Saturday Night Serenade–Feelin’ Alright

It’s the first day of a three-day weekend. Mr. R. has taken his weekend off as well and I’m writing this post from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach where we’re watching the ponies run.

To be honest, we very nearly left. It’s crowded and overpriced and we lost $30 in the casino. But then we found the tiki bar, bought a couple of drinks, and bet on a couple of races. We won $47 on the second race, so we’re really only out the cost of our drinks. All in all, not too shabby.

Now we’re on our way back to Palm Beach County and the South Florida Fair. And you know what? I’m feeling alright.

So sit back and enjoy a little Joe Cocker. And have a happy Saturday night!

October Story Three

The original title of this post was I Just Wanted To See Hemingway’s Chair.  This story is from over a year ago in July of last summer while, on a little jaunt down to the Keys, we stopped in at a sporting goods store.  Ghostie business was the absolute last thing on my mind.  I wanted a photo to go along with a Hemingway quote.  That’s all I was looking for.  The four photos were snapped in rapid succession in a dimly-lit boat cabin.  The light you see is from my flash.  See what you think.

I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer.  Before heading home, we drove south just to sight see a little.  You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right?  Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store on Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).

wpid-20140713_102026.jpgAside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me.  According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway.  Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.

And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman.  We found the large shop fairly uncrowded and sure enough, the Pilar was sitting smack-dab in the center of the place.  Again, the Pilar is not Hemingway’s boat.  It just happened to be built at the same Brooklyn shipyard and is a twin of the more famous one that is supposed to be in Cuba these days.  But I was curious all the same.

Some years ago, I read an interesting novel by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin, the one from Monty Python) called Hemingway’s Chair.  In the story, a mousy postal worker with a fascination for all things Hemingway learns that Papa’s fishing chair is about to be sold at auction and he schemes for ways to make the chair his own.

And so, having left the others browsing for souvenirs and trinkets, it was with curious interest that I climbed aboard the Pilar with hopes of snapping a photo of Hemingway’s chair.  And there it was.  Right on the stern of the boat.  But it was unlike any fishing chair I’d ever seen.  It was made of highly polished wood and sat low with a beam that jutted forward from the seat parallel to the deck with a footrest at the end, so that if you were sitting in the chair, your legs would stick straight out in front of you.  As I puzzled over the unexpected style and how best to capture it with my trusty phone, a couple boarded the boat and the wife plunked herself down into the chair and began mugging for her husband’s camera.  Seriously?!

Annoyed, I took myself below deck, if only to escape the rampant dumb-assitude.  There, in the dimly lit cabin, I found something I liked even better than the fishing chair.  There was a vintage desk complete with typewriter and chair.  I know.  It’s not Hemingway’s typewriter.  But it was cool.  Plus, I thought it was the perfect illustration for one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: Write drunk.  Edit sober. 

So I snapped four pictures in fairly rapid succession.  I hurried, figuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum  would undoubtedly be down any second.  I had to use a flash in the murkiness of the room and I couldn’t actually see what I was getting, but I hoped that at least one photo would be good enough to post with the quote.

It was not until later when I wanted to choose the best shot that I saw something interesting.  I’ve arranged the photos in the exact order in which I took them.  In the first and second frames nothing seems out of the ordinary.  In the third you begin to see a hazy little anomaly to the left of the typewriter.  The anomaly is clearer in the fourth photo.

What is it?  I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m not really a huge believer in the whole ghostie thing.  But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are some things you simply can’t explain.

October Story Two

Here’s a second October story.  Copied and pasted from an old post, it describes a time I visited the Riddle House at the South Florida Fairgrounds.  It was not my first visit, but it was the first time I went with a mind to look for ghosts.  I’ve said it before, I’m not really a ‘ghostie’ kind of person.  However, after having some personal experiences I still can’t explain, I’ve become somewhat more open-minded about certain things.  More on that in another October story. 

I should mention that I have visited the Riddle House several times since the time described in this post and I haven’t had any more odd experiences.  But this was weird.  See what you think.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  On the closing weekend of the South Florida Fair, I was thrilled to find out that Mr. R. and I had been given free tickets.  I’m not much of a rider of fair rides, but I love to walk along smelling the fair food, checking out the livestock (one day I will have chickens), and of course, I needed the annual hand-dipped corndog with loads of mustard.  But none of those were the main reason I was excited.

Situated at the fairgrounds is an area called Yesteryear Village, a collection of historic buildings, houses, barns, and artifacts dating from 1875 to 1945, comprising a “history park.”  Some of of the buildings and artifacts been moved to the fairgrounds from their original locations, while other structures and items are reproductions.

