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!):
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
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!):
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. That 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!
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!