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Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Day of the Dead

     We celebrated this week's Mexican holiday, "Dia de los Muertos", at my West Kendall school. 

  Each of my 700 students made and decorated paper masks for the November 1 holiday, the one that explores the spiritual connection between the living and the dead.

      My kids were very excited because the special day is a central theme in the new animated kid's movie, "The Book of Life".

       Some of my kids celebrate the DOTD as well with their families.  The students told me they visit the graves of loved ones or offer toasts to the departed.  
     I asked, "Do any of you dress up like skeletons
on the Day of the Dead (as kids often do in Mexico)?".  "No", was their usual replay, "That would be too weird".

W I S H I N G  Y O U  a Happy Halloween, Felice Dia de Los Muertos and a blessed All Saints Day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


    While I'm not an old geezer I may become one when the generation preceding me is gone. They've been "going" a lot lately.
   Francesca lost the last of her parent's age group when "Tia Pacquita" died at 96 last week.
 2012 in Caracas

   There have been some amazing old folks in that gang. Uncle John Violich -who died at 106 five years ago- survived the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.  

     I got to meet her mother's sister ("Tia Paquita") in Caracas two years ago.  She was a sweet wisp of a woman who loved growing bonzai trees.
  Thank God for Joe Besse. My mother's favorite cousin, who loves to grow corn, is winding up his 92d year on the family farm in western Illinois.
  Terry kids on the Besse farm,1954
   We got a phone message from Joe last week telling us that cousin Jim Hawk had died at 86. His great uncles, "the Hawk bothers", fought  in the civil war. Both died; one from disease and the other after taking a bullet in the Battle of Chickamauga.
    Now Joe is the last of his group on my side of the family.  With the Reaper standing so close we decided to call him last night. Cousin Joe sounded comfortable at home watching the World Series.  We talked about Jim ("They say he died quietly, sittin' in a chair"), his family, and the price farmers are being paid for their corn (too low!). 
   We also learned Joe had suffered still another loss.  For once he failed to win the top prize in his community's shuffleboard tournament.
   "I had it goin' until in the last frame" He said adding with a chuckle, "I guess you have to share the glory every now and then". 
I hope he shares it for years to come. I'm too young to be an old geezer.

Sunday, October 19, 2014



     A Coconut Grove waterfront estate just went on the market for $65 million.  Francesca and I purchased a piece of South Florida shoreline yesterday for forty bucks.  We only "owned" our campsite on Long Key for twenty-four hours but its all I needed to conduct my camper survey.
     It became obvious that temporary beach dwellers fell into two groups, the "haves" and the "have nots".
    Paradoxically, the "have-nots" had the most money.  They use it to buy huge motor homes which they rarely came out of.   At night the faint glow of television light danced against their drawn curtains.  The big boxes' air conditioners hummed all night blocking a cool, romantic ocean breeze. 
The "haves" pitched tents, were brushed by the wind and watched a brilliant Milky Way drifting through a moonless sky.

My wife and I were somewhere in between. We bunked in our camper van.


  cooked over a fire, 

fell asleep listening to breaking waves,
and woke up to the greatest show on earth,


                                          Sometimes less is more.




Seen while passing thorough Homestead Florida this afternoon,

Scooter Gypsy managed to transport a bedroll, knapsack, groceries, a large dog cage (with dog), two cat cages (similarly occupied) and a guitar.

Friday, October 10, 2014


      What would you like Coconut Grove to be sixteen years from now? And what must we do to get us there? A group of 100 people will tackle those questions next month. You could be one of them.
       "Grove 2030" will be an intensive four-hour "strategic visioning workshop" that will take place on Saturday, November 1, at the Ransom Everglades School on Main Highway.  Led by University of Miami architecture professor Joanna Lombard, participants will engage in small group exercises that will allow them to define the “Coconut Grove of their hopes and dreams in the year 2030.”
      The event is sponsored by the Coconut Grove Village Council. Space is limited. 
    "We're looking for a diverse group of talented, local citizenry and Grove stakeholders," said organizer David Villano. The workshop is free and you can offer to participate. 
    I've signed on and you can too. Just e-mail and tell them why you’d like to take part in this unique, Grove-y event.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

GREAT GROVE CONCERT This Sunday, Iko-Iko at The Barnacle

      We're having an outstanding event in Coconut Grove this Sunday.   Three days of Woodstock will be compressed into three fun-filled hours at the Grove's first "love-in" in forty years.
It'll be happening at our prettiest place, the Barnacle State Park on Biscayne Bay (across from the Playhouse).  South Florida's premiere blues band, Iko-Iko will entertain as we make merry on the lawn.
    Gates open at 5:30.  Throw out a blanket and enjoy a bayside picnic.  The music begins at 6:30. 
Ten bucks gets you in.  Kids are less.
     All hippies, hippie wannbes, and people who just enjoy smiling like hippies are welcome.

 The Barnacle Under Moonlight Concert: Iko-Iko

Thursday, October 2, 2014



  We've been facinated by Miami artists, Edwin Villasmil and Elba Martinez, since seeing their 2008 series,
 "The Thoughts and Dreams of Marjory Stoneman Douglas".  

Their bold, black and white patterns are mesmerizing.
      The couple's latest production, "The Imanginary Beings" is now being exhibited at the main library downtown.  You can even go there on Saturday and create your own imaginary being at a free workshop.
  Let Ed and Elba show you how.



      The Grove-based Alhambra Orchestra will be performing on Sunday, October 5, in the Ransom Auditorium,  3575 Main Highway. 
          The program, which begins at 7:30 pm, is called "Discovering America".  Works by our own country's composers (Copeland, Bernstein, etc.) will be featured.   
     These concerts are free and a lot of fun.  If classical music isn't your thing go anyway.  With the seats are comfortable, the lights low and the music soothing,  you might get some much needed rest.