Arranging meet ups with friends

I’m planning my trips for New York this year. From June until the end of the year I spend a lot of time there.

I was talking to a friend the other day, we were talking about all the meet-ups I had in New York over the years, you know, with friends from Miami, who happened to be in NY at the same time.

What’s interesting is that in the 1980s and 1990s, I did this a lot. I would meet friends from home/Miami and we would hang out in NYC for the day or whatever. But how did we do it? We didn’t have cell phones and I can’t remember how we arranged it.

I just know that on such and such date, at such and such time, we would meet up. I remember meeting my friend Albert in front of the Empire State Building and my friend Vincent came by my hotel and so many others would meet up with me.

I’m wondering if I made an announcement -” I will be in NY from Nov. 10 to 30. If anyone is going to be there, let me know.” I mean we didn’t have social media, did I just announce it to everyone at once? Did I tell people one-by-one over time? Whatever the case, we were at the appointed location, date and time. Always. I can’t imagine that happening now. Now we would text each other 20 times before we would ever end up meeting up.

Back then I would stay at my cousins’ house or at hotels but I don’t remember people calling either place to arrange to meet for lunch or hang out or whatever. So I am guessing we made the plans way in advance.

I’m just flabbergasted that we met at the exact place and appointed time. And I guess I made it known when I was going to be out of town. I had a lot of friends back then, so I really think I must have told each one of them one at a time what my plans were and if they were going to be in town at the same time, we arranged our meet up date. Amazing.

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Winter Arts Festival time

We did our local arts festival yesterday and will go back again today. When I say did, I don’t mean we showed our art, I mean we walked around, ate, drank, kibitzed and enjoyed the show. For one thing, the town is mobbed with people and it’s impossible to get in and out so it’s best to just stay put and enjoy the event.

It is getting a bit out of hand with the $25 entry fee and $15 gyros and $18 taco dishes, but it is what it is.

This weekend every year is the busiest weekend of the year in Miami. There are a few arts festivals, the boat show and some other things. They say it’s impossible to find a hotel room or rent a car – they’re all booked for the weekend.

Oddly enough, it was cold all winter, where I love, but yesterday and I guess today, when a bunch of us go back, it will be very hot.

I ran into my nephew’s friend, he told me that he and his wife got in for free. He said to the people at the gate that they forgot to stamp him when he left and then he rubbed the wet stamp on his wife’s hand after they stamped him – sort of like we used to do at the clubs. So he saved 50 bucks.

I used to be part of this as a sponsor when I did the daily news around here so I would get lots of tickets to give out free. But not anymore, I’m now a peon like everyone else (which I love being by the way), but people didn’t know and I got so many texts and calls from friends and family asking me for tickets. Even the UPS guy was hounding me for tickets. How he got my phone number I’ll never know.

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Our local celebrity

We have this homeless guy in town. At least I think he’s homeless, because I’ve given him a lot of money over the years because I want to help him out. And now I see what he is doing with some of that money – he’s on Instagram! And he’s asking for donations on his Instagram page.

I am cracking up over it, because he’s a local celebrity, one of the bars sells t-shirts with his picture on it and gives him the money and a friend of mine with a business in town handles his accounts when need be – like maybe cash a check or whatever. He’s a left-over hippie from the 1960s, one of those people that everybody loves so we support him.

Anyway, I noticed he started following me on Instagram and he has such great pictures posted. Really well lit and he’s in the pictures with beautiful women around town. He’s living the dream, well it looks like he is living the dream, I don’t suppose being homeless is the dream – but he may not be homeless, after seeing all this I’m flabbergasted. He’s got a lot of jewelry, is dressed well and is hanging out holding his own at local watering holes and places.

Maybe that’s his schtick – making out as if he needs the money, so people give him money, and he lives off of that.

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Sharing Cher; Thank you for being a friend

There is a special dedicated to Betty White on Monday night – 10 pm eastern time on NBC. This is Cher who taped this as part of the special. Cher is singing on the Golden Girls soundstage.

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We went to the Beaux Arts Festival

A couple of us went to the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables yesterday. It’s the 71st edition.

It was smaller this year, I guess due to covid, and they moved the location south a bit – it’s still on the University of Miami grounds, just not in the grassy, shady, lake area, near the Lowe Art Museum – it was more in a parking lot.

