This morning we followed the recommendation of so many comments and had breakfast at Blue Heaven. From the moment we walked in to the courtyard and saw chickens running wild I knew we were in for a treat. The restaurant was very unique with walls covered in original artwork, creatively painted tables, and mismatched china. Shannon and I decided to split one of their notorious specials; the surf n’ turf eggs benedict. This is a combination of steak, caribbean lobster, and eggs benedict on an english muffin covered in hollandaise sauce. Wow, it was outstanding! Over breakfast, Keith surprised Shannon and I by making us unofficial members of the Fort Taylor Pirate Invasion and presented us with the official T-shirts.
Next, we stopped at the Earnest Hemingway House. The house was incredible; quite a life. However, I must admit, I’ve never been one for guided tours or crowded museums. I learn best through interaction, and quickly get frustrated by someone talking at me for long periods of time. Shannon and I broke from the tour and found a nice bench to rest on near Hemingway’s pool. The tour eventually landed right in front of us where the guide explained the story behind the pool. Hemingway’s wife purchased the pool while he was out of town for $20,000 during the great depression. To put this in perspective, the cost of the original house was $8,000. Frustrated, Hemingway grabbed a coin from his pocket, tossed it in the air, and told his wife to take his last red cent. Most of Shannon and my disputes have centered on the same topic; I could completely relate to his frustration. Therefore, we decided it appropriate to have our picture taken in this spot.
Afterward, I was feeling unusually dizzy and fatigued. I have these type of symptoms occasionally and I never know if it is the result of inadequate sleep, or my disease. We went back to the hotel and I crashed for several hours. Finally, I awoke around dinner time feeling much better. We scoped out several restaurants for dinner, and ended up at the Hog’s Breath Saloon. Nothing overly special, but the low key atmosphere worked out well. I had a couple of cans of Miller Light with my famous Hog Dog; not bad.
Now back to the tattoo! John, who instigated the tattoo, would unfortunately be leaving in the morning. If we were to get tattoos together it would have to be tonight, I really wanted to make it happen. I arrived at Paradise Tattoo and started working through some designs. I decided I wanted a couple of slogans that mean a lot to me these days printed on my forearms; a place where I can see them while riding: “Ride in a good direction” and “Today is my best day.” Eric, this is the closest I will ever come to sleeves. John joined me and got one himself, a V-twin engine with the phrase “Ride in a good direction” written above it. Most meaningful was that he had surprisingly had the initials BH written in the engine. John, you’ve been an amazing friend and I don’t know how to thank you for everything you’ve done for me.
Once tattooed, it was time for some drinks. We started with some celebratory drinks at the Green Parrot. Then, we eventually made our way to a house party Kieth had invited us to held by some of his pirate friends. Definitely a unique crew, but also the nicest and most welcoming hosts. Scarlet Jay and Dead Eye tried teaching me how to sword fight. I need a lot more practice; they killed me several times, but I’m resilient!
Ben, thanks for your comments; they mean a lot to me. Love the idea of sharing some background info. I thought I would start with one of my most defining stories, the day I met my wife Shannon. We were both freshman at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. I was headed to the dining hall with my good friend and roommate Thomas. As I collected that days fried protein (aye, the south), I ran into my friend Raj, who invited Thomas and I to join him and a friend. I sat down across the table from a true southerner, named Shannon. I was enthralled by her deep southern accent and stories of a childhood on a tobacco farm; I resisted, but I couldn’t help poking some fun. She had a great sense of humor and played back. The conversation eventually turned to school; I told Shannon that I was in the School of Design, and she was quick to tell me about some water color paintings she was working on in her room. She invited me to come up to her room sometime to check them out. It didn’t take me long, a sure violation of the three-day rule. Shannon shared her paintings, and they were breath-taking; the most amazing paint by number cards I have ever seen (literally). We started hanging out quite a bit after that. We dated for ten years before we finally got married on July 28th, 2007. We both have the same goofy sense of humor that draws us together – we’re perfect for each other. Who else would go along with saying wic-a-wic-a-Wegmans as if she was scratching a record every time she wants to stop at Wegmans grocery store! It really makes me think that things do happen for a reason.