We spent time in the Florida Keys with our friends Rudy and Sue in 2014. As I have watched the news about Hurricane Irma I’ve been thinking about that trip and wondering what has happened to the places we visited. My friend Sue and I toured Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West and saw the more than fifty cats that make their home there, direct descendants of a feline that was a gift to Hemingway from a Florida sea-captain. Apparently during the hurricane a group of dedicated employees stayed behind to protect the Hemingway house and the cats even though authorities ordered them to evacuate and Hemingway’s granddaughter urged them to evacuate as well.
I’ve discovered that luckily both the museum staff and the cats survived the hurricane and Hemingway’s house was not damaged. In Marathon Florida we went for a sail on a boat our friends Ed and Millie had worked on during an earlier visit to the Keys. I have read that at one point Marathon was completely underwater and many marinas in the area look like giant shipwrecks. I wonder how our boat the Geni Green and its Captain Jay fared? Another thing we did in the Keys was take a drive down Alligator Alley. We saw literally hundreds of alligators. News reports say that thousands of these alligators have been displaced from their natural habitat because of the hurricane and some are wandering the streets of Florida’s cities and towns.
Having visited the Florida Keys the news I’m seeing about the devastation there seems just a little more personal. The Florida Keys was a terrific tourist destination. Hopefully it will be able to rebound from this tragedy and become a beautiful place to visit once again.