As February comes to a close, the last few weeks have been exhausting.

Fun, but exhausting.

After Matt and Pam’s visit, we celebrated my birthday

Guys on the Beach -- same day Feb 22

Jeff and Suzanne - from Indiana

Bucks & John watch Daisy pursue the ball! Feb 22

(and the facebook shenanigans – I’m seriously considering dropping my facebook account altogether as I now am getting unsolicited texts on my cell phone and the ONLY source of that is Facebook – not a good vibe).

We also put up the blue shade tent


my brother and sister-in-law so kindly presented to us at Christmas, which gives us shelter from drizzle, tree droppings and sun  – plus it makes the outdoor table more cozy.

Socially, you can be very busy in this town. They have modest fundraisers for many good causes.  Valentines Dance was a fundraiser for the Lion’s Club food bank, I think. The local consignment shop is hosting a fundraiser Style Show in March to benefit the school.

So midweek, we attended the SUMMER CHILDREN’S ART CLASS fundraiser – catered by the ISLAND ROOM (Yum) and held in the art gallery /workshop area above the Cedar Key Art Coop


Benefit - Cedar Key Style!

Unlike the hotsy-totsy overpriced events in Bucks County – these are warm, cozy, homespun and friendly. You can sit down with strangers and get up with new friends.

We met some new friends (Russ and Debbie)

Deb - fiber artist, and Mike - retired sports writer

Russ -- artist - creating portraits on the table paper

at the EAGLE CLUB – a private drinking club – where we had a warm martini with one, pinky nail sized olive.  OK, not so good, but it was only $3bucks and the beer’s $1 dollar. So we’ll teach them how to make our Martini’s!

Then we walked around the corner to the dinner where I met up with a woman I briefly met in early January. Bev – a retired emergency room physician, who spends 6 months in Cedar Key with her semi-retired researching physician husband, and the other 6 months in Oregon.  I really liked her on our first encounter and was so pleased to see her there. As circumstances worked out, we sat next to each other at one of the long tables and met their visiting friends.

Barb and husband/sportswriter Mike from Kansas City

Bev and Husband, Mike - Oregon Physicians

Barb is her longtime college or HS friend and her husband Mike who is a recently retired sports writer from Kansas City. It made for interesting conversation.  Before and after the meal, Russ drew on the brown table paper with supplied crayons and made a great caricature of the Sports Writer Mike, whose wife loved it and ripped the paper to take it home.

Raffle Prizes

And we won two of the raffle prizes — two of the same prize – a cement cast mosaic.

And the winner is!


Jean - 92 - my art therapy buddy

And we were home by 9 — all good.

Shari and John in her garden

Shari's Mosaic Pots

Then on Thursday, we were hosted to a lovely dinner at Shari’s garden – a local artist.  She is preparing her garden for the April Art Festival and it was lovely to see some of her work

Sharis stained glass

and the conversation kept us sitting outside despite the increasing drizzle.

Raw Oysters with Greg!

John and Greg mug for the camera


Greg is quite the skilled firetender

Then on Friday, my old friend Greg Andriate arrived – we haven’t seen each other for decades!  He made margaritas and we cooked up a storm that night — oysters, clams, pasta.

Shari's organic parsley - marvelous!


The pics clearly tell we felt no pain that night.!

Captain Gerald Beckham

Then on Saturday we went fishing with Captain Gerald Beckham.


He asked us to meet him at the main doc at 10 — we got underway around 10:30 am and he drove around the back bay to get out to the islands along the coast — he chose to go that way because the waters were a bit choppy and had he gone around the island from the gulf side, we’d have gotten wet.  Well, I wondered about the time we went out – because high tide was at 3:30.  And as it turned out, we couldn’t get out until about 11:30 — we had to wait for the tide to fill up enough to get over one particular sand spit. (I’ve got video on this!) But when I asked, Gerald explained to me that fishing is best on an incoming tide.  The Fish are hungry and looking for new food sources to come in with the tide. Oh, OK.

Greg and John Fishing the Holes

So he took us to all his spots – really wonderful spots – and I, personally, had a great day, catching redfish, whiting, catfish, stingray and trout.  Only one redfish and two whiting were keepers – but the best part was the catch.  I really listened to Gerald – and finally learned the technique for fishing these waters.  You cast and let it lie –waiting for a bump or two before your line begins to move (fish taking away the bait).

Simple Skiff - Extraordinary Fun

That’s when you snap up the line, setting the hook, and reel them in!  It felt good.

There is also a technique in baiting the hook, curling the shrimp around, tucking up the tail – which is what they do in the wild. Gerald told us that when you learn how to do it right, you become a master baiter (ahem)

I didn’t realize fish can smell the bait – that’s what attracts them, not the motion. At least for this group of fish.

As the day ends

Sea Bass, I believe, is a different technique altogether!  And shark – well, I don’t think I want to know that one.

8 hours on the boat

After a great day fishing, right until sunset, Gerald filleted our catches and met us back at the house for a drink.

Of course our neighbor Martin came over – solo, as Lonna stayed home to prep the house for a big week this week (more later)

And we fired up the grill for steaks and such.

Sunday morning, Greg and I had a chance to catch up over breakfast and then he left, returning home to Palm Coast.

But in the middle of all that fun, we got an email from Dan Lemanski, John’s dear friend from Chicago, who told us they would be in the area on Monday or Tuesday and could they stop by!


Dan at the Shell Mound Overlook

Dan and Carol Lemanski at the diner

So on Monday morning I cleaned up the house while John went to Chiefland for his Physical Therapy and I cooked up a fish soup with all our smoked clams and left over oysters and whiting and redfish (which we grilled, skin side down – called “redfish on the half shell”)

DAN and CAROL arrived around 9pm on Monday  and left around noon on Tuesday.

Buddies - John and Dan at Shell Mound

View from the Shellmound

We had

Shellmounds walk to dock

breakfast at the diner, toured the town and showed them Shell Mounds before they had to go – returning to Chicago.

So now it is Wed — and the busy week is not yet over.

Tomorrow – Thursday, March 1 – we are going to Gainsville for a follow up Dr. appt for John’s back and then to MARTIN and LONNAs, with the dogs, where we will be staying to attend the WILD GAME FEAST that Martin is in charge of – it’s a charity event – and features Water Buffalo, Alligator, Frogs Legs and many more things for 2000 people.  Should be a lot of eye candy!

All this whirlwind has put me in a mind of looking forward to our last month with relative quietude.

I realize how whipped up one can get in the excitement of it all – but I would like to have some space and time to noodle creatively – so I’m going to slow down socially in March – to read, to go to yoga class, to go to knitting club, to bead, to outline my creative writing, to allow time for nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I know, I know,  I can already hear some of you saying –  “Good luck with that”

But I’m going to try my darndest to do so.  Happy March!  xo  Laura

PS: Happy “5th” anniversary (leap year wedding) to John and Lisa Hahn!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi

    I think I recognize Dan Lemanski from a long time ago – was he a professor at Norther Illinois University? If so, could you please connect me to him? Many thanks. Rajeev


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