Here's a picture from the wonderful little piece of nirvana nestled in Key Largo called Popp's, one of the oldest family owned motels in The Keys. Lying on a hammock for hours on end with the phone turned off, and talk of silly existential platitudes of two people that have been friends for twenty-seven years are entering middle age.
I asked the old hippie woman cleaning our room if I could put the wonderful sensation experienced at this well kept little nine-unit inn into a little bottle to unleash during the moments in my life when the walls are closing in, but she wasn't aware of anything. She gave me a big hug instead, and that worked. She told me "you have the memories in your heart, and that will last even longer."
We left the Conch Republic in good spirits to return to the mainland. It was sad, and my time in Florida is winding down.
We did make it to Key West for an evening, and like most things in life, it has changed. The grungy element that has gradually been cleansed - the element that had given it its character - and is not the Key West I remember. The hippies, gays, artists, are all replaced with retired fat men in Tommy Bahama shirts with their pencil-thin wives. Oh well, time marches on. I don't have much desire to return the Key West ever again, but I do look forward to returning to Popp's.