This blog reflects the good fortune I have in my life experiences.
The glass is more than half full you know, you Counters out there just have to be ready to Celebrate Life.
You might want to freshen up that cold drink. I'm certainly not going anywhere.
I moved to Sl-Ocala in May, 2003. In late summer of that year, my 'little sister', Carri, who was the Director of Special Events for the Collier Building Industry Association, asked me to come down to FantasyLand and be a Judge for the Sand Dollar Awards. 'Sand Dollar' was, then, a huge annual event in the industry. Builders and Communities would enter their projects and the awards ceremony was usually held at the Ritz Carlton there in Naples. Definitely a must attend, black tie, over 700 attendee ceremony, and that party thrown by Carri was always sold out.
Incidentally, in Sl-Ocala, they hold the Cattle Baron's Ball. I attended one year with my, at the time, girlfriend. Tuxedo jacket, tuxedo shirt, French cuffs, bowtie, blue jeans and cowboy boots. The only time I wore those, now under my bed, cowboy boots.
Anyway, of course, I was honored to be asked to judge and drove on down to help determine the winner of those spectacular participants.
And am I glad I did.
One of my fellow judges was Angela Amadore from Orlando. She and I hit it off famously. She is married to a, then, mortgage broker and works for an Orlando ad agency.
So, as I mentioned, she is Orlando based, and when it came up that I lived in Sl-Ocala, just an 80 minute drive away, she placed me on her "must invite" list as well as her "must fix up" list. The wonderful woman I attended that Cattle Baron's Ball with was one of Angela's "fix up" with this olelongrooffan.
So, I have attended many, many memorable parties, and spent many nights, at Casa Amadore down there in Baldwin Park, built on an old Air Force base smack in the middle of MickeyMouseLand, quite near Winter Park. The "No Alcohol" sign I got in this post was at an outdoor jazz concert I attended with that bunch.
Well Counters, in case you hadn't noticed, the housing industry tanked over the past couple years and lots of us have lost our primary means of income. Angela, thankfully, is still employed in the advertising industry but most of her builder clients have cut back on their ad budgets, thusly, constricting Angela's income. Tony, like this olelongrooffan, lost his job but in his case it was when his firm was acquired by a large banking firm which, promptly, decided to get out of the home mortgage business.
So where does this leave Tony? Working on his not so rusty musical skills and publishing a CD of his excellent works.
At one of the parties I attended at Casa Amadore, Tony and two of his Atlanta based buddies performed for us all evening long in that three car, couch bearing, it's okay to smoke in, garage they have down that way. An excellent evening of, literally, wine, women and song.
So, a few weeks ago I received an email requesting my, along with many others, presence at a folk music recital in which Tony would be performing. I immediately RSVP'ed in the affirmative and then a week or so later, this happened.
So, after meeting with Johnny Law several times on that event filled trip home, I forwarded Angela's email to Kris to see if she might be interested in meeting up with this olelongrooffan to attend that recital and meet a bunch of cool folks. Kris agreed and on the designated evening, I booked on down I-4 to Kris's pad, got to meet one of her cool sisters-in-law and enjoyed a fine glass of wine with those beautiful women.
Debbie then headed off to enjoy dinner with her newly college bound daughter and Kris and I headed over to the recital.
I was going to do a blog about it at the time but, being the idiot that I am, I didn't record a video of Tony and only was able to record this grainy image of him on the stage.
But know, Counters, it was a blast. Three dudes on stage, each performing solo, singing songs demonstrating their own song writing abilities and the background of each song. My favorite was Tony's Facebook song. The lyrics had the entire audience of about 40 smirking and chuckling the whole time. And Kris and I noted, that at about age 50, we were the youngest in attendance at that old folk music recital. But, dang, it was fun.
During their first break, Tony saw me, came over and gave me a big hug. I introduced he and Kris and Tony mentioned another get together at Casa Amadore. We agreed to head on over after grabbing a bite to eat there in Baldwin Park.
Well, Kris and I headed over to check out restaurant row and were disappointed to find out that great little seafood place had gone out of business. Unfortunately, not an uncommon sight down in these parts.
The only places left were Chinese, hamburgers and Loos, an upscale Italian joint. Kris mentioned she had been in there for drinks and the menu was quite expensive. I commented that in places like that, I usually just get a couple appetizers. She stopped walking and mentions to me that sounded like a great idea. And into that upscale restaurant we went, just to see how cheap we could be.
When I opened the door for Kris and me to enter, the sound of delightful jazz music drifted out into the balmy night air, to welcome this jazz hungry duo. We bellied up to the bar and ordered a couple apps and took in the fine sound of that trio.
