Monday, July 5, 2010

Adventures in Florida, Part 7: When The Lady Says "Paradise", She Means It!

After inspecting our "swanky" room but before climbing back into the rental car and making the short drive over to meet Empress Bee and Sarge Charlie, we decided to clean up a bit from our long day on the road and Jamie went from bright neon colors to classic black & white.  I think this is her "thoughtful" pose!


As we drove over to their condo and I looked around at West Palm Beach, the thought occurred to me to try to remember to mention something in particular about Bee's blog when I wrote this post and that is, for those of you who read Muffin 53, Bee often titles her posts with whatever the day of the week it is and the words "in Paradise".  Obviously I'm not a big fan of Florida on several different levels - with the highest one being the heat and humidity - but when Bee says "in Paradise" she really means it and I don't think it's just because she lives on the 19th floor and has the following views (though I'm sure it doesn't hurt!):

A 19th Floor View
The View Below

I think if I had a terrace that overlooked those kinds of views, I'd be writing "in Paradise" on my post titles, too!  Talk about gorgeous ... not to mention a long ways down!  But anyhow, enough on the view, how about something about the people who possess that view?

I believe that Sarge Charlie first started commenting on my blog via the old "Bestest Blog of the Day' and shortly after that, Bee started coming around, too.  Charlie has always held a special place in my heart as it turns out that he served in Vietnam at the same time as my father.  Matter of fact, if my faulty memory serves me correctly he was also stationed at Da Nang where my Dad was stationed though my Dad was Air Force and Charlie was Army.  It didn't matter what branch of the service they were in though, as they were serving in the same place, at the same time, fighting the same enemy and that made them comrades-in-arms.


Unfortunately, both of them being in the same place at the same time also meant that they were both exposed to Agent Orange - the effects of which eventually caused the cancer that killed my father at way too young of an age.  Regular readers of Charlie's blog know that he, too, has recently been fighting quite the battle with cancer as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange so when I finally made up my mind that I was definitely going to Florida for Jamie's graduation, I also made it a priority that I get the chance to meet Charlie & Bee in person as I admire them both tremendously:  they are both cancer survivors, they are both patriotic Americans, and they share the same sort of love that my parents did - that rare type that you know makes them soulmates and best friends and perfect for each other. The kind of love I wish that I had been able to find but never did. 

Miss Bee & The Flat Boyz

Of course, you can't meet Charlie & Bee without also meeting their pets - Flat Skeezix and Flat Jeter!  Jamie seemed a bit confused about the whole flat cat thing initially but caught right on when I explained that as much as Bee loves cats, she can't have a real one as Charlie is allergic.  Flat cats are better than no cats and these two are always up to some sort of antics.  In the picture above they're posing with a cache of cookies that Bee scored in her Liberals versus Conservatives Cookie Scam Contest.

Jamie and I were in for a definite treat that evening as we were having dinner cooked for us by Miss Bee and it was absolutely delicious! So good in fact, I failed to take any pictures! We had steak and mashed taters and corn on the cob and broccoli and the most delicious gravy ever. I know I've raved about the gravy already but it was just THAT good! (I'm hoping maybe I can convince Bee to sneak a vat of it onto the Bloggers Cruise in February!)  In addition to all of that, we were treated to a fresh-baked cherry pie with vanilla ice cream that was totally delicious!  Seriously, Bee totally outdid herself and Charlie assured us that it was a rare treat indeed to have her cook these days so we felt doubly honored!

Miss Bee & Her Delicious Cherry Pie

I've got to take a moment to say that in addition to Jamie being a good photographer, I was totally impressed with my youngest daughter while we were visiting.  She not only helped Bee in the kitchen with the meal preparation and set the table but she also cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher - all without being asked!  In reward for that, Bee let her go "shopping" in her big walk-in closet where Jamie ended up cleaning out a bit of space for Bee to put new things!  And she told Bee that she wasn't on a shopping ban! I think that scored her a couple of points!

Charlie, Me, and Bee

All in all it was a lovely evening and the next day was going to be just as nice as Jamie and I were going to be treated to breakfast at the famous John G's on the Beach in Lake Worth!  I'd read many a blog post about John G's and it was pretty exciting to be able to go to the actual spot I'd read about so many times before.  First though, it was back to the Marriott and a nice relaxing night in a nice comfy room.

Jamie in the lobby

The next morning had us up semi-bright and early after a very restful night in our luxurious beds and as we waited in the lobby for Charlie & Bee to arrive, Jamie - of course - made use of my cell phone to catch up with her friends.  Just as an aside, I don't know why but this picture reminds me of something out of the John & Jackie Kennedy era - I must be crazy, right?

Anyhow, after the short drive down to Lake Worth on a beautiful Tuesday morning, we arrived at John G's and before we knew it, the following had arrived at our table (feel free to biggify the picture and drool!):

Breakfast at John G's

Just in case I get it wrong, I'm sure Bee can correct me but I believe what we have here from left to right across the top is Charlie's Spanish omelet with hash brown potatoes; Bee's Italian omelet with grits; my eggs over-easy with hash brown potatoes; and Jamie's corned beef hash with poached eggs.  Me feeding my face at John G'sThat delicious looking toast was rye and it was hands-down the best rye I've ever had!  Bee shared some of her omelet with me and I've got to say that it was absolutely delicious, too.  I can see why John G's is such the popular place that it is!

