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by Doug Heyman - Key West, Florida
*Okay, the gasoline prices look like they did in Europe 15 years ago, and it’s affecting costs on food transport, aircraft transport and personal transport. This will all be passed onto us as consumers and yet the funny part of it is we have the control and therefore the ability to change it. If you don’t want your entrée to cost $30.00 at your favorite restaurant or your cantaloupe to cost $4.00 each then it’s time we got back to a time honored concept called the boycott like we did in the 60’s and 70’s. We know that the Middle East cartels are screwing us over like nobody’s business and the U.S. means of coping is to open oil reserves in delicate ecosystems like Alaska. It’s really simple actually. It’s time we purchased gas from independent gasoline stations that do not buy oil from OPEC nations and promote the battery technology that has existed for years but the huge oil lobbying organizations have suppressed. It’s criminal that a gallon of milk costs more then a gallon of gas, and I realize there are more reasons then fuel costs that aggravate dairy costs, but it’s one aspect. We could even take 1 single day off from driving nationwide and that alone would kick them where they breathe. How long will it be before we take certain issues into our own hands and out of those that call themselves leaders of our country? We can make a difference right in our own towns and call the Middle East oil cartel’s bluff! It’s already expensive to live in a resort town like Key West as I do. The prices of everything from restaurants, to fuel, to clothing and more are hyper-inflated to pick the wallets of our visitors without concern for the locals who earn an average of $10 per hour serving at bars and tourist establishments (not all local businesses are over pricing and, in fact, many are extremely reputable or I wouldn’t live here). I can’t even buy take out pizza from Domino’s any more because my favorite deal (3 topping pizza and 10 wings for $11.99) now costs an additional $3.00 for delivery even though the advertising still says free delivery. I have now started getting my food en route home from work and eating in when it suits me. You know the poor person who delivers your food in the driving rain will get that taken out of his/her tip, which would be the seemingly natural point to recover the cost to you. It’s not their policy, but they will suffer for it. I told you a while ago in the first edition of this column that I would rant from time to time, but if we have a means of control over an issue we need to coalesce and make a solution. Please find an independent gas station, drive a bit less and maybe even skip car use for one day, look into an electric car if you work a relatively short distance from home and use your common sense. Maybe I can eventually get my steak, potato and salad for $17.00 like I used to!
*I’m kicking now over Pepsi’s version of Sprite called “Sierra Mist.” I was telling chef James awhile back how I go to a specific grocery store here in Key West because they’re the only one here who carries Orange Crush in individual bottles in a six pack. I’m not a fan of sodas mind you, but as we move into the damp rainy season here from the dry season (Key West’s Spring lasts 1 day a year) I need a libation that cools me down quick and tastes genuine to the flavor it boasts of. I thought Orange Crush was the only one like that on the shelf, but I have fallen upon Sierra Mist and I love it. It has a very rich lime flavor that really makes a statement and there’s a good balance of carbonation. Sprite seems watered down and seltzery in comparison. I do wish I could get it in real glass bottles like Orange Crush. I don’t really care for any drink out of a can or plastic bottle, but I work in places that have pools and beaches so plastic is practical and safe. I will continue to emphasize the drinking of water as my primary source of thirst quenching, and it’s not cheap any more, but for a change of pace to uplift my taste buds and olfactories I suggest a Sierra Mist to make it happen!
*If I haven’t told you; I’m joining the Catholic Church. I will neither explain nor receive challenges to this decision as one’s faith choices are very personal and I respect each individual’s decision on how best to keep their lives healthy and happy. I have been a member of the Episcopal Church since 1979 and was blessed with the years I was actively involved with the brothers, sisters and clergy in Fairfax, Virginia. The class you take prior to becoming confirmed in the Catholic Church is called RCIA (an acronym for Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) and it has been a fascinating 7-month journey of church history, tradition, fellowship and bible study. I get confirmed this Saturday at the Easter Vigil Mass and I’m very excited about it. There’s a small thing that interested me as we were receiving a mini course on how to receive our first communion (this is my first Catholic communion as I was licensed buy the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Virginia for many years to serve communion along with clergy). You take your right hand and support your left hand to take the “host” (wafer) onto your palm and then put into your right hand and eat it right away. You may also simply stick your tongue out and receive it directly from the Priest or Deacon that way. In the Episcopal Church we didn’t have communion etiquette and after years of scooping the host bread out of the wine cup with a plastic spoon I thing it may be time for a change. I admit I didn’t care for the fact that as a Christian person I couldn’t take communion in the Catholic Church unless I was indeed a Catholic. In protestant denominations if you are a baptized Christian you can receive Holy Communion in any service that is offered and you can take it as many times a day as it is provided. There are limits on how many times a day you can receive in the Catholic Church. Maybe it’s because I’m turning 50 this year, but I like the stability of the rules and many years of tradition I’m learning about. It provides a foundation that I thought I didn’t need when I was younger. I will look forward to sharing the table with my close and dear friends in the Church in Virginia when I visit them hopefully this June, but I am also looking forward to all the Masses yet to be experienced in my new home at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church here in Key West. I still have so much to learn!
*We have a problem on our small island community in Key West and it takes the form of semi tractor-trailers. This very morning I was present at an intersection where several people witnessed a delivery truck attempting to execute a right hand turn from Front Street onto Simonton Street and the attempt took about 10 minutes and took out the mirror and put a healthy dent into a parked SUV. It’s a “Catch 22” as they say because we are 157 miles from the mainland and therefore the source of our food and other needs, yet our streets are so small they barely allow for 2 vehicles to pass one another traveling in opposite directions. This island town may need to limit the size of delivery vehicles, RV’s and busses for safety reasons. We depend on SYSCO to deliver our food for restaurants, Home Depot to deliver lumber and landscaping and Greyhound for passenger service, but if you see a local business like Manley-DeBoer lumber making a delivery you’ll see they use a European styles smaller van/truck that can manipulate our small streets. Waterfront Market delivers fruit to eateries island wide by a refrigerated step van and we get everything fresh and on time with minimal disturbance to vehicular operations on the roads here. There are no vehicles on Macinac Island or Fire Island. I’m certainly not advocating zero motorized transport here, but a common sense limitation on the length and girth of the trucks would be a good fix.
Live life to your potential and remember if you don’t have patience you’ll become one… a patient that is!
See you at dinner in Key West,
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