Watered-Down Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch water for 1993 flood 11-08-2015I’m a disgrace to my German heritage. I have to confess I went years not liking the taste of beer. Then, one hot summer, Brother-in-Law John Perry came down to Florida to help us re-roof the house.

Well, to be more accurate, he did most of the work when he wasn’t answering dumb questions from The Boys and me. (Sample: “These nails have the heads on the wrong end.” “Just put them back in your pouch and use them on the other side of the roof.”)

At the end of the day, I took a shine to the Bud Light I was quaffing with John. Nowadays, I usually have a bottle with dinner at least three nights a week.

My friends make fun of me for drinking Bud Light, but I counter by saying, “I’m not really crazy about beer, and Bud Light is the closest thing you can get to Not Beer that still has a little of the taste of beer.

In 1993, the folks at Anheuser-Busch came up with something that might be a little light even for my taste. They switched over one of their lines in Ft. Collins, Colorado, to produce cans of drinking water for folks fighting the Flood of 1993.

Use by 10/15/1993

Anheuser-Busch water for 1993 flood 11-08-2015Wife Lila and Foodie Road Warriorette Jan are always giving me grief about how long I keep food past the theoretical expiration date. I wonder if they’d object if I cracked the can and took a swig of 1993 water? The can’s full and shows no signs of leakage.

Canned water outlasted Dutchtown

Dutchtown buyout demolition 10-18-2015Ronald Kucera Jr. of Kucera Demolition reduces a Dutchtown house to landfill material. Eleven of 15 houses eligible for a buyout have been marked for demolition after residents got tired of more and more frequent “100-year” floods.

Not-so-fond memories

93 Dutchtown Flood Mark Steinhoff inside Mech ShedBrother Mark and I have some not-so-fond memories of the Flood of 1993, when we were surveying the height of the water inside one of the buildings Dad used for his construction company. We were barely able to get the canoe under the top of the door.

Citrus Inn Restaurant

When Road Warriorettes Anne and Jessica journeyed to Florida last May, we left Athens, Ohio, passed through places like Albany, Georgia, and Athens, Georgia until we got to the Sunshine state.

It was getting late, and my passengers had, in addition to the Ohio and Georgia towns, gone through Whiny, Grumpy, Cross City and were approaching Armed Insurrection before we got something to eat and stayed overnight in Chiefland. They were in a better mood the next morning when we checked out the Levy County Quilt Museum.

Talked it up to Warriorette Shari

Citrus Inn Restaurant Cross City FL 03-19-2015When it came time to haul Warriorette Shari back to Missouri, I talked up this great old restaurant in Chiefland that had the quilt museum and some inexpensive lodging nearby.

By the time we got to the general area of those cool places, it was dark. Even though we were northbound, we were beginning to get close to Whiny and Grumpy. Cranky and Hungry were far behind us. When the lights of Chiefland came and went with no restaurant, my passenger started to get concerned. “‘When you said you were a cereal killer, you WERE talking about Cheerios, right?”

Just about the time I was beginning to doubt myself, the Citrus Inn Restaurant appeared out of the darkness. I was right about stopping in Chiefland for the night on our last trip, but we had EATEN at Cross City.

We pulled into the lot afraid that it would be closed, but an EMT opened the door for us, and we saw two guys sitting together, some folks paying their bill, and another fellow sitting at a table near where we were going to wind up.

Huge oysters in the stew

I ordered the oyster stew (with two spoons, because I’m a nice guy), and a shrimp and oyster combo. Shari had a seafood combo with scallops and something else. It was a good thing I had asked for two spoons. The stew came in a bowl the size of a small bathtub, and half a cow of butter was floating on top of it. There were at least eight or 10 HUGE oysters hiding under the butter. These weren’t oyster chunks, they were slurping-size bivalve molluscs to be proud of.

Unlike Road Warriorette Jan, who is a foodie by trade, my first instinct is to chow down, not to take pictures of my food. That’s why there are pieces missing from our plates.

“I’m going to hurt myself”

When I got to the “if I eat one more bite, I’m going to hurt myself” stage, the guy who had been sitting across from us got up to leave. Catching his eye, I said, “We’ve got way more shrimp, scallops and oysters than we can finish, and we’re on the road, so we can’t take them with us. Would you like some of them?”

The guy patted his stomach, then said, “Thanks, but I’m almost in the same shape. I don’t think I could eat another bite. ” Then, before he could take another two steps, he turned around and said, “I’ve changed my mind. I’ve never tried the oysters. I’ll take a couple.”

We made the same offer to the two other customers. They considered it, but ended up passing.

The Citrus Inn Restaurant, established in 1928 (I think), is the kind of place where you could have those kinds of conversations with perfect strangers and not feel at all uncomfortable. I ate there in the middle 70s while covering a Suwanee River flood. It’s going to be one of my regular stops when I’m taking Hwy 19 through the middle of the state.

Cuban Boatlift Part 1

Cuban Boatlift - Key WestRoad Warriorette Jan and Son Matt nagged at me this morning to dig out some of my Cuban Boatlift photos to go along with the big news that President Obama was going to thaw the Cold War that had been going on since about 1959 or thereabouts.

I protested that I hadn’t even THOUGHT about dipping into my Florida years, but they were persuasive. After about nine boxes, I hit one containing outtakes from the month (minus one day) I spent in Key West watching a flood of people who would change the face of Florida and parts of the United States.

Palm Beach Post May 6

The Post's Cuban Boatlift coverage 05-06-1980I’ll go into more detail and publish more photos after I’ve had a chance to see what I can find. To be honest, my stomach has been a bit iffy today, and I haven’t felt like spending time in front of the scanner.

We sent a team to Mariel Harbor

The Post's Cuban Boatlift coverage 05-06-1980We sent ¬†photographer George Millener and reporter Edgar Sanchez down to Key West to try to talk their way onto a boat going over to pick up relatives. The word was that it didn’t take long to make the 180-mile round trip. They made a quick call saying they were getting ready to depart and that they’d check in as soon as they got back.

We didn’t hear from that day, nor the next. I was director of photography and was working on a project that was going to take me all over the state, so I decided to use that leeway to check on our team since I needed to go to Key West at some point anyway.

As soon as I hit U.S. 1 south of Miami, I was in a convoy of trailered boats. Every boat that wasn’t on a trailer heading south was parked on the roadside with a For Sale sign on it.

At the Key West city marina, boats were being launched two abreast as quickly as inexperienced mariners could back the trailers up. I saw at least one Cadillac go in up to the windows when the driver backed up too far.

I called the office and said this was a bigger story than the wires were reporting and that I needed a reporter to back me up.

Dick Donovan

The Post's Cuban Boatlift coverage 05-06-1980They couldn’t have sent a better guy: Dick Donovan was an old-time Chicago cop reporter who had a reputation for getting to the meat of a story. He would stand next to you, then, just before he asked the zinger question that was going to get the subject to react, he’d give you an elbow in the ribs to tell you to get ready.

I’ll go into more detail about the photo at the top left, but I’ll just say that this was the only time I saw Dick with tears in his eyes.

I had to walk away

It didn’t produce as many memorable photos as I would have liked, but it made some memories I’ll never forget.

I was photographing a little boy about the age of Son Matt playing with a little plastic truck just like Matt had at home. Suddenly I realized what a big change was happening in that boy’s life and wondered what the future held for him. I had to walk away for a few minutes.

A little Cuban nun who might have been stacked 4’8″ at best, put her hand on my shoulder and said in broken English, “I’ve been watching you. You don’t just take pictures. You have a big heart.”

That comment meant more to me than any award I ever won.

 

My Office Heirlooms

KLS office 08-24-2008_0830I was talking with a former newspaper colleague tonight – Foodie and Road Warriorette Jan. I was having one of our favorite discussions about food.

“If there is a stick of salami in a Ziploc bag and it feels sort of sticky-slimy when you pick it up, and the exposed end is kind of gray, and the insides have the same kind of gray extending as much as a quarter inch toward the middle, do you think it’s OK to eat if I trim out the heart of it?”

“It probably WON’T kill you”

There was a silence, a long sigh, and a “Well, it probably WON’T kill you, but you could have an unpleasant day tomorrow if you eat it.” Deep down in her heart, I think she really DID want me to eat it.

Anyway, that got me thinking about my old office. It’s hard to believe I’ve been retired since about this time in 2008. Before I packed everything up, I shot some pictures to remind me of what it looked like.

The “In Case of Emergency Break Glass fire alarm” (with broken glass) came from a yard sale. The “Matt and Sarah got married and all I got was this lousy cup” came from their wedding. “I Don’t Do Perky” came from Nancy Allen, one of my help desk people. I’m not sure why she thought it was an appropriate gift for me.

A lump of coal

LVS ashtray_0825The dark object on the left side of Dad’s dragline ashtray is a lump of coal photo lab tech Mary Ann Bates gave me for Christmas. There’s probably some kind of message there, too, but I never could figure it out.

The Potashnick sticker came from a yard sale.

The BS grinder

KLS office 08-24-2008_0826I’m not sure where I got the wooden object with the crank handle.

Lon Danielson, the general manager came into my office while I was on the phone one afternoon. While he was waiting for me to wrap up the call, he started looking at my heirlooms.

“What’s this?” he asked after I put the phone down, picking up the object and idly turning the crank.

“It’s a BS grinder,” I replied.

I noticed that every time he came into my office after that, he would pick up my BS grinder and start cranking it. There was probably a message there, too.

You’ll recognize the Indian head from a story I did about slot machines and gambling raids.

“You’ve got to show me”

KLS signs_0836I had little patience with vendors who wasted my time. When a new one came in, I’d point to my bulletin board to set the ground rules.

Click on the photos to make them larger. By the way, you can see more shots of my office and hidden areas that only techie types could get into if you follow the tour of the Hula Parrot.