Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tara in Paradise - Taradise

For 12 minutes in June of 1978, Tara was the most wonderful, perfect little girl that ever existed in the entire universe.  This is fact and not opinion.  After the 12 minutes, her sister backed in and caused an incredible tie for the position.  The tie continues to this day and we had the good fortune of hosting Tara for two days, here in the Florida Keys.  As you will see from the ensuing photographs (obviously un-retouched) and dialogue (obviously objective) Tara is still amazing.

Shortly after she arrived, she disappeared and we were looking all over the boat for her when we heard a splash.  A guy on a neighboring boat later gave us this photo he took of Tara as she exhibited perfect form while diving from the top of our mast.  That is, by the way, 55 feet off the water.  Like I said pretty amazing little girl.

Here she is again - beating Suzi at backgammon.  They're both pretty good at it; notice that they both play one-handed. Suzi cut the cheese.

Later that day we took a dinghy ride around the mooring field at Boot Key Harbor (made famous by a mention in the classic movie, Key Largo, by Humphrey Bogart.)  I think he said, "I'm twelve miles out of Key Largo approaching Boot Key Harbor."  Unless there was some serious continental drifting since the late '40's they were playing fast and loose with geography.

Here are a couple of unusual boats we saw - this one, Walkure, has a unique open bow which allows the mast to lay down.  It was built from a Bolger design by Mike Wagner.  We had seen the boat in Elizabeth City but didn't meet the owners until we got to Marathon.

We also saw this house boat which has a second story added complete with a latticework veranda.

And now, back to Tara, the subject at hand.  Here she is with her Mom.  You can see where she got her looks, as witness this next photo for proof.

I am much more comfortable taking the pictures than posing for them, but there were complaints that I was never in any of the photos.  Now you can see why.  And this should stop the complaints.  (There really weren't that many - and I may have exaggerated when I called them complaints - probably more like comments or maybe just passing mentions.)

Here's Suzi scolding me for being so damned homely (lovable but homely, nevertheless) while I ignore her and pretend to pat a loon on the head.  There's a point there - but I'm not sure what it is.

Later that day, after wrestling my camera back from those shutter button crazed females, we drove around in our rental car because it looked like it was going to rain.  And rain it did.  Here we are, right in the middle of a Hurricane.  Really, we are.  And it's blowing outside, and the rain is coming down in buckets.  Hurricane, by the way, and just so you nervous types aren't all worried about our welfare, which if you thought about it would know that we survived, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this seemingly interminable sentence, is a restaurant.  

So back to the boat we went when the Hurricane lunch / storm was over - though this may be the next day, I really don't remember and in the greater scheme of things, does it really matter?   Just answer no and move on.

It must have been the next day, because we have Bloody Marys every Sunday and Tara was fascinated by the play of light through her empty Bloody Mary glass, and I thought that, like all of us in the family, we are easily amused, but now that I think back on it she may have been hinting she wanted another.  "Dad, Dad," she said,  "Look at my glass, it's empty, and the sun can shine right though it and make pretty patterns on the side of the boat, because it's empty."  But such things are far to subtle for me so we thought we'd go for a dinghy ride instead.

And we did.  Because we have the technology.  Here's Tara at the helm controlling our massively powerful and equally cantankerous 9.8 HP dinghy engine, famed in earlier sections of this blog (See: how-to-permanently-repair-your-dinghy engine )

Here's another picture of Tara except this one is in the vertical format instead of horizontal.  I like to offer my readers options.

She spotted a pelican, trying to get a little shut-eye on a piling and turned suddenly to say hello.

This is Henry.  Tara is not the least bit shy about introducing herself to other species and she has such a marvelous way about her that they usually respond well.  Though, as you can see in this photo, Henry was a little grouchy.

But Tara made funny faces and kidded him out of it. you can see, and Henry, though reticent at first, finally succumbed to Tara's charms and they had a lengthy conversation.

Apparently, Henry was quite amusing - though I didn't understand a word of it, but Tara speaks fluent Pelicanese - having a degree in language arts, she picks up this stuff with ease while the rest of us struggle along splitting infinitives and dangling prepositions even in our own language.  Suzi always tells me if my proposition is dangling, to help avoid embarrassment.

After awhile, Henry grew tired of the banter, having a short little span of attention, and we left and went through Sister's Creek to the ocean side of the island to relax and play on Sombrero Beach.

Here are the ladies, relaxing and soaking up the rays.  Tara soaked up a little too much and took home an unwelcome souvenir.

Reading and sipping on Blue Kanau's isn't all we did.  Tara wanted me to do some of the fun stuff we did when she was a kid.

I wasn't sure I was up to it, but Tara is still light as a feather.  We impressed many on the beach...

such as this beach babe, who I noticed but, fortunately for me, the girls did not.  Turns out she didn't notice me either.  I guess women just aren't as observant as we guys are.

We watched a seagull eyeballing a fish as big as its head, and wonder of wonders...

he did it!

And just proudly walked away.  Made me hungry for lunch.

Part of the view from Sombrero Beach includes this island as small as a house with a house as big as an island.  Not something you see back in our old home town of Warren, PA.  Or even Bradford.

More beach scenes, because we know you folks in the frozen north need something to get you through the long, cold winter.  (That's me, gloating.  Hee hee hee.)

The beach isn't all soft white sand though.  Some of it they imported from the moon.

Here's a closeup for you doubters.  Never, never question my veracity or I'll, I'll, ... I'll just show you a closeup.

And here are some strange imported moon creatures.  It's a good thing I was holding the camera so you get interesting pictures like this.  If the ladies had the camera, they'd be taking pictures of me.  These are much cuter.

More beach - I knew you needed that.

During the recent cold snap here in the Keys, (temps as low as 38 degrees) many fish died.  This was probably one of them.  Note the blue lips.

Ahh, what can touch the soul more poignantly (fun word, huh?) than children playing at the beach.  This photo was taken just after I yelled, "SHARK!"  It made for a much better photo than stupid kids just standing there.

See? There's those kids again just standing there over Tara's left shoulder.  And don't I look happy, just being with my daughter Tara?

There is a restaurant at the end of the harbor with a mermaid - so it was mandatory that we went there for dinner.

I took this photo just before we went into the restaurant.  You didn't need to know that, but I had to say something to fill up the space between the pictures.  Otherwise it's just a long row of pictures without words between. And all you viewers would think, "Well, Larry's just not doing his job."   And I can't have you thinking that, not for even a moment.  You don't have to read this if you don't want to.

This picture is almost like the previous one, but we like to offer you options.  And I had to put in another picture to separate out the words.  It's a complex process.  I took a special course.  It didn't cost anything, but as you can see, it was worth every penny.

I let the girls use the camera to take a picture of themselves.  And it came out pretty nice.  But then...

they turned on me and took this photo.  I think I was saying "Arghhh."  You can see why I like to stay behind the camera.  Those girls just don't know how to take a good picture.

The end of our visit with Tara (tear in my eye) offered us this view of the sun sinking slowly in the south.  (Directions of sunsets are optional in the keys - and they try to set them up for optimal viewing.  Local ordinance or something.)

Goodbye, Tara. Thanks for visiting us. We miss you already.  See you in the Spring.

1 comment: