As I bicycled this morning I passed by an elderly lady on the sidewalk. She was walking her two small dogs (which looked to be miniature Collies). She had a cane. I am quite certain I have seen her before. She probably keeps the same routine of morning exercise as do I. Though I am always careful to ring my bell when coming up behind pedestrians I am never sure whether - especially if they are elderly - they hear the chirp. And I don't like to ring the bell enthusiastically lest it gives the impression I am about to attack. Given the advanced age of the woman (I am assuming she was as old as she and her gait looked from behind - plus she had the obvious mobility issue exemplified by the stick) and that there were too lethargic dogs in tow, I decided instead to slow down to a crawl as I passed (and having wrung the bell gently). The dogs were clearly accustomed to similar disturbance and did not seem startled by my appearance. I suspect the dogs and their mistress have endured this routine many times in the past. As I came alongside the pedestrians (and briefly drifted awkwardly into the rigid grass bordering the sidewalk but recovered without catastrophe or embarrassment), the old lady said, "Happy Thanksgiving!" which I found winsome. My suspicion is she is a local - by which I mean she has been here before the developers discovered the place in the early '70s. She hadn't the reserve of a well-heeled tourist or the synthetic ebullience of someone "from away". My romantic inclination is that she has a story to tell but naturally I shall never know.
Competing with that expectation is what transpired in the hot tub later this afternoon. I reunited there with a woman (probably about 65 years of age) whom I had met several days ago with her daughter and husband. When we met we all quipped about the method to remember someone's name when you first meet. The thesis - often reported - is to repeat the name immediately following the introduction. Frankly even that never assures me success. But in this case it worked - likely because we had talked about it so extensively. So when the woman arrived she gleefully addressed me by name, a celebration I returned to her! We both laughed. I told her I had been rehearsing. Our conversation then descended into a discussion of travel and other personal matters - though none of which was especially intimate. To my surprise - and for no apparent reason other than the obvious one of unadulterated curiosity - the woman then asked where my wife came from. To which I replied, "Which one?" She of course added, "How many are there?" to which I retorted, "I'm damaged goods; I've been around the block three times!" All of which is technically true - though perhaps somewhat lacking in detail. The interrogation then diverted to a more general discussion of the frequency of marriage, divorce statistics and the like.
At table this evening we began chatting at the end of the meal with a married couple seated next to us. They are from Philadelphia but have lived on Anna Maria Island for the past ten years. He is a healthy-looking 75 years of age and a golfer; she is 65 and recovering from a knee operation last week (and still in great pain following the expiry of the narcotics). Earlier I thought I heard him say that they had lived together for about 21 years before moving here. So I asked him whether they were still shacked up or married. He said they were married. At which point he asked me, "Are you partners?" I wasn't ready for this line of investigation any more than I had been earlier this afternoon in the hot tub. I replied, "I guess you could say that. We were in jail together." Following which I swear I heard him murmur, "It's Okay".
The restaurant had a limited menu, classified as its Thanksgiving Day Menu. There were a number of choices designed to attend the traditional repast of the day - squash soup, turkey with all the fixings (including a very acceptable stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce) and pumpkin pie. In addition there was deference to Floridian taste - such as grouper and spare ribs. I opted for the turkey dinner and was not disappointed. My penitentiary acquaintance chose more exotic fare - duck confit, scallops and a cheese board for dessert.