One of those original historic buildings is the Riddle House, an early 20th century farmhouse, and it was the object of my attention that day.  The house was built shortly after 1900 in downtown West Palm Beach on the edge of the Woodlawn Cemetery.  At the time it was known as the “Gatekeeper’s Cottage” and it was used as a funeral parlor.

There are various stories of tragedies that happened in relation to the home. According to news reports, a cemetery worker was killed at the house during an argument with a local man.  Some years later a man called Karl Riddle became city manager and he and his family moved into the home.  During the time the Riddles lived in the house, an employee hanged himself in the attic.  Over the years, there have been stories of strange and unexplained happenings and it is said that the Riddle family finally left because they found it too frightening to stay.  After the Riddles moved out, several business attempted to operate in the house but none ever remained very long, some blaming unexplained experiences for their departure.

Much later the house was known for a time as Dobbs House, a women’s dorm at Palm Beach Atlantic College, before being condemned by the city in 1980 and slated for demolition due to disrepair.   A Riddle relative wanted to preserve the historical value of the building and had it moved to Yesteryear Village where it was restored and is now occasionally open for tours.

It’s open for tours, for example, during the South Florida Fair, which brings me back to where we started.  I had heard the rumors about the Riddle House.  I also know that some paranormal television shows have been there to investigate, the most famous of which was the team from Ghost Adventures, which I consider one of the least reputable of that lot.

But I was excited to have the chance to check out the house for myself.  I made sure my camera battery was fully charged and as Mr. R. and I approached the house, I began snapping pictures.  We walked into the house and toured the first and second floors.  The rooms were roped off so that you could only peer inside the from the doorways.  I found the house charming, neatly restored and decorated with period furnishings, decorations, examples of clothing and accessories, and home fashions.  I took pictures in every room open to the public.  Notably off-limits was the attic.  I overheard some other guests touring the home talking about the hauntings and I had the feeling that the docents were absolutely over hearing about ghosts.

When we got home I loaded the pictures on my computer.  At first I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary and to be honest, I really didn’t expect that I would.

HOWEVER, these are the first three pictures I took as we walked up to the house.  Notice the right window upstairs.  In the first two pictures, it looks as though someone is lifting up the corner of the curtain to peek outside.  You don’t see that in the third picture.

We didn’t notice this while we were there.  It was only after we were home looking at the pictures that we saw the difference.  The obvious logical explanation is that someone is up there looking out the window.  EXCEPT that the room is roped off.  We looked into that room from the doorway.  The window is all the way across the room on the opposite wall.  You can’t get to the window without crossing the rope.  And there is a lady just in the hallway to make sure you don’t do that.

So…I don’t know.  It makes a decent October story.  There are still a couple more…

A Birthday Celebration. Or A Warning?

wpid-screenshot_2015-10-10-23-36-56-1.png

I love October.  The days are shorter and cooler.  The leaves change from plain old green to brilliant autumn colors.  In places where there are seasons, anyway.  Here in South Florida, we get fall color when the Methodist church sells pumpkins out front all month.

Halloween comes in October.  Who doesn’t love dressing up and going out.  As a kid, I went for candy.  These days I’m in search of something more along the lines of adult beverages.  The more the better.

Speaking of Halloween, I guess it’s time to rerun some of my ghost stories.  They’re odd but true.

October 14 is a special day.  I’ve loved it since I was a kid.  It happens to be my birthday.  If you were reading this blog last year, you’ll know that I was freaking the heck out. It was the number, you see.

If you weren’t along for the ride back then, I’m not going to dig up the archives for you.  It was not my finest moment.

But not this year.  I’m not going to fret.  I’ve just decided I’m gonna rock this bitch like I own the place.

Happy-Birthday-King2I want to give a celebratory shout-out to my twin over at The Aging Sub who shares the same birthday.  Be sure to go over there and wish her a Happy Birthday.

I’m pretty sure Libras are the best.  🙂

Saturday Night Serenade–Anniversary Edition

Yesterday, Mr. R. and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary.  We enjoyed a lovely day, going out to the movies and then cocktails at one of our favorite waterfront bars.

In honor of the occasion, tonight’s Serenade is ‘our’ song.  I’ve undoubtedly posted this song before but this is a really great version, a live performance from Berlin in 2010 backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Be sure to notice the chick with the “I need to speak to your manager” haircut on backing vocals.

This is dedicated to my sweet, my husband, the yin to my yang, the peas to my carrots, the love of my life.  May we enjoy forty more and then some.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–By Request

I’m a GRITS, y’all.  A Girl Raised In The South.  Sometimes known as a SAP–Southern American Princess.  Although I’ve lived in South Florida (which is not the South) for the past quarter century, at heart I’m a Southern girl.  And I love my Southern rock.  Give me the Allman Brothers, the Georgia Satellites, the Zac Brown Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, and the Eagles and I’m a happy girl.

