Sue Germain, Miami, Fl, “The South Meets Cuba”
It is July 10, 1993 a Sunday night in Miami. I had recently joined a telephone dating service where I placed a long term relationship ad which said I wanted the all American dream, marriage, little house with a white picket fence, kids and a dog. The ad also said if the person listening does not want the same thing “please don’t waste my time or yours”.
Two men left me a message to call them. One I didn’t call and one I did. The one I called back left me a message which simply said “Sue, call me”. It was more a command than a request. After a lot of self talk and picking up and putting down the telephone I finally dialed the number.
After he remembered he left me a message he told me someone gave him a free coupon to join the dating service. We talked until it was time for both of us to get ready for work. We met for dinner at Penrod’s on South Beach on Wednesday July 14, 1993. Penrod’s restaurant is now Nikki Beach. He wore glasses, very handsome and carried a Time magazine. I was so nervous I just ordered mineral water. He leaned across the table and said “I think you are lovely”. That was it, I was in love.
It is October 17, 2011; my husband, Miguel, and I have been married for ten years. We have been together since that night at Penrod’s long ago in 1993. Our love for each other has never wavered and each day when he comes through the door I thank God. We have the little house, the white picket fence is brown, we were not blessed with children, but we have two Chihuahuas and they are our spoiled little babies.
Patrick Conner , KEY WEST FL, “A Flash of Insight “
It’s four in the morning. I can’t sleep in the heat, so I climb out into the cockpit where it’s cooler. The lights of Key West burn brightly from my spot in the harbor. The noise from the island is more low frequency throb than gleeful celebration. It sounds like an engine, like an immense machine, moving money around and squeezing out memories and regrets. I stare at the lights and imagine the bartenders announcing “last call.” I can imagine the strippers with their gym-bags quietly leaving the clubs by the back doors. I can imagine a drunk tourist from someplace in the Midwest not being able find his room key and wondering who he gave it to. I can imagine groups of tired bartenders and waitstaff agreeing to meet at so and so’s place for after work drinks… all of this, just an insignificant moment on a stiflingly hot night.
Suddenly Mr. Christian jumps onto the cockpit table. He’s aware of something. It’s dark but I can see him doing that cat radar thing, where he rotates one ear opposite from the other. He’s sailed in ten different countries and knows many secrets of the world, so I listen… There it it, a faint raspy exhale. There is a dolphin in the neighborhood. My cat probably smelled the creature’s breath before he heard it. I listen as the dolphin gets closer. I’m concentrating on my cat. This is all a part of his secret life. I just happen to be awake witnessing it. The dolphin swims under the boat and Mr. Christian follows him to the port rail. He may sit there all night. I don’t know, but he has reminded me once again not to be a curmudgeon… that in this life there are no insignificant moments.
Leonard Erskine, Hollywood, FL, "Life is a Passing Parade"
Life is a perpetual Passing Parade
An odyssey the ultimate charade
An eye blink in the anals of time
A merry go round or just mime
With obivion just a heart beat away
We struggle and strive each day
As faces from your sight fade
You entrench and in piety wade
But the human spirit is dauntless
Prevailing no matter the duress
Just turn each adversity to gain
While we march to life’s refrain
Oh yes life is a Passing Parade
Our destiny not always self made
So high step it to the drummer
And make every day like summer
For you have one life to live
And so much of your self to give
The final march past will appear
But who cares,it’s naught to fear
Board the love boat and remain
As you wave to all in your domain
The Passing Parade will never end
So make the bestof life my friend
Allie Jacobson, NYC, NY, “MIAMI BITCH”
The young, gorgeous girl gazes across Collins Avenue, sitting in the back seat of her dad’s red BMW convertible. Her luscious dark locks are blowing daintily in her face and she is deep in thought while staring across the bay toward the rows of colorful houses, each perfectly lined with erect, warm palm trees.
Ah! This is Miami Beach, Florida, baby! Otherwise known as Nicky Rosetta Bean’s happy place! The Sunshine State where, “sunshine” belongs in the name to account for the amount of sun in the state.
Nicky Bean enters the Fountainebleau, her high-heeled poses, stealing glances from all the hottest people around the hotel. Nicky makes her biggest effort to take all her friends from small town Missouri and bring them to the hottest places to chill and party with friends. Daddy is nice enough to chauffer Nicky and her truly close friends around Miami Beach. Tonight, Nicky is wearing a truly elegant gown, golden, with matching gladiator sandals. However, she feels a little bit self-conscious with all the staring eyeballs all over the place. “I hope my hair isn’t burnt too much at the ends,” she thinks to herself.
Of course, the first thing that all the partiers at the poolside are thinking is, “Why is Nicky’s hair so dull?” “Why isn’t Nicky standing up straight?” Come on, Nicky! The world is depending on you to be a superstar tonight!
Hello?! Nicky? Whatever happened to the girl who wanted to change the world to help other people? The girl who cared more about preventing global warming rather than causing heat destruction? She’s headed toward a party in a gas-guzzler, which isn’t going to benefit anybody! The sad part of the story is that nobody is there to say what Nicky should really be worrying about.
Grace Denny, Kendall — “Night Swimming”