She should have been here.

Another goal on our trip had been to visit with Jane and David in Orlando. Sadly, a few weeks before we left, we got a call from David that Jane had died suddenly at the age of 54. Jane had been a great friend for years in Cooperstown before they moved to Florida so David could complete medical school. We decided not to visit Orlando this trip because it was Spring Break and Easter vacation combined. So, David decided to meet us in Homosassa Springs for dinner and reminiscences.

While waiting for David, for something completely different, we went to Howard’s Flea Market ‘out on Route 19’. It proved to be a bit more organized than the Fort Meyers Drive-In flea market. Housed in tin roofed, ‘rustic’open-walled sheds, it covered 50 acres (according to Howard), with long aisles and wings that branched off in all directions. At first, it reminded me of Reading Market in Philadelphia, with permanent food stands and produce areas, but it quickly got funky, with tables of what looked like left-overs from garage and yard sales. Soon, we came upon tables of CDs, dried fruit, tools, hand-bags, ‘collectibles’, lawn ornaments, and biker leather goods. Bruce stopped at a table with some interesting energy technology while I wandered around, eavesdropping deals being struck and old acquaintances renewed.

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We weren’t out in the baking sun, but the air got close and warm beneath the shed roofs. We bought some Asian pears, a fresh pineapple, some dried pineapple, some dog cheese treats in the pet ‘wing’, and a sink drain screen, and after wandering most of the labyrinth, we left, and went off to get some highly recommended steamed-shrimp-to-go from the ‘Freezer’ in Old Homosassa.

The Freezer was once a two-storey freezer for a fishery that was put out of action when grouper nets were banned. To survive, they cut some holes in the walls and opened a bar/restaurant, with the interior walls still the original galvanized metal. The outside deck, overlooking the water, has a handsome roof made of palm fronds that was built by the Seminoles. While we waited for our take-out shrimp order, we decided to bring our friend, David there for dinner, as the whole atmosphere was unique and real, rather than touristy. We were told that dogs were welcome on the deck, and once, even a Shetland pony had joined its master! When David arrived from Orlando, it turned out that the only thing he couldn’t eat was shrimp. Oh well. Instead, we took him to the other, highly recommended eatery, the Margarita Grill, an ultra red-white-and blue shrine to 9/11 and the troops. Florida sure is an interesting place.

The street golfers had told us about the three sizes of margaritas at the Margarita Grill. The largest was the size of a family salad bowl, the middle the size of a big salad bowl, and the smallest the size of a dog dish. I had the smallest, Bruce had a beer and David a Coke. The house salad, grilled salmon, spinach pie and Greek salad were excellent and very reasonable. We had a good time catching up with our old friend, with some sad moments and good laughs remembering our Janie. We miss her dearly.

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2 Comments on “She should have been here.”

  1. Caere Says:

    Oh, how Jane would have enjoyed this food-centered post! It reminded me of many meals with J&D. Wish I could have joined you in Florida, but I’m waiting patiently for you two to reach the now dry and very sunny southwest!

  2. Diane Gallo Says:

    I for one would have downed a small Margarita gladly. I know you think I slipped off the earth, but no, only a cold and catching up with myself. You two are really covering territory. I’m having trouble keeping up with you. Love, D.


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