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The OLD MAN in the Keys - Part-1, Living in the Keys

Updated on May 25, 2017
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his knowledge of motorhomes and other RVs.

Just drying my Wings

A Gulf bird just drying its wings in the Tropical breeze on Fiesta Key
A Gulf bird just drying its wings in the Tropical breeze on Fiesta Key

Living in the Keys through an Old Man's Eyes

Living in the Keys for a while

Date: Feb.26

This article is my introduction to a series of thoughts and observations made by an ordinary old man, about what it is that draws people to the Florida Keys. This is the first chapter of what will become a digital book that I will contribute more to, as I am able to narrow down the things about the Keys that I think are interesting

Over the years, in my professional and personal life, I have traveled around the world and I have seen many interesting things and met many interesting people.

But, now?

Well, I already write about things and people I see in my travels. Add to my experience the fact that I'm experienced enough, and I hope, intelligent enough to enjoy what I observe and at the same time describe these things with my readers.

So, having landed here, in the Keys. for an indefinite period of time, I can pace myself and hopefully entertain you with my thoughts.

Almost three-quarters of a century old.

I, am the Old Man in the Keys!

At least OLD is the way I feel, some days as I roll from my bed in the mornings.

If you are lucky enough to live as long as I have, you'll realize that you have collected some interesting memories and formed some opinions that are uniquely honed by your experiences over your lifetime.

From one perspective, I really am just another Old Man sitting and wandering around on this strange chain of islands looking for anything that might interest me.

If you do come down here, you will probably find me drinking a bottle of Islamorada Beer and just watching the interminable lines of oil-covered tourists on their daily march to and from the beaches, Tiki Bars and swimming pools.

Once you reach my age, you have a collection of memories and opinions that are uniquely honed by experience and the times you have lived through.

— Don Bobbitt

Just some bedraggled islands connected together by man.

Actually, I’ve visited here in the Keys, a number of times over the past decades and for some strange reason I, like so many other regular visitors down here find myself caught in this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” state of mind about this place.

Let me explain; I have found that, for some reason, once you’re finally here in the Keys, then often by the end of your first day you start to wonder what the big fuss is over this chain of dirty, tiny islands.

I mean, what with; the rude tourists pushing and shoving to fill their few days here with memories, the never-ending waves of heat wherever you might be and a daily UV index that almost guarantees future bouts with skin cancers, we have to ask ourselves, why are we here?

But invariably, once your stay is over and you leave the Keys and return home, you eventually start to think about when you can get back down here again. You feel a need to experience the stark tropical atmosphere and the unique attitudes of the Keys residents, once again.

And, honestly, if you look at the Keys objectively, they’re just a string of low-lying islands that some people decided to link together for one reason or another, with railroads, trains and then bridges and roads, just to allow some rich tourists access to a tropical vacation spot on the southernmost island, the famous island called Key West.

You have to hate the Keys as much as you enjoy them.

The Keys were initially established exclusively for wealthy vacationers living in the Northern states, and for a while it was a special playground designed just for them.

Eventually though, the rich couldn’t keep this little gem hidden from the rest of the public.

Over time, it slowly evolved into a place that many other people, rich and middle-class alike, wanted to experience, even if only if for a few days, and they also traveled to the Keys to experience the beautiful year-round Tropical weather.

So it's no wonder that, over time, Key West eventually evolved into a “bucket list” kind of place for each generation of people living and working on the mainland to visit.

Limited by desirable things to do in the Keys

Even the people who hated the heat, the salt and the constant winds, just had to check this place off of their personal list. It became something you enjoyed and endured, at the same time, just so you could say you had gone to the infamous Key West.

The interesting thing to me is that this string of islands has developed a mystic all it's own.

The heat, the beautiful waters, the fantastic fishing, and over the years the abundance of bars and restaurants for people to go have a drink and party into the late night, have all combined to develop a strong following of newly anxiously curious tourists from each new generation, over the past century.

So, you ask; what about Me?

In one respect, I’m just like all of the others who come and go down here in the Keys. The one difference with me, I hope, is the fact that I'll be hanging around here long enough, this time, to watch, observe and comment on what and whom I see.

That’s all I can promise you; I will observe, things, people, animals, plant life, Sunsets and whatever else I might trip over ,as I wander around this place they call the Keys.

by Don Bobbitt, February, 2017

Copyright, Don Bobbitt, February, 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Why go to the Florida Keys?

A Video tour of Key West

Key West Florida

© 2017 Don Bobbitt


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    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Some of my fondest memories were made in Key West and the Florida Keys. We fished off of Big Pine Key, Marathon and Tavernier.

      At the time we lived there, the Navy Base was where we went for ten cent movies, we shopped at the commissary and took Judo Classes on base. We had a two-story house on Flagler Avenue and lived through a devastating hurricane (Donna). We watched the military invasion during the Cuban Missile Crisis and saw JFK in his motorcade on Roosevelt Boulevard.

      I haven't been back in years and look forward to reading your observations about events these days.