This past year has been a wild ride full of ups and downs. From selling one business, to starting a new Studio from the ground up, Cindy being in the hospital/emergency room during the Grand Opening/Festival Weekend of the studio opening, buying a new house, to being flooded out by a hurricane days after buying our Liquor License…I’m thinking 2016 will go down in our history book as one of the wildest years so far.
During all of this craziness, we’ve had good friends, friends that we barely knew that have become good friends and family along for the ride. Each time we think we’ve reached the end of the rope, a friend will reach out and pull us back up. Those are the people that I really care about during these crazy times.
If I was to only watch the news, which I try and seldom do (I think Mainstream Media is very biased and drama laden) I’d have lost all faith in humanity, but if I tell you our story from the way it really happened, it’s a completely different version.
When Cindy was in the hospital, friends and amazing people came out of the woodwork to help. Meals were cooked, the refrigerator was stocked and there was an overwhelming support network set-up to offer a helping hand. That was blogged about in THIS POST
Everything settled down for awhile during the recovery period and we went about our daily rituals and somewhat boring life. When we got back to Cedar Key from the annual trip to Arkansas to cover the Rock Bottom Chuck Wagon Races, we both agreed we’d put 100% of our effort to Bonish Studio and get that up and running. Since it was a new endeavor for us, each day was and still is something new. Every time we needed a helping hand, there were numerous friends who would step up and and help out.
In the process of opening the Studio, we purchased a new house and tried to slowly move into that during our 3 days a week we have off from the Studio. This time of year, we’re only open for business Thursday thru Sunday, so Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays are the days we paint the house, move furniture and also go to the Antique Sales and Estate Sales to pick up items we resell in the Studio. Doesn’t the life of a self-employed business person sound so enjoyable and relaxing 🙂
When Hurricane Hermine hit Cedar Key, it left us with about $10,000 worth of damage to our property. Zero structural damage, but everything lost was due to flooding. Lost the Washer and Dryer, the Dishwasher, a Refrigerator, chargers and inverters for both our laptops and a few other devices, the cordless drill along with the battery that was recharging in the socket, a bunch of furniture that needed to be thrown away and lots of little items we’re still slowly losing due to being submerged and drying out, but they die prematurely due to salt water. It’s been a month and there are still items I go to use, only to find it’s dead from the storm, but this was the first time I tried to use it since.
A few weeks back, a few reporters from NPR News came out to interview Heath and I about our wild night. They wanted to talk with Cindy, but she clammed up and wouldn’t talk on camera. So we sit down in the Studio in front of the cameras and talk for a little over an hour. We boasted about how quickly the town cleaned up. How the residents all pulled together and helped one another out. How donations poured in from all around the country from friends and past visitors who wanted to help this small town out. Cindy and Heath had set up a bank account at Drummond Community Bank and paid dozens of residents utility bills that were out of work. Paid for building items for a few business owners who did not have insurance and were struggling to get their businesses back opened all with donations from amazing people, most who either did it anonymously or asked to not be mentioned when they made the donation. We bragged that the State of Florida could have used our small town as a model to how efficiently and quickly a town can pull itself back up after a storm. I was happy with the interview and hoped it would shine some light on our little community and how strong it was. Politics were set aside and no one cared if you were a Republican or a Democrat or where you were from before you moved to Cedar Key.
This wasn’t the only interview we had done. There were a few other reporters that had come back into town after the storm to do follow-up stories and each time I bragged a little harder about how good our town had done despite how bad it had been hit. I sent a few emails to the reporters asking about the stories and asked when they would air? I got no replies. A friend a few days ago sent me an email saying as he was driving home from work he heard me on NPR. When I asked what the interview was about, he said it was about the most recent Hurricane hitting the East Coast. I asked how long it was, and his reply was “About 10 seconds, it was just a quick soundbite about how bad the storm had hit Cedar Key weeks earlier.”
After we had finished the interview, Cindy, Heath and I were sitting in the Studio sipping on a cocktail with the reporters. The lead reporter said to me “I was really hoping you were going to say some negative things. I probably wont be able to air this interview due to how positive you and Heath both were.”
When I asked what he meant by that, his reply was “No one wants to hear a feel good story these days. They always want to hear something bad, something juicy or something filled with drama.”
I was blown away! Here I am bragging about how good everything had played out. There was zero looting, zero rioting, no drama and no one got hurt in the end. Just a bunch of damage that can be repaired over the course of a few months. Our town had just had the worst storm of a hundred years, and within a week was basically back up and running like nothing happened. No one cared! They wanted to see damage, flooded out photos of broken down businesses. They didn’t care to hear about the hundreds of volunteers who took the time out of a Holiday Weekend to help clean up a town they live near or all the folks who so generously donated their hard earned money to local businesses.
This past week as Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast, we were flooded with people seeking refuge from its path. As we all sat around talking and watching the weather channel, everyone shared stories of past storms where their communities pulled together and rebuilt. Usually doing it without any help from the Federal Government, just a bunch of Americans doing what they do best, rebuilding and helping out those in need. It restored my faith in humanity, something I lose anytime I watch the news and see the riots trying their hardest to separate us. The politicians trying to put a wedge between us. The news trying so hard to ignite a fire under the races.
I work in a bar 4 days a week and have so since my 20’s, so I tend to talk to A LOT of people from all over the country of every race, creed, color and ethnicity. Never before in my life have I seen so many people talk about politics, which is normally never allowed in a bar. But lately it’s different. Lately, no one is bitching about one side or the other. They’re all bitching about both sides. Almost no one is arguing about which side is right or wrong, which side is better or worse, they’re all in agreement they’ve had enough.
The lines are skewed these days, but one thing is for certain, everyone is fed up with Washington, the Media and our Government. We’re all sick and tired of our career politicians making rules they don’t have to follow. Stealing our hard earned money and when we speak up, they create a riot to divert our attention away from the things that matter.
I think we’re all sick of it, and it’s about time it ends. I know I’m sick of the drama and ready to hear some feel good stories about my friends and my local communities.
I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us over the past year. The folks who took the time out of their busy lives to come to Cedar Key and help it’s residents. Even if all you did was make a day trip up here in your vehicle, your boat, your plane or your motorcycle and ate in one of our restaurants, had a drink in one of the many establishments or bought something from one of the many funky shops. I thank you, we thank you and those who did so I hope to one day repay you.