Just a few months ago…we pulled into Galveston with everything we owned in a 17 foot U-Haul truck, and Peniki (our old Hippie van) safely strapped on a car trailer. We were high on hope and full of dreams; we were. Arriving at around 3 am, we found an out-of-the-way spot on the seawall, crawled up into our old VW on the car-hauler…and fell in ‘til morning. We’d be heading over later to unload all of our stuff into our 10×15 storage unit that we’d pre-arranged weeks ahead of our move.
So there we were, soundly sleeping…exhausted and happy to finally be in Galveston. For several years we’d been trying to make a move. For several years we’d been locked in the rent-race and living paycheck to paycheck; never enough money to save or travel. Finally…we were really newbie transplants to the island—we were finally islanders.
“Yes…!” I said to myself as I awoke that morning to the sunrise out over the Gulf of Mexico. It hadn’t all just been a dream after-all. Baby was still soundly sleeping beside me. Nico was next to her, still snoring away. I knew he was road-weary after pulling such a rig for hundreds of miles. I let them both sleep while I sat there and watched the sun come up. It was beautiful! Just as I’ve always thought the sunrise is astounding, this one seemed even better than I’d ever witnessed. Perhaps it was because we had actually made the move and were trying to let it sink-in that we were in Galveston to stay and build our lives and a business; raise a child too. It was a dream…coming to reality.
So, for a while…I just sat there, mesmerized by the moment that was my here-and-now. I had no clue how it would all play-out: our establishing ourselves as islanders, our business launch, where we’d end up setting roots and living—in my father-in-law’s motorhome, was the initial plan—who we’d meet along the way, would we be met with success or failure. I had so many questions that would have to go unanswered…for the time-being. I wondered too if we’d find a way to get our music out there to the local music scene and start establishing ourselves as musicians more thoroughly in G-Town than we ever had in the city. I was left to wonder so many things. I would just have to wait and see.
Having enjoyed some quiet time to be alone with my thoughts, it wasn’t long before Nico was awake and back behind the wheel of the U-Haul truck; we had a busy day ahead of us…we knew. Me and Baby just stayed sleeping inside Peniki while Nico pulled us a little ways down Seawall and around the corner to Taco Cabana; we were starving and needed to carve out a plan for the day. Coffee…! That was all I cared about at the time. I needed some java-juice and I needed it quick!
A little while later, I was enjoying my black coffee…along with some really delicious bean and cheese tacos that tasted much better than I ever remembered them tasting before; even when we’d have them back in the Fort. We scoped out the goings-on of our first morning as islanders: noticing that for everyone else, it was just another day. The hustle and bustle—be-it at a slower pace—the tourists arriving or departing the island, the huge dinosaur-of-an-outdated-motorhome sitting a short distance away from us in the Randall’s parking lot. I wondered about the occupants of that motorhome for some crazy reason: were they new to the island, had they just gotten here or been here for a while? To this day, I still don’t know why I gave them a second thought.
Funny…the things I wonder and think about! I scare myself at times. And while I couldn’t actually know about what was going on for other folks, I knew for us, it was the start of a different life; one we’d been trying to transition to for quite some time. We just sat there and enjoyed ourselves and the down-time we knew wouldn’t last once we got to storage. It was a morning that will forever stand-out in my memory as the day we arrived; when Galveston made islanders of former city folks. We so-welcomed the change.
‘Pulled out around 11 am and headed North on 301/27/441, we will take 441 N/W when we see it and hopefully hit 98. *Camped at St. Joe Peninsula last night. I met a nice Mother-Daughter (Rebecca & Nicole) camping team, set up right beside us in a Classic Serro Scotty Vintage Travel Trailer. I loved their rig as much as they loved ours!
We sat up ’til way into the early morning….laughing and talking, tossing back a few cold ones, just having girl time. Lucky for me, Nico is great with Baby….so I kinda had the night off. Come to find out, they are Florida ladies. I exchanged emails with Rebecca so we can keep in touch.
*About St. Joe*
Beautiful beach. Had Fun fun fun! Watched a show-stopping sunset! We hope to return someday soon. Loved the beach and company, though the sites are really close together and very hard to get. I’d definitely make reservations for out next visit.
So…we’d set-up to play the Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square there in Key West. We’d never done the ‘street performer’ gig before, so we had no idea what to expect. After being directed into a nice spot near the water’s edge, we began belting out a few of our tunes; not sure if anyone was listening at the time.
I have to admit, without any sort of amplifier or speakers, it was all I could do not to strain a vocal chord to two. But we managed to get through it all just fine. In fact, Nico did wonderfully and seemed to fit right into that sort of scene. With my soft voice, I can’t be so sure anyone ever even heard me, much less have an opinion.
But there was one man who did seem to have something to say, and a few folks stood close by listening as best they could while we sang the sun into the ocean. The nice man told us “You have great spirit.” We took it as a compliment since he and his wife had been listening to our show for quite some time. Click on link below to see hightlights from our performance on Mallory Square.
All in all, we had a great time–it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I wouldn’t change it for the world! And the next time we head back down to Key West and the Florida Keys, I look forward to going back out to Mallory Spuare and singing my heart out…once again. After all, I have nothing to fear…and nothing to lose.
There are a few things I know I’ll never forget about our 3 weeks in the Florida Keys, and the Party we attended at Mangrove Mama’s on Sugarloaf Key is definitely one of them. We’d been invited by the owner earlier in the week, when Nico just happened to be introduced to him at the KOA Bar…in the campground next to LL. He’d gone to the store for something and, as luck would have it, ran into a few friends from LL, who were enjoying their 4 o’clock refreshments.
Needless to say, Nico and the owner of Mangrove’s hit it off and we were accepted into the rather tight-knit circle of friends/acquaintances on Sugarloaf Key. According to Nico, the party would be a benefit auction for a friend of Mangrove’s owner…who’d just-recently passed away. He was an artist…and so, they’d be auctioning off his works to raise cash for this, that, and the other. Either way, it was for a good cause, and the food and drinks were ‘on the house’. How could we refuse?
No…really! Since Mangrove Mama’s was classified more as a restaurant than a bar, we felt it was safe to take Baby, and lo-and-behold, she wasn’t the only kid there. I was a bit worried we might be walking into an environment not suited for our little one. But in the end, it all turned out to be a fun night…minus a few mis-haps and misgivings on the part of a few drunks and loud-mouths. It seems…there’s always one (or two) in every crowd.
All in all, we danced to a bongo band called the ‘Margarejects’…laughed with new-found friends, and made it safely home at a reasonable hour…across Overseas Highway and back to Lazy Lakes. In the end, Nico and I both had to admit “They really do know how to party in The Florida Keys!” What a blast we had with the local Conchs! I hope we can see them again…someday soon.