Two musicians find friendship during quarantine.
Greetings from Anna Maria Island, Fla., where the sun is hot, the water is blue and the living is easy. The Mitchells joined other family members and friends for the nuptials of cousin Catherine, daughter of former Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Frank Morton Jr., to Charlie Palmer.
We arrived on the island via the Amtrak Auto Train, which I absolutely love and find a vacation all in itself. The Auto Train departs from Lorton, Va., every day at 4 p.m., and I find the four-hour trip to Lorton worth the while, because we are able to pack all of our stuff in the car and not have to schlep with it through the airport. Upon check in, the cars are loaded into a container, which is attached to the back of train. On a previous trip, we had a little, private compartment that had its own bunk beds, tiny shower, sink and toilet. This time, we chose to ride coach, and I found it just as enjoyable. The seats are big and comfy, with an apparatus that extends the seat for easy nighttime sleeping. There were plenty of big picture windows with which to watch the world go by as we traveled through the towns of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia before reaching our destination, Sanford, Fla., where everyone disembarked, car and all.
It is a two-hour ride down the Florida turnpike onto I-75 before crossing over SR-64, which leads to the 17-mile-long island. As we passed Disney World, Sea World, Animal Kingdom and Dinosaur Land, where the lifelike statutes seem as though they will gobble you up if you come too close, it is hard to believe that the state of Florida isn’t all peaches and cream—but that’s for another article. For this trip, it was all about Catherine and Charlie.
We stayed in the cutest little cottage right off of Gulf Drive, which runs from one end of the island to the other. The complex had a pool where my daughter, Julia, made friends with two little boys from Tampa, Fla., and where she stayed from sunup to sundown. Fortunately, my husbamd Charles found a chair and umbrella, where he stayed seated with Julia from sunup to sundown. I packed my bag and headed down to the beach, which was right across the street, where I stayed from sunup to sundown. My only problem was, there wasn’t anybody to rub my back down in suntan lotion, and so I got a sunburn. Drats! (I made a mental note to get a bottle of spray-on lotion.)
The bachelorette party that took place on Friday night can only be described as “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” so I am sworn to secrecy and forbidden to give any details; just use your imagination to the fullest. What I can say is, all of Catherine’s friends from her book club back in her hometown of Atlanta, were there to the join in the fun. Let’s just say these girls know how to have fun, which is all girls want to have anyway.
As of the time of this article, due to deadline constrictions, the wedding hasn’t taken place yet, so I will have to save that for next week’s column. In addition, after we leave Anna Maria, we will drive up the Gulf Coast to visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, where they present mermaid shows. Here, supposedly, the performers dress as mermaids, complete with tails, and perform underwater in a tank, using air hoses to breathe. I read an article about the theme park in the New York Times a little over a year ago. The article featured interviews with several of the mermaids, who stated, “Every woman has a little bit of a mermaid in her”—a statement that I had to meditate about before accepting. By the end of the piece, I was very intrigued and really wanted to go there. Alas, it took some time, but here we are, with the perfect excuse to be in town. We’re on our way to see the mermaid show. Am I excited? Yes, I am.
Before heading home, there will be a brief stop in Orlando to visit with my aunt Lucille and cousins Susan, Sandra and Peter. Peter is completing his freshman year at Florida Central State College, where he is studying to become a pharmacist. I came bearing gifts of a few T-shirts and shorts for Peter (“Gotta go to Mo’s”), and a bag full of toiletries for the others to indulge in. We don’t get to see each other often anymore, so this,w too, will be a treat.
From there, it will be a short ride back to Sanford, where once again it will be all aboard the Auto Train, and we will head back North to Yankee territory.
Speaking of the North, Chuck Norris of Mount Airy, Penn., gave a yacht party aboard his boat, where guests rocked until the wee hours of the night. With the partygoers not wanting to stop until they had enough, the party continued at Leslie Russell’s house until the break of dawn.
Russell, you may want to know, continues to be very much the little athlete. Having just completed the Philadelphia Marathon, she is now training for the Philadelphia Triathlon—a little running, a little swimming and then a hop on the bike across the finish line. You go, girl.
Happy birthday, Cleveand “Kojack” Manley, Aaron Manley and Ernest Robertson, DDS, who is giving nice little perks for all first-time visits to his office at the Harlem Center for Aesthetic Dentistry, 470 Lenox Ave.
As we come to the end of the merry month of May, let’s not forget all of those who died fighting for the freedoms we enjoy in America. The rights to worship, get an education, live where we want and countless other things that we take for granted were made possible by those who gave up their lives ensuring that America remains the greatest country in the world. God bless America and all of those within its shores.
Until next week … kisses.