Key West, a few scenes not usually seen in casual passings

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There is a post today at goodmorningbirmingham.com,

Zimmerman-Martinthe defendant and the victim many people tried to make the defendant

which you you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: an ex-lawyer’s conversations with a lay woman about the George Zimmerman trial while the jury deliberates

Meanwhile,

Conch RepublicConch Republic flag

this editorial below in the Key West Citizen today – www.keysnews.com – not only commemorates a valued and loved Key West resident and public servant, it also paints a picture of Key West its not-well-heeled residents know all too well:

Lou Hernandez is a true public servant

Lou Hernandez
Key West residents can attest to how expensive it is to live on and enjoy the pleasantries of the island.

Assuming you’re a young or middle-aged person without a large bank account or pension, there’s the rent bill to pay every month — if not the mortgage, taxes, insurance payments.

There’s the food bill. There are the expenses if you want to patronize the great restaurants.

There are miscellaneous expenses, which all residents can appreciate from their own experiences.

Provided you don’t leave the island, gasoline is probably the one affordable item, because you’re driving an automobile so few miles. Or you’re riding a bicycle.

Friends and acquaintances “up North” may think we’re just trying to keep them from overpopulating the Keys when we tell them that if they move to our paradise, they may be working two and three jobs to keep up.

Lou Hernandez first came to Key West in 1977. He says it was love at first sight. He made Key West his permanent home 30 years ago. Since then, he has given valuable service to its citizens, both as an elected official and as a social worker.

In the early 1990s, he worked as an HIV counselor for the Monroe County Health Department. Quietly and without fanfare, he devoted the past 18 years as CEO of the crisis call center Helpline.

Except for people in extreme need, working at Helpline was probably a near thankless job. In fact, much of the time, it was a one-person job. Unable to procure enough volunteers, the CEO himself spent countless “volunteer” hours manning the phone at the Poinciana Plaza office.

We’ll never know how many calls he answered, how many persons he directed to one or more of the 400 social agencies that could help the caller.

The Vietnam veteran has also served 15 years on the elected Utility Board, again never stirring controversy himself, although the board itself has, on occasion, been questioned for its decisions.

He is a valued Key West citizen.

A few weeks ago, he announced that he was giving up both positions, retiring as Helpline CEO at the end of June and not running for re-election to the Utility Board. His term will expire on Oct. 1.

Lou Hernandez is 70 years old, an age at which one might think he could just kick back and enjoy his retirement in Key West.

But, as he made his dual retirement announcement, he said that wouldn’t be so. You see, Lou Hernandez, public servant, says he can’t afford to live in Key West. He said his Social Security and his savings won’t allow it. He may instead do like a lot of people do. He’ll spend some time here, but the rest of the time somewhere in which he can better afford his chosen lifestyle.

“I thought I should be able to retire here,” he was quoted. Instead, he plans to travel this summer and said he is thinking about relocating to Mexico and renting out his house here.

We thank him for his service and wish him well. He has indeed been an excellent public servant.

His successor at Helpline, Kristen Wheeler, took over July 1. Public service is no surprise to her, either. The 41-year-old was most recently an administrator with the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys.

As we thank Hernandez as he leaves, we wish Wheeler success as she takes over her new job.

– The Citizen

————————————-

I am sorry to hear Lou is leaving Key West. I know he will be missed by many people.

I drove down to Key West yesterday to have lunch with some men who dine at Salute Ristorante on Higgs Beach each Friday. My snapper salad meal was excellent and almost more than I could eat – $20 plus tip. Not a meal someone living on Social Security often can afford.

During lunch, some of the men moaned about their age and aches and pains. I asked the oldest-looking one how old he was. 59. I said I’m 70 and I could write a book about all of my aches and pains.

Sloan at Smathers Beach2009 photo

Lou is retiring, maybe moving to Mexico, I am pretty sure he is fluent in Spanish. Nowhere close to retiring, based on what the angels tell me, I am a one-language American Anglo who has no other place to live. The lower Keys and Key West are about as south of the border as it’s gonna get for me.

