salary comes nowhere close to being able to afford the average home.

I remember reading a blurb about KW back in the mid-90's.
The first 2 words read..."Great Shopping!!"
Ow.........

All the best,
Joe"

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