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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Travels with Beaverhausen: Peeps and Parties in Paradise

It began as a simple shopping excursion to Old Navy in Cape Coral. Sue was off to her women's book-club meeting, so my cousin, Walt, and I set off in his car. On the ride, we crossed the impressive and expansive Callahootchie River. It was a beautiful view.

Old Navy, it turned out, had a big sale going on. I got sneakers, shorts, shirts, t-shirt, flamingo-print boxers for a total of $53. My Florida wardrobe and summer clothes for NYC.

Expecting to go straight back home, I didn't bring my camera. Walter thought it was a good idea to go to neighboring Fort Myers for our dinner and I was game. It was very thrilling. The restored historic district combined the honky-tonk with the chic and trendy. Restaurants, theaters, condos in the beautifully restored neighborhood. Even the sidewalks and squares were full of musicians. So bustling and full of excitement. It was energy-charged.

Walt took me to Ford's Garage. We ate at the bar rather than wait 50 minutes for a table. Our waitress bore a strong resemblance to the young Valerie Harper. Had a burger and sweet potato fries. Filling and yummy.

Walt & Sue's son, Don and his wife, Vina, and their kids were with Sue when we got home after our excellent adventure. So the party continued, livelier than ever, before bedtime. Austin, Don and Vina's son, stayed overnight.

Come Saturday morning, Walter made an awesome big breakfast: an omelette (spinach, tomato, goat cheese, shrimp), shrimp grits and a buttered half of toasted english muffin with plenty of java. Vina and daughter Alexis (whose sweet-16 party I'll be going to tomorrow) swung by to get Austin.

After getting lost en route, then arriving during a brief thunderstorm, Michael Stein arrived with his wife Kim and their two sons. His kids were so well-behaved, bright and fun to be with. They even accompanied Walter to Publix to help him bring back groceries. Just one big, happy extended family.

Mike was my best friend in high school. Today was my first meeting with his charming wife and his sons. Naturally, we had a lot of catching up to do, but a lot of reminiscing too, a lot of it regarding growing up in Paterson, NJ. As a special treat, I got to speak with Mike's mom by phone. I love that lady, and it was terrific talking with her after 40 years.

Can't wait to see them again when I come down. Promise it won't be in another 40 years. And the Buddy Beaverhausen Florida Experience, like the beat, goes on!

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