But Lynyrd Skynyrd holds a special place in my heart.  Way back in the Stone Age, in high school, I was a member of the Varsity Chorus and the Show Choir.  Oh, yeah, I was a huge dork.  And I loved nothing better than to arrive at chorus early.  Because there was a trio of guys who’d commandeer the piano and play Freebird until the teacher made them stop.  It was the best and I can’t hear the song without traveling back in time.

Today’s Saturday Night Serenade comes by request from Mr. R.  We’ve had a crazy kind of week that ended with his being bought out of the remainder of his work contract to the tune of five months.  So he has five months of being paid every two weeks without the bother of having to show up for work.  Five months to find the next thing.  As he puts it, he’s free as a bird now.  Happy Saturday night!

Frugal Date Day

wpid-20150919_123636.jpgYesterday after running a few errands (one of which nearly resulting in our acquiring two new dogs–sheesh!), Mr. R. and I went for a nice walk on the beach.  After an unusually rainy week, Saturday was absolutely gorgeous.  We found a perfect place to park along A1A in Jupiter, left our shoes in the truck, and waited for a group of tourists to leave the boardwalk beach access so I could take this picture.

Had they not been super annoying, they would have been a riot.  The older woman of the group helpfully informed the others of the shower that was stationed on the sidewalk just down the steps of the boardwalk.  “Now the top is a shower and the bottom jet is for feet ONLY.”  Yeah, thanks Captain Obvious.  We giggled about that all day.

wpid-20150919_124204.jpgMr. R. and I strolled north toward the Jupiter Reef Club, walking along the edge of the surf, collecting a few rocks along the way.  He found this one shaped like a heart and sweetly consented to pose for a cheesy lovey-dovey picture.  I can’t help it, really.  Somewhere along this stretch (and we can never recall exactly where) is the place where some years ago he dropped to one knee and proposed.

wpid-20150919_132012-1.jpgAfter our walk, we drove the F-150 a few miles up the road to the Jupiter Inlet, where surprisingly for such a beautiful day, we found a perfect place to park.  We walked along the jetty nearly to the end as we watched boats zipping in and out of the inlet.  It was so nice to sit on the seawall enjoying the sun and the water, seeing the silver flashes of tons of fish that were darting around just off the rocks.

wpid-20150919_133839-1.jpgIt had been a while since we’d been to the inlet and yesterday we saw the memorial sign someone put up in honor of two young teenage boys who went out fishing one day this summer and never returned.  The sign with all the gifts people have left is a sad reminder of such a tragic loss.

Mr. R. and I left the Jupiter Inlet and ended up making a run for the border, having lunch at a nearby Taco Bell.  It was pleasantly uncrowded and we really enjoyed ourselves.

So what did we learn?

  • A date doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.  As long as we enjoy each other’s company and take the time to make us a priority, we don’t have to spend tons of money.
  • When A Second Chance Dog & Cat Rescue is having an adoption event at the pet store, don’t go there!
  • Be sure to tell those you love that you do, and hug them every chance you get.  You never know which time will be the last time.
  • Don’t be that obnoxious know-it-all tourist who ruins everything for everybody.
  • Taco Bell’s new burrito with the Fritos in it is pretty darn tasty.

Saturday Night Serenade–Message In A Bottle

wpid-20150919_123636.jpg
Jupiter Beach September 19, 2015

Mr. R. and I spent some time at the beach today.  We just took a walk, we didn’t swim or hang out for too long, but it was a beautiful day.  More on that later.

But I’ve had Message in a Bottle by The Police as an ear worm for a while.  Maybe posting it for Saturday Night Serenade will exorcise it.  On the other hand, there are worse songs to have stuck in your head.

Hopefully you spent the day with the one(s) you love doing the things you love to do.  Here’s wishing you a lovely rest of your weekend and a happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Nothing But A Good Time

Confession: Back in the day (and even now) the band Poison was/is a guilty pleasure.  You know they’re not good.  It’s not what you’d call quality music.  But still…  They’re awesome.

A few years back, Mr. R. and I had the chance to see them at our local amphitheatre, which I’ll always call Coral Sky, the original name, regardless of which brand of liquor is sponsoring the naming rights this week.  Poison was appearing with some other band from the same era, probably Winger or somebody.  Anyway, they could have simply phoned it in, we’d all have been happy, if only for the nostalgia factor.

Except that they didn’t.  They came out and kicked ass.  Apparently they never got the memo that they were a joke, a slight footnote in the 80s hair band portion of pop culture.  I’m telling you now, if you ever get the chance, absolutely go see Poison in concert.  Because on a Saturday night, we don’t need nothing but a good time.  Happy Saturday Night!