Just back after a loooong weekend. With their trusty sidekick, Roger, boarding Diz the Dog, Michelle and Michael are back from their annual haj up to Mexico Beach to visit her brother and sis-in-law, Dave and Sue. Eight hours and seemingly half a continent away in space, the Florida Panhandle seems even further back in time—and that’s the attraction.
Life is much slower in the Panhandle. There is more of old Florida there. Everyone who comes to the Sunshine State heads just as far south as they can, it seems; so much so that Key West is now Key Full and Sarasota is Sarabloata. Just like those who painted their wagons “California or Bust” then raced off to the Great Gold Rush of the Nineteenth-Century, then came draggin’ their wagon back with “Busted By Gosh” painted on the tattered canvass, so too are these moderns who return from Key Costly, run out by the high price of everything (a simple room to let $1,500 per month; a really rank bottle of wine, $20, etc.). Although there are drawbacks aplenty in the Panhandle—always ten degrees cooler than here—one can live sub-tropically and relatively cheaply there and still enjoy the look, feel and pace of the Old Gulf Coast. If BP oil spills and natural disasters named Katrina will leave you alone, life is good in old Florida.
And of all the places up there we like Apalachicola best. “Apalach,” as locals call it, is a lazy little port of shrimp boats, old men benches and sheets of Spanish Moss swaying softly in the sea breeze. More even than shrimp, Apalach is the oyster capital of the Gulf. Shells are everywhere. Locals and aliens alike stack the smaller, but tastier, Apalachicola oyster against any in the world. (Apalach oystering, past, present and future, above)
Ho-Hum--Another case of about a hundred charges filed against a local school teacher for indecent liberties with children. Alas, this time not a him, but a her. What in the hell is going on? Have we truly lost our morals and our marbles? I realize that American society is perhaps the most depraved and violent “civilization” in all of world history—we passed up the Romans in March of last year--but stuff like this seems to be a genetic thing. Like incest or bestiality, there are SOME things that I imagined were so unnatural and depraved that only a very, very small degenerate percentage of the population would ever dare approach it. Sex with children seems so ugly and outrageous, and yet it has become almost too common to note.
The thing not surprising about this most recent abomination is that it occurred in North Port where most such stuff seems to occur. The 48-year-old accused is, of course, innocent until proven guilty and let us hope she is proven to be just that--innocent.
Through Rain, Sleet, Snow, and Savages--I know the US Postal Service is shutting down Saturday deliveries but over among the savages at wildly misnamed Miami Gardens they might consider just doing away with all deliveries, period. A 55-year-old mail carrier was attacked by two mutts who hopped a fence the other day and damned near sent the woman to that Great Dead-Letter Office in the sky.
“Oh, lord, please help me,” cried the lady as the American Bulldogs tore her to bits. Fortunately, some folks overheard the commotion and came to her rescue. Nevertheless, the woman is in sad shape.
There is some serious talk of issuing a fine on the dog’s owner, poor fellow, but it remains to be seen if such a draconian punishment will be levied on this upstanding gentleman and pillar of the community. No doubt the owner is terribly distraught; no doubt he is confused and searching his tortured soul for an answer to that one big conundrum: WHY?
Curious, I looked up “American Bulldog.” As far as this ol’ city boy can see these canines are just a larger, uglier and more aggressive version of the pit bull. These four-legged food blenders can reach 120 pounds, live as long as fifteen years and can squirt out a litter of 14 every cycle. It would seem that if left alone to breed at leisure, American Bulldogs would soon take over and devour the world.