When I have lived in Key West, mostly I got around by walking and bicycling. Sometimes when I lived in Key West, that was the only way I had to get around. Lots of people living in Key West do not have cars or trucks. They walk, ride bicycles or motor scooters, or buses.

Key West ariel 2

A 4-mile long, 2-mile wide island, which is stretching it in places. Key West has pretty good city bus service. It has a free homeless shelter,

KOTS

with a new bigger more amenities homeless shelter in the making on the city’s side of Stock Island, the next key up US 1. It has a soup kitchen

St. Mary's soup kitchen

which serves a full meal, with seconds and even thirds, at 4 p.m. each day.

I have stayed  in the homeless shelter, and in homeless residence recovery shelters in Key West. I have eaten hundreds of meals in the soup kitchen. Anyone can get by in Key West, but getting by doesn’t bring comfort. It just brings getting by.

It’s still hard for me to  contrast that I started out in Key West in late 2000 sleeping in doorways on Southard and Fleming Streets with Todd German

Todd

saying yesterday at Salute that my websites are the most widely-read websites in the Keys.

Another man asked me how many people read my websites? I said I don’t know, I don’t keep up with it, and it doesn’t matter, I have no advertisers and I have to publish regardless. He said he could make it so I could see where all of my hits come from locally and globally, and how many hits. I said I would think about it.

I thought about it. That would be interesting information to know, but I have to publish every day regardless, so what does it matter how many people read it, or where they are? I don’t think I am nearly as widely-read in the Keys as Todd suggested, based on the relatively small amount of written feedback I receive to what I publish. But, as I told the other fellow yesterday, I don’t know how many people read what I write.

Perhaps all set up by this poem, which fell out of me in 2001, as I recall.

mockingbird.jpg

I happened upon a mockingbird

singing its fool head off.

I asked it how and why it sang,

but all it did was look ahead,

all it did was sing.

It never turned to see if I was watching,

or listened for money jingling in my pockets,

or asked if I liked its music,

or expected a recording contract.

It was too busy singing

to pay any attention to me.

—————————

Like my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, Key West abounds with mockingbirds.

Yesterday, I submitted two poems to the Key West poetry on sidewalk contest:

————————–

no-fig-leaf.jpg

There are no fig leaves in Paradise,

nor any secrets.

————————–

homeless apprenension

Key West,

where people accused of being weirdos some place else

can come mingle with real weirdos.

————————-

writing-quill.jpg

My poems just fall out of me. They aren’t there, then they are going onto paper, or sometimes onto my laptop monitor, and occasionally I just say them and never write them down.

From this week’s Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com:

SPECIAL EVENTS

Key West Art In Public Places Call to Writers

BY ARTS EDITOR

Your_Poem_Here_Low_Resjpg

Key West Art in Public Places seeks original poems, prose, lyrics and haiku to be immortalized on the sidewalks of Key West.

The AiPP Board invites writers from throughout the Florida Keys to submit original short works for the Key West Sidewalk Poetry Project 2013, a competition that will result in 10 selected poems, along with the author’s name, permanently stamped into sidewalks throughout the Southernmost City.

All literary forms will be considered as long as they comply with the formatting guidelines. Submissions will be accepted Friday, July 12 through Friday, August 23. Entry fee is $ 10 and each writer may submit up to two entries.

Winning entries will receive a $ 100 prize per selected poem. A link to the contest submission form, including the Writers Submission Agreement and Guidelines is available atartinpublicplaceskw.com.

———————

Another poem I thought about submitting, the limit was two poems …

fools-rush-in_thumbnail

Only fools rush in

where angels fear to tread,

but if there were no fools,

who’d lead the angels?

Jesus with leper

The most famous homeless person of all, I imagine.

Depress ctrl and + keys together to increase zoom/font size; depress ctrl and – keys together to reduce

There is a post today at goodmorningbirmingham.com,

Zimmerman-Martinthe defendant and the victim many people tried to make the defendant

which you you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: an ex-lawyer’s conversations with a lay woman about the George Zimmerman trial while the jury deliberates

This editorial below in the Key West Citizen today - www.keysnews.com - not only commemorates a valued and loved Key West resident and public servant, it also paints a picture of Key West its not-well-heeled residents know all too well:

Lou Hernandez is a true public servant

Lou Hernandez
Key West residents can attest to how expensive it is to live on and enjoy the pleasantries of the island.