There wasn’t much food. A friend of mine, who fell off his bike, for like the 5th time, asked me to bring him his favorites from the festival, since he is still laid up – conch fritters and gyros. Only they didn’t have them. I think there were just a few food booths and nothing great. So I stopped by empty handed to visit him afterwards.

At the festival I saw a lot of friends, many of them are artists, who had booths set-up and were showing and selling their work.

It’s one of those things that comes around year after year at the same time – repetitive, but we look forward to it.

The weather was perfect, bright, sunny and cool – in the 60s. Today a cold front is coming through so it will be rainy and windy most of the day.

But that’s the beginning of a bunch of our art shows for the year. 2022 has started.

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The Southampton Annual Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights

We made it back to the Southampton Christmas parade this year. We had gone a couple of years ago and last year it was canceled due to the pandemic. I love it for so many reasons, the parade is fun and the tree lighting at the end of the block is even more fun, but the idea that all of the small villages at the east end of Long Island get together and celebrate with a parade is so quaint. Southampton along with East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island and all the others taker part.

My cousins and I hang out for the day, we eat – on Saturday, before the parade, we at at the old standby – the Southampton Publick House.

I wasn’t sure if we would go this year. My cousins had planned to go to the lighthouse lighting event in Montauk, which is just as great, but so much longer to get there. But I put a little bug in one of my cousin’s ears at Thanksgiving and left it at that. By Saturday, we were on our way. Was there ever any question?

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Saved by an angel?

An angel over a car accident

I’ve been waiting to hear from my Mom, you know, some sort of signal, but nothing yet. When my brother passed we all heard from him the first week, then he disappeared. I had a friend jak, who passed away and for two years, I would feel his presence in the passenger seat of my car. Never in the house, but always in the car. His songs would play on the radio and I just had a sense that he was there next to me as I drove around.

But I think my mom saved me from a bad accident yesterday.

I had a friend visiting for a couple of weeks and yesterday he was headed home. We were out and about all morning and my car was fine, but at 1:30 pm, we jumped in the car so I could take him to the airport and it wouldn’t start. I kept trying and nothing. It wound not turn over. So he ended up taking Uber to the airport.

About an hour later, I was arranging to have the car towed to the service station in the morning and I ran out to get the license number. While I was there, I tried starting the car again and it turned over perfectly! I turned it off, turned it on again and same thing, it started perfectly. I drove it to the service station to have it looked at and Ubered home.

I thought that that was quite strange. Then I thought, what if Mom was protecting my friend and me from a bad accident as we drove to the airport? What if she made the car not work and then it started normally just a short time later?

I have been saved in traffic situations in the past by people from the other side. I just know it. I’ve almost been in accidents where I knew they were going to happen and nothing happened. Not too long after my brother passed, I was almost in an accident. The truck was coming right at me, I steeled myself for a side door impact and nothing happened. It was as if by magic, the oncoming, speeding truck missed me. It was as if it just drove through me and ended up on the other side of my car.

An angel over a truck

A few years back a friend was telling me about a dream he had where his mother, who had passed, told him she had protected me in an accident. As he described the details, I remembered the incident from about 10 years earlier. He had every single detail right – the color of the car, the type of car, the location, and even that the guy was on a cell phone, which caused him to drive through the red light. A brick phone at that!

At the time I couldn’t explain how my car squeezed into the size of an inch between two cars. Literally, the car had to squeeze that small for me to have survived that accident. I could never wrap my head around it, but I knew at the time it was some sort of divine intervention and when my friend explained it all 10 years later, regarding his late mother’s intervention, it made sense.

I’ve had quite a few incidents like that. Am I a bad driver or is it others? I believe it’s others, but either way, I was saved from terrible accidents by divine intervention and I wonder if that was the case yesterday where my car would not start when needed and then when not needed an hour later, it started without any hesitation.

UPDATE ON THE CAR: The service station called me this morning. There is not a thing wrong with the car. It starts up perfectly. It starts right up. THANKS MOM!

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Pumpkin pickin’

On Saturday, we went pumpkin pickin’ in the Hudson Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the country.

The leaves hadn’t really turned yet, but it was still fall up there.

We stopped a few farms, got pumpkins, apples, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, you know, the works. We also got mums for the season.

Going pumpkin picking and the works is a new tradition – a great one.

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