Another day of familial fun. I met up with my brothers, niece and dad yesterday morning, and we went to brunch at my dad's ex-wife's condo on the golf course (they are very cordial with each other, just not married any longer). Shirley's mother, who is 90, was also there. She's a really nice lady as well, and fortunately seems very functional for that age. Shirley was having her kitchen remodeled, so while the workmen were in there, we were out on the lanai. It was a perfect fall day in Florida: Sunny, hardly a cloud in the sky, temperature in the low 80s, light breeze. We had a nice brunch, the occasional chemical tang of adhesives in the air notwithstanding.
We had decided to go to Sanibel so that that Rachel and the brothers could look for seashells. Sanibel Island and adjacent Captiva Island are among the best places for shelling in the world, due to the hook shape of the islands that catches shells washing in from the Gulf of Mexico on the tides. We had to make a couple of stops on the way, getting a book at Barnes & Noble that Rachel needed for school, and then hitting the nearby Target store so that Bro' Karl could get a hat. Karl also stocked up on Willy Wonka Bottle Caps candy, which he told us he couldn't find in New York. I was amazed!
"You can find Chinese takeout at 3 a.m. in New York, but you can't find Bottle Caps? Hell, you could probably find Vietnamese takeout at 3 a.m. ... Or Laotian, or Hmong... But no Bottle Caps?" I asked. But apparently, that's the case.
We had a good time laughing at some of the ugly hats in the men's wear section. There was one hideous hat that looked like it was made from recycled scraps from three or four different plaid suits. I told Karl that we could probably find him a World Champion Boston Red Sox cap, but for some reason, he was cool to the idea. I pointed out a gray porkpie hat that looked pretty cool, but in the end, he settled for a brown pinstriped fedora-looking hat.
Also at Target, I saw some Jones Soda, the brand I wrote about the other day. Among the flavors I saw were Candy Cane, Gingerbread Man and Christmas Soda. I also saw a boxed four-pack of pie flavors, including Lemon Meringue Pie soda. I wasn't curious enough to buy them yesterday; perhaps another time, so I can review them here.
Finally, we headed for Sanibel, and spent about an hour on the beach. The weather was perfect. As we drove across the bridge, Rachel got a call from one of her friends in Kansas City, who told her it was snowing there. "And not that wussy snow that doesn't even stick, REALLY snowing!" Rachel tried not to gloat too loudly as she told her friend that it was 86 degrees and sunny here in Florida. When we got to the beach, I soaked up the sun while the rest of the group went looking for shells. They found a few nice ones.
After our beach excursion, we drove back to the mainland and met my dad for a late lunch at Smoky Bones. The food was excellent, as usual. Bro' Kurt, who is from Kansas City, a barbecue haven, paid them a high compliment by noting the the baby back ribs were the best he'd ever had. I had the combo platter with the St. Louis-style ribs and pulled pork, with cole slaw and fries, washed down with a Samuel Adams Winter Lager. Mmmmmmm!
At that point, I was done for the day. It was almost 5:00 p.m. and I'd been up for 20 hours (I worked Tuesday night), so I headed for home and slept the sleep of the blessed... Or the dead... Or the blessedly dead. Take your pick.
Today, it's turkey dinner at Dad's in the early afternoon, and work tonight, then the weekend begins. I have a lot to be thankful for, including a great family and some great friends. For all of my readers, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving Day.