One of them was even vertically challenged!! Hot Dog!!
We never did make it over to Casa Amadore that evening but I am sure the occasion will arise again.
When that trio finished up at 11:00, we headed back to Kris's place and this olelongrooffan climbed in my oleragtop and had a Johnny Law free trip back to the Birthplace of Speed, because, if You Have Been Counting Along With Me, you will remember, she is just not that into me.
But, that is not the evening, although wonderful, this blogpost is about.
On Friday, I got a call from Kris.
"Hey Kris, whatca doing?"
"I'm BORED," was her response.
"Let's meet for dinner in Sanford at 6 for dinner. I know of a great place that I had eaten lunch with Jessica last year."
"Sounds wonderful to me."
Well, Kris had to, once again, be SuperMom and help one of her boys with an auto related issue and we postponed that dinner until Saturday afternoon.
And boy, am I glad we did.
I was running late and Kris called to check on my status and while we were talking, she mentioned having spotted a cool baby blue Mustang convertible and she commented it was probably a '65 or so. Just then she says there are two more old cars dating from the '30's.
Hot d*mn, I commented. I'll bet there is a car show in that old downtown area.
When I arrived near downtown Sanford, after having seen this relaxing sight,
I was stopped at a red light behind a sweet '57 Chevy Belair convertible. I put the oleragtop in park and walked up to the driver and inquired as to whether there is a show around. Yeah, he said, over in Riverside Park. Excellent!!
When I pulled down 1st street, I spotted a curbside parking space and there was Kris standing right there. Perfect timing.
As she had been there awhile, she had seen most of the sights but had saved the Gallery on First to enjoy with me. I visited it with Jessica last year but Kris had not been there previously.
We both enjoyed that visit and then set out for a cold beverage at the local brewhouse and cooled off for a bit.
Then Kris suggested we head over to that car show and, of course, even with free-flowing booze and an air conditioned environment, I was ready to hit it.
As we were walking down the sidewalk to get to that show, Kris commented on how large this half-masted flag was. I said it was so big I could use it as a car cover for the olestationbus.
Kris cracked up laughing and said she loved my creative mind. To bad that's all.
Anyways, we got to the show and I didn't realize that this was the first car show Kris had ever attended. Hot D*mn, a carshowvirgin.
I knew most every vehicle in attendance such as this 69 Lincoln Continental that Kris fell in love with.
And this represents the perfect storm of goodness. Beautiful woman, beautiful cars and beautiful yachts in the background.
I spotted this '72 Longroof on the rear of this,
to me at least, highly desirable Chevelle Concours longroof.
I got a shot of this "cafe racer" for thejeepjunkie and the Kid.
And this highly modified Ford 8N for thehorsefarmer and TheGentlemanFarmer.
This Imperial was huge and gorgeous, complete with push button transmission and rectangular steering wheel. Kris was amazed.
And some mid '50's GM trucks for the Bus.
There was a huge turnout for this event representing a wide spectrum of old cars I love.
I especially like this 75 Chevy Monza.
And, of course, the obligatory new Corvette.
We had seen the sights and as Kris and I were getting hungry we decided to head out and get a bite to eat but not at the mobile hot dog stand in the rear of this image.
We sat at the bar at that restaurant, had a cocktail, an app and shared a sea bass.
When I later stepped out to see a man about a smoke, I noticed in the antique shop across the breezeway where Jessica and I had eaten last year, there was a dude with a guitar singing and folks were inside that shop having cocktails, dinner and an all around good time. I asked one of the servers if it was a private party. No was his answer and I knew where Kris and I were going to have that after dinner drink.
I returned to that bar stool beside my beautiful friend and relayed this information. A bit later, someone sitting at the bar with us asked thebartenderdude if there was music next door. " Yes," a man standing at the bar getting a beer replied, "it is me." I asked him if he got free beers and he said yes but this was his last one. I told the bartender to put it on our tab. The music dude said thanks and I commented that we weren't going to tip him later.
Of course, that drew a hearty chuckle from all who heard it.
So, we retreated to that antique shop and sat at one of those $695 tables and enjoyed the rest of the evening. Kris even got thisoleman to dance and later got a shot of me on her new iPhone.
A good time was had by all and I can't wait to do it again.
I had another Johnny Law free trip back to the Birthplace of Speed and got to sleep around 1. Definitely worth the trip, that is for sure.
Thanks for a great time, Kris.
Oh, and in that band playing classic bluegrass in the breezeway? Yeah, one of the band members was vertically challenged.
And just noticing that helps me