Lis and I spent at least an hour in River Lily, the shop with this mermaid, which you have seen before, I am sure.
And I bought birthday presents for my two daughters who have birthdays coming up and that feels so good.
Then we went to The Grady Market where we fondled and swooned over the Johnny Was clothing and we had to leave, finally, to catch our breaths and slow our heartbeats.
The fellows met us and we went for coffee and I said, "Let's go play cards on the balcony!" and everyone said, "Hurray!" and we did and we played for about four hours, not kidding, and it was probably the most fun any of us can ever remember happening. Last year, for my birthday, Lis gave me a deck of antique cards, still sealed in their wax paper.
I had never cracked that seal, but grabbed the box when we left on Friday and those are the cards we played with. We laughed, we cursed, we upset a group of people from Wisconsin because we stole "their table" and we did not care. The wind blew one of the cards off the table and Mr. Moon and Mr. Lon ran downstairs and Mr. Moon climbed the bannister and reached up onto the tin roof and got it. SAVED!
I had the worst card-luck of my life. To the point where I just enjoyed the debacle and finally, after all those hours, Lon was the winner. We dressed for supper and went downstairs to the beautiful bar of the Gibson and we had martinis and ordered from the bar menu and ate shrimp tacos and salads with shrimp and spring rolls and all sorts of groovy, delicious food and laughed some more.
Then we went upstairs for more birthday cake and by the time we all went to bed, there had been tears as well, good tears, tears of relief and release, long overdue, and I looked around at the four of us and I thought, one day, we will not all be here and it was an overwhelmingly sobering thought but one that made me want, more than ever, to be with these people as often as possible, for us all to make time together like this to get away, to be silly and loving and jokey and serious and everything there is to be that you can only be with people with whom you can trust your very heart.
We had breakfast this morning and hugged each other good-bye and we set off in our various directions. Mr. Moon and I stopped to buy crab claws and steamed crawfish and also in Panacea to check out a little fishing tournament weigh-in that was happening. Mr. Moon picked me a magnolia.
We also stopped to look at a very old log cabin which has fascinated me ever since I've lived here. Robb White writes about it in his book, Flotsam and Jetsam: The Collected Adventures, Opinions, and Wisdom From a Life Spent Messing About in Boats. His family owned the house at one time and he spent his childhood summers there. It sounded crazy and idyllic, the adults busy with drinking and enjoying life and letting the children run wild in boats on the water in packs. The house has been for sale for some time but it says Contract Pending on the sign now and I do hope someone buys it and restores it because it is magical.
Right on the water, right across from Dog Island.
By god, I do love the part of Florida where I live.
And now we're home and all is well here and I had to sit and write all this down so I won't forget any of it and how lovely it was and how much I enjoyed it (with all of my heart and soul and being) and the magnolia blossom is in the hallway, making my house smell of its lemony perfume and I feel outrageously rich and lucky and content and I will tuck those Lone Palm cards away, not to be used again until the four of us are together again to sit and play for hours.
I suppose we are getting to the part of our lives where a card game with friends just can't be beat which is ridiculous and wonderful and as sublime a way to pass the hours as any I know. And I hope we'll be doing that again before too much time has passed because time will pass and quickly and it is up to us to grab it and use it as we want.
As Gibson might say, "Dat's right. Dat's right!"