Lightening streaked across the western sky. Whitecaps smashed against Key West’s Sunset Pier. Thunder exploded deep into my bones. I shuddered, but kept a brave face. Within minutes it was gone, as quickly as it had come. Brilliant sunlight replaced the ominous black clouds. I looked to the East from the safety of my balcony retreat. A soft rainbow arch framed my world. I thought of the pot of gold waiting for me at the end of the rainbow. All my dreams would be fulfilled if I had that pot of gold.
How many of us race through life thinking we would be happy if we were thinner, wealthier, smarter or prettier, ignoring the gifts that are in front of our noses today? I am guilty of being blind to the beautiful roses at the edge of the deck, turning a deaf ear to the birds’ songs, opting to read a self improvement book instead of throwing the ball for the patient pup at my feet and taking for granted the gourmet meal the my husband created to please me.
My elusive pot of gold is intangible. It resonates in my soul. As I strive to learn and grow, I must never forget that with every breath I take, I am living the dream now in the world that I have created.
Today I am writing from a hotel room in Key West, Florida. The air is hot and sticky, the water, an inviting turquoise. I have been here three days, but feel that I could meld into the landscape, a soul living the dream of creativity and barefoot freedom.
When the Boeing 737 screeched to an abrupt halt on the short runway and taxied to the terminal, I felt that I had arrived home. The sign read “Welcome to the Conch Republic.” The words rang true of what the United States was founded on, the beliefs of rugged individuals. It is a state of mind that I fear has been lost as our nation struggles to find equilibrium. Technology is taking us to unchartered waters where we marvel at the advances, but fear the loss of privacy. In search of political correctness, we often change laws for the few, forgetting about the rights of many.
Key West has a mix of culture, race and sexual preference where people live and let live with mutual respect. The hens run free and the roosters crow of independence. Tomorrow, I fly back to Connecticut. Besides the baggage I have carried for sixty-three years, I hope to bring back the flip-flop state of mind. Long live the Conch Republic!
On a personal note: My husband, Roger and I LOVE this key lime pie and everything else at this Key West eatery. It is a locals hang out, as well as, a place for tourists to experience Key West. We love their fish sandwich at noon, fresh squeezed margaritas, key lime pie and friendly service.
Pepe’s Café, Key West, FL
Key Lime Pie Recipe
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 12 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 large egg whites
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar