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It was entirely appropriate to celebrate fifty-one years of marriage with a leisurely trip to our favorite city, St. Augustine, while a possible Cat 1 hurricane was bearing down on Florida.  Marriages are like that. In times of greatest joy, there are usually winds of disturbance swirling at your feet. In fifty-one years you learn a lot about surprises, undercurrents and threatening winds, and if you are paying attention, you learn they are not unexpected and surprises at all. They are just part of the natural current. So you pack your bags and head to St. Francis Inn www.stfrancisinn.com , the oldest bed and breakfast in the oldest continuously operating city in America, St. Augustine, Florida.

 

The 217-year-old inn’s pleasantries were kicked up a notch this year by the congenial group of fellow guests. Breakfast, happy hour and dessert time brought us together during the days. We talked across the dining room and got to know each other. The crowd even endured my husband’s famously bad joke telling. Happy hours stretched on and dessert time (or any time during the day) the sitting room filled with guests kicking back and talking. Much of the talk naturally gravitated to the weather. Dull? I think not. Not with Fay doing the two-step around our state and some of our homes in its path, others wondering if the plane would fly or cruise ship take off. We would all be safest, no doubt, in our 217 year old building. It surely had weathered other storms. Also, St. Augustine has not been hit directly by a hurricane since the cross at Nombre de Dios was erected in 1965. Coincidence? the citizens ask.

 

Most guests lived in other parts of Florida, though one couple was from New Hampshire, another Alabama, and still others from Ohio and South Carolina. Those of us calling Florida home were, of course, overwhelmingly from another state originally. There was the young couple who had come to look for a home in St. Augustine. He grew up there and longed to come back. We all understood why.

 

The St. Francis Inn offers a Seniors Inn Love special in August, so it was no surprise several anniversaries were being celebrated. They spanned the years: 38, 41, 51 and 10. The couple married the shortest time had been married at the St. Francis Inn. They got extra points for that.

 

A group was celebrating the birthday of one of the three ladies. This is no Holiday Inn; this is a place you go to celebrate. Carole Drost Lopez, an Ocala artist, was among that group. She seized whatever light penetrated our courtyard on mostly cloudy days. Just a glint of sun on the red rocking chairs resulted in a beautiful pastel. We will watch her website for the results of yet another pastel of a charming statue in the courtyard. You might want to check out her website at www.artdrost.com. 

 

I won’t even try to say all that needs saying in one blog, so keep coming back for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey says. Those will highlight the ancient city and even ghost residents in St. Francis Inn. And yes, “Lily” just may have made contact with me. Stay tuned.

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Blue doesn’t care that my favorite color is yellow. It boldly elbows into memorable moments in my life. Sometimes like ectoplasm it appears and makes something seemingly unimportant become memorable; other times the moment is inherently important and the color is blue. No other hue is so brash.

Blue is there in things I can’t forget:

—the Carolina blue of the football jersey my husband wore at John Marshall High School. As long as I’ve known him he’s pointed out “almost Carolina blue“—always “almost.”

— the brilliant near-turquoise blue of St. George and the Dragon at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. We visited there in 1957 and though I’ll never forget the detail of Salvador Dali’s Last Supper on loan in the main gallery, it was the blue in that painting that comes first to mind when recalling that day. Things are perpetually “almost St. George Dragon blue,” too.

— the blue my husband painted the interior car lights when we were dating and car radio playing “Blue Moon”, “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Blue Velvet.”

— the blue outfit our first son was wearing the day we picked him up from the adoption agency, a perfect match for his eyes.

— Easter Sunday just passed I accidentally turned a stovetop burner on under my daughter’s casserole dish waiting to go in the oven. I quickly moved the bubbling dish to a cold burner. That is when it exploded sending cobalt blue, glass shrapnel all over the kitchen. What do you think we will all remember about Easter 2008? BLUE.

When color pops from my black and white world of memory why is it blue, inexplicably blue?

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