Assuming you’re a young or middle-aged person without a large bank account or pension, there’s the rent bill to pay every month — if not the mortgage, taxes, insurance payments.

There’s the food bill. There are the expenses if you want to patronize the great restaurants.

There are miscellaneous expenses, which all residents can appreciate from their own experiences.

Provided you don’t leave the island, gasoline is probably the one affordable item, because you’re driving an automobile so few miles. Or you’re riding a bicycle.

Friends and acquaintances “up North” may think we’re just trying to keep them from overpopulating the Keys when we tell them that if they move to our paradise, they may be working two and three jobs to keep up.

Lou Hernandez first came to Key West in 1977. He says it was love at first sight. He made Key West his permanent home 30 years ago. Since then, he has given valuable service to its citizens, both as an elected official and as a social worker.

In the early 1990s, he worked as an HIV counselor for the Monroe County Health Department. Quietly and without fanfare, he devoted the past 18 years as CEO of the crisis call center Helpline.

Except for people in extreme need, working at Helpline was probably a near thankless job. In fact, much of the time, it was a one-person job. Unable to procure enough volunteers, the CEO himself spent countless “volunteer” hours manning the phone at the Poinciana Plaza office.

We’ll never know how many calls he answered, how many persons he directed to one or more of the 400 social agencies that could help the caller.

The Vietnam veteran has also served 15 years on the elected Utility Board, again never stirring controversy himself, although the board itself has, on occasion, been questioned for its decisions.

He is a valued Key West citizen.

A few weeks ago, he announced that he was giving up both positions, retiring as Helpline CEO at the end of June and not running for re-election to the Utility Board. His term will expire on Oct. 1.

Lou Hernandez is 70 years old, an age at which one might think he could just kick back and enjoy his retirement in Key West.

But, as he made his dual retirement announcement, he said that wouldn’t be so. You see, Lou Hernandez, public servant, says he can’t afford to live in Key West. He said his Social Security and his savings won’t allow it. He may instead do like a lot of people do. He’ll spend some time here, but the rest of the time somewhere in which he can better afford his chosen lifestyle.

“I thought I should be able to retire here,” he was quoted. Instead, he plans to travel this summer and said he is thinking about relocating to Mexico and renting out his house here.

We thank him for his service and wish him well. He has indeed been an excellent public servant.

His successor at Helpline, Kristen Wheeler, took over July 1. Public service is no surprise to her, either. The 41-year-old was most recently an administrator with the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys.

As we thank Hernandez as he leaves, we wish Wheeler success as she takes over her new job.

– The Citizen

————————————-

I am sorry to hear Lou is leaving Key West. I know he will be missed my many people.

I drove down to Key West yesterday to have lunch with some men who dine at Salute Ristorante on Higgs Beach each Friday. My snapper salad meal was excellent and almost more than I could eat – $20 plus tip. Not a meal someone living on Social Security often can afford.

During lunch, some of the men moaned about their age and aches and pains. I asked the oldest-looking one how old he was. 59. I said I’m 70 and I could write a book about all of my aches and pains.

Sloan at Smathers Beach2009 photo

Lou is retiring, maybe moving to Mexico, I am pretty sure he is fluent in Spanish. Nowhere close to retiring based on what the angels tell me, I am a one-language American Anglo who has no other place to live. The lower Keys and Key West are about as south of the border as it’s gonna get for me.

When I have lived in Key West, mostly I got around by walking and bicycling. Sometimes when I lived in Key West, that was the only way I had to get around. Lots of people living in Key West do not have cars or trucks. They walk, ride bicycles or motor scooters, or buses.

Key West ariel 2

A 4-mile long, 2-mile wide island, which is stretching it in places, Key West has pretty good city bus service. It has a free homeless shelter,

KOTS

with a new bigger more amenities homeless shelter in the making on the city’s side of Stock Island, the next key up US 1. It has a soup kitchen

St. Mary's soup kitchen

which serves a full meal, with seconds and even thirds, at 4 p.m. each day.

