The Crone finds herself in Bonita Springs, FL, on the Gulf of Mexico. She is staying in the very lap of luxury–a hotel where they insist on giving her a glass of champagne every time she passes reception. The hotel has 3 outdoor pools although so far the Crone has found only two of them, possibly because the third is nowhere near reception. Last night the hotel hosted 3 weddings and a Bat Mitzvah and still managed to pay individual attention to every need of the Crone. A mojito. Some ceviche. The works of George Gershwin rendered by a singer and double bassist. (Check them out here) None of it was too much trouble.
This morning, the Crone ventured out into the environs of the Estero bay to discover that all around the luxury resorts are trailer parks. The super-rich and the staff who serve them live hugger mugger–talk about a service economy.
The area is famous for mangroves and manatees. The Crone saw neither but did bump into eccentrics at every turn.
Up bright and early to go to the Fleamarket (budgies, golf balls, shamwows, gold chains by the yard, knives, guns, fruit and vegetables, vintage t-shirts, a Doo-Wop band–although this last was not for sale), the Crone stopped at Dolly’s for breakfast and was quickly joined by an elderly gentleman: “You all by yourself honey? Mind if I sit down? These high seats are easier for me to get out of…” In Crone world this passes for a pick-up line. Her breakfast companion, a man of at least 75, then proceeded to tell the Crone that he had been on active service in Iraq but had had to come back to get his knees replaced 6 months ago. He went on to share that he was in the CIA (which surely they’re not supposed to mention?), that his son had worked for Tip O’Neill (ahhh, still sentient enough to work that old Irish connection…) and that his wife had died 8 years ago after winning $50,000 at a casino so she would leave him well off. “She spoke to God and he told her what machine to go to. She went straight to it and put in 4 quarters and won $50,000 dollars. ” His wife didn’t last long after that “An angel came and got her. She said she’d seen this angel and she got me to get all the kids together and then she sat her in seat and put out her arms and the angel came and took her. Now what do you think of that?” Truly the Crone didn’t know what to think. She told him to take care of himself when he went back to Iraq (“I’ll serve as long as they need me” ) and went on her way. And bumped right into Master Bait and Tackle, a fine emporium meeting all South West Florida’s fishing needs.
The owner came out to chat when he saw the Crone stop to take a photo. As you can see, he is very proud of his store. The Crone didn’t ask him what he says when he answers the phone…