As you can see, I was too busy stuffing my face to be of any use with a camera so Jamie grabbed the Nikon and took some shots of the restaurant so that you can get an idea of what a nice homey place it is.  Apparently it's been in business in the same spot on the public beach for 33 years now and is a family-run business.  Certainly made me wish I lived a lot closer than 1,200 miles so that I could come back and sample some more of the menu but maybe one of these days I'll get there again!
John G's Restaurant

Following our wonderful breakfast, Charlie drove us back to our hotel via the scenic route while Bee played tour guide and pointed out Rod Stewart's house, Jimmy Buffet's house, Donald Trump's house, The Breakers Hotel (which is absolutely gorgeous), the house that John Lennon lived in when The Beatles recorded The White Album, and a host of other gorgeous houses and buildings.  Jamie explained to me the difference between royal palms and queen palms and I let her do all of the photography along the way.  It was really, really nice to be a passenger and be able to gawk at everything while someone else did the driving!  I've put the pictures all together in a slideshow that you'll find at the bottom of the post I but neglected to put any captions in as I couldn't remember what half of the pictures were of!  All I know is that the whole area was absolutely beautiful but if there's one in particular you have a question about, I'm sure Bee can help you out with the answer as that's her stomping grounds and I'm sure she knows it well.  It seemed to me like she sure did as she shared her beautiful city with us!

After we arrived back at the hotel, we bid Charlie & Bee a fond farewell and thanked them for their hospitality and the wonderful time we'd had.  I am very glad that I had the chance to meet them both and am even more excited that I'll get to see them again on the Bloggers Cruise in February!  Yay to Barb for that!

Thinking ahead, I'd made arrangements with the hotel when we checked in the day before for a late check-out so we still had time to hit the pool before we had to head down to Fort Lauderdale to catch our flight back to Connecticut.  There are pictures of the pool in the slideshow below, too, and even though I can promise you that I actually did go swimming, you aren't going to find any pictures of me in a swimsuit!  I did take some of the pictures from the middle of the pool, though, to prove to you that I was in the water but that's as good as it's going to get and I'm just glad I didn't drop my Nikon in the water!  I tell ya, the things I do for blog pictures!!  Still, it was my first time in the water in years and it was ... well, it was like being in Paradise!


  1. I love it when you meet up with other bloggers and I'm a big fan of Bee and Sarge.

    The houses in your slide show are amazing as are the views from Bee and Sarge's condo!

  2. I'd love living on a 19th floor condo, but cats are Not Allowed. Rats. I'm hoping and praying that by the time I'm ready for my move to a retirement community Condo or Townhouse (something like the one Charlie & Bee have) the powers that be will realize that people really need to have their pets with them. That time isn't too far off for me so I hope they change things quickly!

    I can't imagine more of them haven't figured that out yet. Don't they read the news which tells us people are healthier and happier when they have their pets living with them? Haven't they heard of the benefits of Therapy Dogs certified to visit people in hospitals and nursing homes?!!

    They'd have so many more people wanting to buy in, too. They could build many more condos and sell them like hotcakes if it was a pet-only Condo! Think of the revenue-producing possibilities!

    I have an invitation for John Gs when I get down that way! I am looking forward to it! Maybe we should eat dinner there on our way down to the cruise ship! That bread happens to be a favorite of mine, my Dad's and my sister's! It's actually a marbled combination of Rye and Pumpernickel. It's awesome toasted, too!

    That photo of your feet said 3 feet, 6 inches, but I only saw 2 feet and your feet look bigger than 6 inches. Just saying.

    I've loved your photo journal of your trip! I can't wait to do it again!

    And don't forget, I'm coming up to Boston in August!

    Big hugs xo

  3. nice post linda, it was a fun time.

  4. What a fun post Linda. I'm so happy you had a great time. I can't wait to meet Empress Bee and Sarge Charlie too. February is such a long time from now.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

  5. Where to start? From the gravy to the views to the friendship to your lovely daughter and the pics extraordinaire. What a wonderful time you had. You all look great!

    Skeezix and Jeter don't eat much do they...

  6. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone that Darlin has known for such a long time.

  7. I'm glad that you got to enjoy the people, the food, and the views that Dick and I enjoy Jan-March each year when we are down there. He grew up in the area, and I moved there as a young bride, birthing all 3 kids just down the road. Fond memories. Great photos. See ya in Feburary!

    Big hugs, honey...

  8. Anonymous4:11 PM EDT

    what a wonderful post! I loved "meeting" Bee and Charlie and so glad to hear that you had a wonderful, unforgettable time meeting them. LOVED the FLAT cats!! Have a wonderful Monday, Linda.

  9. Anonymous5:35 PM EDT

    It's gonna be fun in February...

  10. what a lovely post linda! and jamie is such a doll! and great photographer too.

    we thought of you while we were eating at john g's this morning with jeter's mom! oh, and they are not open for dinner. only breakfast and lunch.

    loved the slideshow!

    smiles, bee

  11. What beautiful country! I love the photo of Jamie at poolside in her pretty suit - she looks so sweet.
    (Beautiful, pretty and sweet. I've got to get out the thesaurus!)
    I'm glad you two had the opportunity to go on this adventure before Jamie continues her education. Great memories...

  12. Loved this recap! Hope you are feeling less stressed. Nothing I can say will help. I've been there with the college financing crap. I had to pay for it all myself and track down all the free money myself. Finally settled on two years at the local community college (which ended up free b/c of single parent income at the time) and finished my last two years at my original college of choice, Wilkes U. Everything works out, though I am STILL paying for it. It was worth it. I hope A can have the ambition and time to work while she is in school, she will learn a lot and appreciate it more. Having had to pay my own way I never missed a class if I could help it. It would have been a waste of money.


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