I have stayed  in the homeless shelter, and in homeless residence recovery shelters in Key West. I have eaten hundreds of meals in the soup kitchen. Anyone can get by in Key West, but getting by doesn’t bring comfort. It just brings getting by.

It’s still hard for me to  contrast that I started out in Key West in late 2000 sleeping in doorways on Southard and Fleming Streets with Todd German

Todd

saying yesterday at Salute that my websites are the most widely-read websites in the Keys.

Another man asked me how many people read my websites? I said I don’t know, I don’t keep up with it, and it doesn’t matter, I have no advertisers and I have to publish regardless. He said he could make it so I could see where all of my hits come from locally and globally, and how many hits. I said I would think about it.

I thought about it. That would be interesting information to know, but I have to publish every day regardless, so what does it matter how many people read it, or where they are? I don’t think I am nearly as widely-read in the Keys as Todd suggested, based on the relatively small amount of written feedback I receive to what I publish. But, as I told the other fellow yesterday, I don’t know how many people read what I write.

Perhaps all set up by this poem, which fell out of me in 2001, as I recall.

mockingbird.jpg

I happened upon a mockingbird

singing its fool head off.

I asked it how and why it sang,

but all it did was look ahead,

all it did was sing.

It never turned to see if I was watching,

or listened for money jingling in my pockets,

or asked if I liked its music,

or expected a recording contract.

It was too busy singing

to pay any attention to me.

—————————

Like my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, Key West abounds with mockingbirds.

Yesterday, I submitted two poems to the Key West poetry on sidewalk contest:

————————–

no-fig-leaf.jpg

There are no fig leaves in Paradise,

nor any secrets.

————————–

homeless apprenension

Key West,

where people accused of being weirdos some place else

can come mingle with real weirdos.

————————-

writing-quill.jpg

My poems just fall out of me. They aren’t there, then they are going onto paper, or sometimes onto my laptop monitor, and occasionally I just say them and never write them down.

From this week’s Key West the Newspaper - www.thebluepaper.com:

SPECIAL EVENTS

Key West Art In Public Places Call to Writers

BY ARTS EDITOR

Your_Poem_Here_Low_Resjpg

Key West Art in Public Places seeks original poems, prose, lyrics and haiku to be immortalized on the sidewalks of Key West.

The AiPP Board invites writers from throughout the Florida Keys to submit original short works for the Key West Sidewalk Poetry Project 2013, a competition that will result in 10 selected poems, along with the author’s name, permanently stamped into sidewalks throughout the Southernmost City.

All literary forms will be considered as long as they comply with the formatting guidelines. Submissions will be accepted Friday, July 12 through Friday, August 23. Entry fee is $ 10 and each writer may submit up to two entries.

Winning entries will receive a $ 100 prize per selected poem. A link to the contest submission form, including the Writers Submission Agreement and Guidelines is available atartinpublicplaceskw.com.

———————

Another poem I thought about submitting, the limit was two poems …

fools-rush-in_thumbnail

Only fools rush in

where angels fear to tread,

but if there were no fools,

who’d lead the angels?

Jesus with leper

The most famous homeless person of all, I imagine.

I sometimes used to see a homeless man in Key West named “Brain Dead” – that was tattooed on his forehead – who hung out with a homeless man named “Lefty” – he had no left arm. I never heard how Lefty lost his arm, but I heard from two people who knew Brain Dead how he came by his name.

Once upon a time, before he was Brain Dead, he lived in Southern California where he ran errands for the Hells Angels. He was not a member of the gang, more like a mascot, I suppose.

Well, it happened the Agnels got behind paying him for errands he had run for them, and he got in a dither and loaded his shotgun and marched into the angels’ meeting hall waving and pointing the shotgun and threatening to blow them all away because they had not paid him.

Well, the Angels all laughed and thought that was wonderful sport! They told him not to worry, they were going to pay him. Meanwhile, how about a beer? Sure. How about another beer? Sure. How about another beer? Sure. On and on until he passed out.

He awoke the next morning with “Brain Dead” tattooed on his forehead.

crazy

Sloan Bashinsky

keysmyhome@hotmail.com

Sloan Bashinsky

keysmyhome@hotmail.com

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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