Faith in Humanity

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Manatee, Weekie Wachee River, Stand Up Paddle, Bonish Photo

Paddling the Weekie Wachee River and you have a manatee swim up under you

Cedar Key, Airboating, Bonish Photo, Castnetting

Best way to forget politics, go Airboating in Cedar Key

Stand Up Paddle, Weekie Wachee River, Bonish Photo

Paddling the Weekie Wachee River with Trev & Anne

Bonish Photo, Cedar Key, Sunset

How about you say some prayers for a pretty sunset tonight

Rainbow River, Bonish Photo,

Floating down the Rainbow River

Suwannee River, Boating, Bonish Photo

Boating on the Suwannee River with these beauties

Manatee, Weekie Wachie River, Underwater Photo, Bonish Photo

This manatee came floating under our Stand Up Paddle Boards on the Weekie Wachee River

Hog Island, Bonish Photo, Boating, Cedar Key

Exploring the Coastline between Cedar Key and the Suwannee River

Weekie, Wachee River, Stand Up Paddling, Bonish Photo

If You’ve Never paddled the Weekie Wachee River, I highly Recommend it

Glock 17, Liberty Suppressor, Bonish Photo

When all else fails, practice your aim

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15 Responses to “Faith in Humanity”

  1. Joe sulimanOctober 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    Your right Pat you need death and mayhem to make the news today . I think that causes more problems in our world . Remember the days of Disney ? Different times . It seems every time there is a mass shooting they run the story into the ground . Six months later it happens again . I believe the media is the true cause . Nice stories make people feel nice and vice versa .

    • Pat BonishOctober 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

      Very True Joe!! We need more nice stories

  2. Aunt PatOctober 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    You two kids are living the dream & having a great time doing it. Still think you need a retirement place there so more of us older folks can fill it up & enjoy life in Cedar Key! We love reading your stories Pat they’re always so informative. Uncle Ralph is feeling so much better we’re hoping to get down to see you this winter. Take care love you both. Aunt Pat๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŽƒ

    • Pat BonishOctober 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

      Is there such a thing as a retirement home with a full bar? You might be talking of The Villages, they’re only a few hours south of us.

  3. Lou Elliott JonesOctober 17, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    People love stories with a good ending like yours and Cedar Key’s.
    In fact, they are hungry for it.
    I recently suggested to Sue Colson that an oral history project should be done on Hermine and the sooner the better.
    Lou Elliott Jones

    • Pat BonishOctober 17, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

      I think that is a great idea!!!

  4. Wallace TwiggOctober 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    It was.very interesting to read your comments. I retired in July 2015 after 28 years with State Emergency Management in Virginia. Twelve years prior with county government. I’m truly sorry your story didn’t get picked up. The fact that Cedar Key did what it did was no surprise for me. The community spirit there is incredible. Please please make a formal recording of the material you have. It could make the difference for another small town somewhere. Usually Federal assistance won’t.

    • Pat BonishOctober 17, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      I agree Wallace that as a collective, we should all sit down, write what we thought worked, and what we thought could have been improved upon. Then make all of that a public reading so others can learn from it and add to it so their local area can tweak it to work for them.

      Thank you for your public service!

  5. Kathy SturrOctober 17, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

    Bravo! I can’t wait to visit your fine establishment and absolutely NOT talk about politics! I gave up news a few years back and my drama-less, sometimes blues were cured. What angers me most is that the media grossly underestimates our intelligence and the intelligence of all the good people in this world. The TV is nothing but a brainwashing device. I can’t wait to get back to CK and visit not just your fine establishment but nearly all of them for four months of bliss. I was amazed at how quickly CK bounced back from Wilma but then once I thought about it, I knew you all would because CK has some really kickass people and it’s probably the main reason I love it there so. Wonderful post Pat!

    • Pat BonishOctober 18, 2016 at 2:35 am #

      Looking forward to your return, and I promise we wont talk politics ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Bruce ROctober 18, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    Hey Pat, Your words are a breath of fresh air, more powerful than any โ€˜ol hurricane. Thanks for the humanity perspective.

    • Pat BonishOctober 18, 2016 at 2:35 am #

      Thanks Bruce!

  7. Maureen NuzziOctober 18, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you for being POSITIVE ๐Ÿ™‚ !!!
    Really appreciate you making this the focal point.
    It’s not “the people”, who only want o hear bad news.
    It’s the “people swaying our viewpoint with distorted news”,
    that stick to their slithering commentary.
    Enough on “Them”.
    Cedar Key and other communities that rally together makes your heart beat
    faster and healthier. They put a smile on your face and your outlook. They turn to every opportunity presented to help with sincerity and selflessness.
    You are right Pat, the little stuff dose not matter anymore and getting through the storm together does. God bless them!

  8. JodeeOctober 19, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    I haven’t watched the news since I retired over three years ago. My head isn’t in the sand, I still research issues that impact me and my family, but I’m much happier since avoiding the daily feedings of drama. I first noticed how skewed the news was during “storm” coverage of a small town I lived near. There was one tree down and a gutter pulled off the front of an old building – and those pics got ALL the coverage about the “devastation” even though there was zero other damage. I shared your previous post with the real story of the night of the storm, which was very dramatic but still hopeful, and I’ll share this one. Because that’s all we can do to make a difference. Tell real stories about real people doing real good whenever they happen. I can’t only blame the media when they see that readers and watchers increase when the news is negative. Thank you for stepping up again. I hope you’ll send this to a few local newsfeeds and newspapers. I’m delighted to hear the community is rallying and that you and Cindy are moving forward, even as you discover more damage. Your Life Is Good photos are the best reminder that beauty remains.

  9. RandyNovember 30, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    Pat as always very insightful view on things.
    I read your blog and follow you and Cindy on the book of face, have for many years now. I enjoyed when you travelled in the TT and now that you have settled down per say. Politics are a wash these days. I gave up the nightly and morning news about 3 months ago. Our pastor was speaking one day and he said Garbage in Garbage out. Quit watching the news and the junk they show day in and day out. Best thing I have done for my attitude. I did watch the coverage of the hurricane Matthew as it hit NC because that is where I live. BUT that’s about all lately. Today a little reading on the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN areas as that’s my favourite vacation spot. BUT thank you for your incite and wisdom about life and things that matter.
    Keep being Blessed you and Cindy,
    randy from NC
    ps the pups too..

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